Meet the Staff
Alexis Boutin

The Tel el -Far'ah newsletter is blessed with an enthusiastic, diverse staff who will share the digging experience from the perspective of the volunteers. Weekly updates will share every detail of sleep deprivation, scorpion bites, cool finds and fun travel experiences as they occur so that readers will feel like they are here in the heat with us.

Edgar Martin del Campo will soon begin his second year at the Claremont School of Theology. He will be writing articles for the newsletter and assisting with digital photography. His favorite movie is Dune, which is particularly appropriate to the scorching Israeli heat.

Even though she will only be a senior at Kearns High School in Utah next year, this is already Felina Rocha's second season of excavation. She attributes the reason for her return to the immense amount of fun to be had "slaving in the hot days". Felina's extended time on the tel makes her the perfect insider to dish the dirt on the dig staff.

Laura Hauge knew that the best way to put her communications degree (newly acquired from CSU Sacramento) to good use would be as a contributor to the newsletter. She joined the dig to "have stories to tell [her] kids", so hopefully she will have some good ones to share with us along the way.

Polls, surveys, lists and the mantle of Tureah (as in Tidbits) will be assumed by Alexis Di Stefano and Bevan Talbott, both seniors next fall at Trinity College. Alexis is the self-proclaimed "smoothie queen" and loves ripe fruit, while Bevan's obsession with the color blue has led to the popular creation of the shade "Bevan Blue". Look forward to a new brand of tel humor from these two.

The task of pulling the articles together and making the newsletter family-friendly falls to editor Alexis Boutin and editor-in-chief Kim Maeyama. All complaints should be directed to them, and all praise to the awesome writing staff. Happy reading!

The Dummy's Guide to Slacking Off on Excavations*
Compiled by: Laura Hauge

1. Get stung by a scorpion
2. Sabotage the shade poles to fall down every couple of hours

"Forget" an item and meander to the storage bin to retrieve it

4. Ask the director a question and fake engrossment in the response
5. "Say cheese!"
6. Get locked in the porta-potty
7. Ask for further demonstration on using the pick-axe
8. Take up smoking
9. "Misplace" the pottery bucket
10. Offer tools you are using to other squares: "You need this turreah, don't you?"
11. Stage scorpion fights
12. Be extremely interested in other people's finds
13. Dump the wheelbarrow - along with the dirt - over the edge of the dumping cliff
14. Make a find and bask in the celebrity status
15. "Overdose" on cucumbers and tomatoes
16. The square could always use more sweeping
17. "Tour" other areas
18. Stop drinking water to induce dehydration sickness
  *Of course, none of us would ever actually use these excuses!

Is There A Right Way To 'Do' Archaeology?
By: William Krieger

Behind every excavation lies a single tricky question that occupies much of our time, both at Tel Farah and in philosophical and archaeological realms. Is there or has there ever been some theory behind our work, or are we simply playing in the dirt, albeit with much cooler toys than we had as kids?

Pre-1950, theory seems to have been pretty low on archaeologists' priority lists. This group of statesmen (or stateswomen), military officers, treasure hunters, or in one case, an emperor's mother, went to a site to find proofs of (or against) Israel's longevity, to 'discover' holy sites, or to improve their own collections of relics. A few 'well intentioned' archaeologists excavated with fewer preconceptions, but many of them died without publishing their results.

In 1950, a new archaeology was born, built on the idea that archaeology should be treated as a science, and not merely as a scavenger hunt. Its proponents urged that archaeology must seek an objective, testable foundation. Unfortunately, this theory was unable to fulfil its promises. Archaeologists were unable to connect this new theory to field practices. Also, the requirement of testability forced archaeologists to abandon many important sources of data (including texts) which could not live up to that standard.

Now that we realize that both pre-critical and new archaeology are inadequate for our present needs. We are taking steps to merge theory and practice in a number of interesting ways. On one side, there is a growing dialog between archaeologists and philosophers. These groups are now trying to understand their own needs and limitations, as well as those endemic to their partner's fields. Also, technology has provided some new tools for archaeologists to work with. Computers have been taken into the field, making it easier to measure and record data, and new statistical models are being used to make a number of useful predictions about pottery distribution.

So, have we finished our work, either in the field or behind the scenes? Absolutely not. Whether we are collecting data or deciding what that data means, we have a large task ahead of us. However, I do believe that our continuing quest for these answers is leading us in the right direction.

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The First Weekend
By: Edgar Martin del Campo

Before I had even learned of the local coral reefs, what best convinced me to visit Eilat was its proximity to several borders: Jordan to the east, the Red Sea to the south, and Egypt to the west. From high up in the Eilat streets, I could see two of these very well; the Jordanian city of Aqaba stood across the Red Sea, and still more vividly at night when all its lights came on. But Egypt was an invisible presence throughout. I knew it was a few miles away, but it was behind the mountains, far from the scope of the hostel I stayed at. However, I could not turn down the opportunity to set foot in Egypt at least once, and so six of us agreed to make a short trip.

By "short trip" I mean barely half an hour. This was the last day of the Eilat weekend, and we had expected to reach the bus by noon. At the very least, we needed photos and we needed souvenirs, and we needed them quickly.

Sure, my single experience of Egypt was mostly a half-hour at the borderside gift shop. Still, as soon as I stepped past the "Welcome to Egypt" sign I was on sacred land. This is the lands of the pharaohs and the pyramids. It is the land of Horus and Ra, the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Nag Hammadi library. On reflection, a single half-hour in this place cannot do justice to millennia of history, not to mention one of our earliest and longest-lived civilizations. Some day I hope to come back and finish the tour of Egypt I started last weekend.

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