My wife Terri and I just spent two weeks volunteering at an archaeological dig at Ramat Rachel Israel. I am going to put up several blog entries describing the experience, so be warned.
Ramat Rachel is about halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, less than three miles from each. It is so close to the political (but not geographical) West Bank that during the 1950s several archaeologists were killed by Jordanian border guards.
The name is modern, coming from the kibbutz. During the 1940s the kibbutz decided to build a water tower on the hill. That's when they discovered the ruins. Yohanon Aharoni was the first excavator and he discovered ruins from the Iron Age (circa 700 BCE) to the Early Muslim era (say 1000 CE).
The current dig is co-sponsored by the University of Tel Aviv and the University of Heidelberg. Oded Lipschits is the archaeologist in charge, alias the Boss Boss Boss.
The photo above shows an early morning at D1, the section of the site where I was working (click on it for more detail). Oded is the gentleman in the middle with the camera. If you are interested, read along and you will learn a lot more about the experience.
By the way, Keren, a volunteer with much more energy than me actually live blogged throughout the four weeks of the dig. Read it (with plenty of pix) here.