VOLUME II: JUNE 26, 1999
"Dear Journal"
By: Alexis Boutin

I've been madly anticipating my return to Israel since the day I left last year. And the year before that, the time between the final day of digging and the opening of a new season seemed interminable. So it is that I find myself in the final stretch toward the favorite part of my year. This will be my third season of digging in Israel. I embarked on the first adventure after taking Archaeometrics with Dr. Schneider at Pomona College. She did a great job pitching the dig in class, but it far surpassed all of my expectations. I had never before believed it possible to be involved in something of real scholarly import and achieve a great tan at the same time.

I am really excited about this new site, Far'ah south. I saw some of the amazing things that Petrie's earlier excavations turned up last summer in Jerusalem museums, and the prospect of finding more artifacts of that caliber will have me picking with extra speed this summer. I'm a little concerned about the heat. The Shephelah was plenty hot for my taste, and I've since heard nasty rumors about how scorching the Negev is. But that just provides a better excuse to spend the afternoons in the pool. I'll be spending the last week before departure brushing off my bandannas, stocking up on sunscreen and most importantly, enjoying a few final precious days of sleeping in - God knows those will be sorely lacking in the days to come.

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Detail of Commonly Used Geographic Regions Within Modern-day Israel
Travel Tips
By: Kim Maeyama

For this week's series of travel tips, we'll focus on the plane ride itself. Even before boarding the plane, there are a few common sense things you can keep in mind in order to make your transitions as hassel-free as possible!

If you are flying from the States, you can expect long hours of travel. Because of this it is important to choose your travel attire so that it is comfortable for you and non-restrictive. Most importantly, you should remember two things: 1) It WILL get cold at some point during your flight (or flights) so carry with you a sweater or other warm piece of clothing, and 2) Your most thoughtful consideration should be given to footware. I have heard or read somewhere that one good way to combat "Jet Lagg" is to wear comfortable footware that can be easily removed during travel. With this in mind, you should also be able to quickly put them back on and that they are fully functional (meaning, should you have to sprint to catch your connector flight at London's Heathrow Airport, you can do so!).

Carry-on Luggage
It is standard that airlines limit the number of Carry-on luggage items per passanger. It can vary, but one can assume that the following applies: Two pieces of Carry-on luggage will be permitted per passanger, so long as they meet the dimensions stated by the airlines. To get more specific information on the dimensions, contact your airline company direct, or via the internet. I feel it is the duty of every airline traveller to carefully select their Carry-on luggage pieces so that they do NONE of the following: 1) Snagg on seats as you pass by, 2) Hit other passangers when you turn around or look over your shoulder, or 3) Cause you to consistantly have to excuse yourself to get items out of the piece you put in overhead (meaning, put all "needed" items into the piece that rests at your feet). One packing tip: put at least one change of clothing (all parts) plus any toiletry items you might need into a carry-on piece, in the event that your luggage is lost or your flight is delayed.

TRAVELLER's TIP: You can't take everything with you! Think before you pack & keep this in mind: Keep one hand free, if you have two carry-on items, one should be on your back.
General North-South Geographic Delineations of Modern-day Israel

Geography 101
By: Kim Maeyama

Since it is highly likely that most of you readers are new to archaeology, not to mention the archaeoloy of "Syro-Palestine" (a.k.a. Israel), I thought you might appreciate a little more definition of some frequently used terms, especially those that pertain to geographic delineations within the region. Previous scholarly efforts in this area were heavily dependent upon a desire to prove or negate the Biblical narratives. Today, such actions are extremely frowned upon and this change in scholarly consensus resulted in the creation of new terminology or field jargon. In this article we will first explore the Eastern Mediterranean in general and finish up with the discussion of geographic separations within modern-day Israel.

Geography of the Eastern Mediterranean
The "Eastern Mediterranean" constitues the geographic area within the following generalized parameters: southern Black Sea region (north), Egypt & Sudan (south), Mediterranean Sea (west), and Iraq (east). Frequent terminology you may encounter often relates to these generalized geographic areas. For example, the term "Anatolia" refers to the geographic region we know today as Turkey, though its total expanse was more extensive. "Syro-Palestine" denotes the region that comprises modern-day Lebanon, Israel, and portions of modern-day Syria and Jordan. You might also hear "Levant" which is commonly used to discuss the region of modern-day Lebanon and Israel.

Geography of Modern-day Israel
When looking at a map of modern-day Israel, we can see a predominant north-south expanse of area. To the north, Israel is capped by Lebanon and to the south it reaches Red Sea, by way of Eilat. From east to west, Israel's western-most border is determined by the Mediterranean Sea and by the Jordan Valley in the east.

Within this broad delineation, we move in one level. By keeping in mind this north-south predominance, the above mentioned area can be divided into four (4) primary north-south separations beginning at the Mediterranean in the west and moving east: 1) Coastal Plains, 2) Central Hill Country, 3) Jordan Rift Valley, and 4) Trans-Jordanian Plateau. For a vertical view of this west-east evolution, at the coastal plains region you begin near/above sea level. As you approach the Central Hill Country, you enter the foothills and begin to increase your elevation even moreso. This foothills region is commonly identified as the "Shephelah". From there, you then enter the Central Hill Country. Jerusalem is located within the mountainous region of the Central Hill Country. As you continue east from the Central Hill Country, you then drop to the lowest point on the face of earth, the Jordan Rift Valley. Here you are 400 meters BELOW sea level. While in the Rift Valley, you can look east and see the beginning of the Trans-Jordanian plateau which rises (in various regions spanning north-south respectively) 2,500 meters - 1,600 meters above sea level.

Now, to take it to an even more detailed level, each of these major geographic regions is populated with various water run-off canyons (known as "wadis"), valleys, and desert. There is not enough room in this article to cover these more detailed level, but you will see above a map of modern-day israel that has been cut up into these sub-sub regions. Upon double click, the image can be expanded for easier view and printing purposes. To navigate back to this page after linking to the images, use your browser's "Back" navigation button.

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