Today was the day I've looked forward to ever since I heard I was coming on this trip, five months ago. This was the day we got to take part in an active archeological dig. The site is called Horvat Rimon, and it was a Jewish community first established during the Hasmonean Era (about 150 AD). We were excavating a Jewish synagogue from the Byzantine Era.
I got to meet Dr. Ygal Israel, a legendary excavator with the Israeli Antiquities Authority. He walked us thru the site and showed us where to dig, and pretty soon we were swinging picks and moving dirt. I got really excited when the partially exposed giant rock in my sector turned out to be one of the synagogue's columns! Then Jim Bob Holley, who was digging next to me, uncovered the base of the column with some very nice details preserved, right next to it! There were lots of pottery shards recovered also, including one nice jug handle and a broken figurine. We dug for about four hours totaled, but I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat. Uncovering real history was the high point of the trip!
On the way back to Tel Tamar, we drove down the most terrifying road on earth - the "Descent of the Scorpions," nearly 2000 feet down a narrow, one lane road with lots of very steep curves and switchbacks. But oh my! The views were absolutely gorgeous! We stopped at one wide spot and took a ton of pictures. There were several neat little hilltop forts built by the Romans to protect caravans along the spice routes.
We got back to Tel Tamar and got cleaned up, then had a nice supper of shepherd's pie. After that we went down to the couches by our caravans to sit and talk, reflecting on this marvelous journey we've been on. Tomorrow, it takes us to Jerusalem!