JBuzz News April 15, 2012: Richard Stamps: Archaeological dig is dusty history lesson at Khirbet Qeiyafa

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Archaeological dig is dusty history lesson

Early starts, hard work are rewarding, but not for those accustomed to cushy vacations

Source: Detroit Free Press, 4-14-12

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A volunteer unearths an Iron Age vessel at Khirbet Qeiyafa, which is 18 miles west of Jerusalem. Such dig sites are often in need of volunteers and provide an adventurous vacation.

It’s 4 a.m. My eyes feel heavy. Today is my second day of digging.

I’m in Israel for a weeklong archaeological dig – not your regular vacation, but one that brought fulfillment and surprisingly more rest than I’ve gotten sitting on the beach.

Richard Stamps, a professor of anthropology, and Mike Pytlik, a special lecturer of archaeology and Jewish studies at Michigan’s Oakland University, each year lead a group of students on a three-week archaeological dig and tour of Israel.

Pytlik invited me to go along as a volunteer for a week.

Pytlik explained that this vacation wouldn’t have much relaxing, sightseeing or downtime. It would be dusty and messy, and accommodations wouldn’t include the boutique hotels I normally favor.

The sense of adventure and the chance to learn was enough for me to sign on. I filled out an application, included a $50 check and sent it to professor Yosef Garkinfel of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a renowned archeologist and director of the Khirbet Qeiyafa site, our destination.

It sits above the Elah Valley, the same valley where the Bible says David and Goliath met on the battlefield. It is believed to be the ancient city of Sha’arayim, an Israelite walled city that was part of the kingdom of David….READ MORE

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