'o da Trade
This week's column focuses on an integral player
in the most recent installation of The Long, Long, Long
and Hot Days of Our Lives (see Tureah's Tidbits): none
other than that most dramatic of all measuring devices, the
theodolite. This instrument recognizes the depth of any given
point, respective to an established benchmark. In this manner,
it helps determine how many vertical meters of progress have
been made in digging downward, as well as showing the relationship
of independent finds and features by displaying their stratigraphic
relationship (i.e. are they at the same depth and can an association
between them thus be suggested?). The theodolite bypasses
the human error of meter sticks, instead relying on lasers
and optics to produce a precise depth up to three decimal
places in length. And as we now know, it is also a potentially
deadly implement, yet another pawn in the machinations between
the passions and rages that are so common to archaeology.
The theodolite (cunningly
disguised in yellow) lurks among the happy, innocent diggers.
The fabulous recorder for Field 3 is Julye Bidmead. Hailing
from the San Francisco Bay area, this is her fifth season
of excavation. Julye is finishing up her dissertation in Ancient
Near Eastern Religion at Vanderbilt University, where she
also taught Archaeology and the Bible; she is thus highly
overqualified to be filling out pottery tags. Her arrival
at Tel el Far'ah was by virtue of her previous experience
digging with Far'ah Director Gunnar Lehmann at Megiddo, and
she calls the first season here "excellent" and
looks forward to the next. Her favorite part of the dig was
being a part of Field 3's team of staff and volunteers.
Julie has school spirit.
Martha remains calm.
Tureah's Tidbits is proud to feature the second
installment of The Long, Long, Long and Hot Days of Our Lives.
As we return to the tel, the plot is thickening.
Last week, the story was in place but action had not been
taken; now an unsuspecting Tammi is being bombarded by catastrophes.
"Tammi, we need to talk. I think you're in trouble," Gunnar
"Shpeak to me, Gunnar."
"I have a theory that Will is trying to sabotage
"Gunnar, you know I don't believe in theories."
A short while later, in Field 1, Jim hangs perilously
from the balks, theodolite in hand, as Will and Gunnar
look on. Then suddenly, without warning, Jim's foot slips
(or was he pushed?) and he plummets to the ground. Will watches
in terror as the pointed end of the device, like a dagger,
thrusts at his throat. As onlookers pull the two from the
ground, Will narrowly escaping with a minor flesh wound, Eddie
puzzles, "How could the mind control have failed? Jim would
have spared his own life before harming Will, and he's too
strong to have slipped. He must have been pushed. Could Gunnar
be on to our evil plan?"
Meanwhile, in Area 2, Michael is having a breakdown.
"I cannot work under these conditions! Someone
is taking all the handles off of our water jugs and my workers
are getting dehydrated. They are dropping like flies! How
am I to get anything done?"
Martha reassuringly says, "Michael, now calm down.
I have the situation taken care of. I've been in contact with
the kibbutz by cell phone all day. But I am worried because
most of those who are sick are my Trinity students. Do you
suppose this is intentional?"
"Don't be ridiculous. Who would want to get the
Trinity students sick?"
Twenty-nine new Israeli students from Ben Gurion
University arrive at Kibbutz Gevulot, required to be there
by their professor, Gunnar. His spies, growing in number,
though weakened by the loss of their number-one agent, Martin,
who returned home to Germany with pictures of the excavated
pottery sherds, begin conducting secret meetings in the bathroom.
Seemingly absurd, this is a key strategic move, preventing
other students from using the showers and thus creating overall
low morale and tardiness. Dana Miller, one of Tammi's recruits
recently returned from the Peace Corps sees through their
plans and takes matters into her own hands.
"You must open this door! I am filthy!"
"No!" a voice from inside calls out. "Come back
later, it is too crowded for you."
"I must get in there!" cries Dana, and with supernatural
powers she breaks the door down. "What is going on in here?"
She cannot believe what she sees before her. Stay
tuned for the last installment of The Long, Long, Long and
Hot Days of Our Lives, when we find out what Dana saw and
who wins the battle for control of the tel.