Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Monday, December 10, 2007

Can ya dig it?

I suppose some of you might wonder what it is I do all day besides write this blog and cruise on the Egged Bus System (which is a real study in the sociological and psychological effects upon humans in the absence of personal space and threat of a bus bomb, and I'm not taking that lightly). Here's the low down on my schedule.

Shabbat - nothing but to take a walk, sort of a serendipity day.

Sunday - Worship at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City then a class at the Fuchsberg Center for Conservative Judaism
on the Book of Judges.
Monday - School up at the University then back down to Talpiot for Bellydance class.

Tuesday - laundry, clean until four and then back to the University for class.
Yeah, things get dirty here too.

Wednesday - serendipity day and now, during Advent, and Advent Bible study and supper in East Jerusalem at the Pastor's home.

Thursday - Volunteer at the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation, shopping at the shuk, Makane Yehuda, then out to dinner with a friend.

Friday - Volunteer with Jaffa Gate Ministries, cook food and then distribute it to street people, a men's shelter and a soup kitchen in the Old City. Done by noon, buy flowers for Shabbat and then maybe attend Kabbalat Shabbat service somewhere.

Of course, interspersed are concerts, great lectures, sightseeing, study, prayer and LOTS of walking. Really, I'm going to come home two feet shorter because I'm walking my feet and legs off.

Anyway, that is a long lead in to what I really want to blog about and that is the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation or the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Wanna get your hands dirty, wet and shrivelled? Wanna thrill like no other? Then come on over and help. The TMSP needs volunteers. It's backbreaking work to stand over a large tray and to sift through buckets and buckets of debris, not to mention your eyesight gets a run for its money. But when you find something.....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

It's a thrill in a lifetime. Since I'm such a newbie at this I can't help but run to the archaeologist and yell out, "look what I found!!". And, depending on what it is, she'll tell me and then I'll put it into a small bucket with all of the rest of the items like it, OR, she will put it into a special little bag that she keeps in her pocket of extraordinary items.

In every bucket of debris there is something. Really. I've found lots of pottery shards dating from the First and Second Temple periods. Ceramic and glass mosaic pieces, some with gold gild. Animal bones, burnt bones probably sacrificial leftovers. Pieces of fresco and pieces of stone with glazed designs from the Ottoman empire. Ancient glass rims and pieces. To date my special finds are: a Roman nail, a coin that was unmarked, and a small glass ball that was flattened on one side. The head archaeologist said that it was a weight that was used to weigh gold and very old.

It's pretty awesome (I detest that word) to hold in your hands something that is so ancient, so organic, from thousands of years ago. Except for the Roman nail...hate to think of what that was used for.

Click into the link above and find out about how the project started and where the debris came from, it's really interesting and they do a much better job of describing the project. The people who work there on a daily basis are a great group of dedicated people, archaeologists and knowledgeable people in search of life, then and now. We stop for tea time in the morning and lunch all together around one big table around noonish.

And NO, I don't get to keep anything.

What I do keep is the thrill to know that I have found and held in my hands someone else's handiwork in the continuum that we call life.

1 comment:

hoppy said...

Very nicely described. To live, feel, observe, help, learn is a great substitute for Wendy's and Dominos and You Tube. But I bet you miss your Dunkin Donuts coffee. Nothing from the Pony Express today. Hoppy. The Bar-20 is very cold.