Rachel Navarro writes;
Today was the first day on the tel. They warned us that it would be the hardest day of the expedition and I have to say I hope that’s true. Waking up at 4:20 this morning surprisingly wasn’t hard considering the jet lag and just general lack of sleep since I left Washington D.C. on Friday. I think just knowing I was about to set out on my first dig gave me enough adrenaline to last til breakfast. After becoming a little emotional at driving through the gates that said “Tel Megiddo” we walked up the hill and through the gates of the city. We separated into our respective areas and immediately got to work. I’m working in Area J lower, or J-P for picture pavement. Our area supervisor, Adi wrote her thesis on the pavement found by the University of Chicago excavators, and she’s hoping we’re going to find more of it during the course of the summer. She showed us pictures of the slabs found before and they have depictions of humans, ibexes, giraffes, hippos, and other animals. However, we have a lot to do before we can get down to the pavement. The cliff face has collapsed on top of the previously exposed area and we had a lot of rocks and debris to clear. I hope we are able to clear enough in time to find something before my three weeks are up.
We had a few interesting adventures today. Mostly we weeded the area and moved sand bags around, but at one point one of my area-mates noticed a large bug wallowing in the dirt. It was almost the size of the palm of my hand and was a fuzzy greyish brown color with pink and green splotches. Its body wiggled around strangely and it had large pinsers on its head. Adi decided something so ominous looking could not be innocent and chopped in half with a pick axe. Its front end continued to crawl around so she chopped it in half again. We later asked one of the site workers what it was and he told us it was a “Kabut” which is some sort of cross between a scorpion and a spider. He also claimed they are poisonous, but I think he might have been just saying that to scare us.
Later in the day, the some of the workers were putting fencing over the cliff face to keep rocks from falling on us while we are working and scared an owl out of a cave in the cliff. For a few stressful seconds, the bird was caught between the fencing and the cliff but they freed him and he soared away across the valley. It was the highlight of the day for me.