Days of Dirt and Bones

Sara Westfall writes

More news from Area Q. For the last several days, we have found absolutely nothing in our square. After removing the pavement, two walls, the plaster floor, and part of the Jacuzzi wall, we have found only one thing: LOTS and LOTS of dirt. We were all very demoralized and I have about 20 mosquito bites all over my body.

Today we felt a change in the wind. First, I forgot my camera, which would be the first sign that we would find something. Second, since we were all very demoralized, Zach brought us juice, Pringles, and Oreos (which he’d never tried before). We took one strip of our square down to the level of the Jacuzzi and found nothing. We were sure we were going to have to level the rest of the square as well. However, first we decided to find the base of the giant stone in the middle of the Jacuzzi. While pushing back the top layer of dirt, I noticed several bones. I began pushing back some more of the dirt and realized we had a lot of bones, in fact it looked like a whole skeleton. Don’t get too excited now, it’s not human. Our resident zoo-archaeologist believes it is either a dog or a cat (or several, as it appears there is more than one skeleton). The more popular theories are either a cat-rat or an ancestor of Stanley (our resident and very elusive gopher).

The mystery further deepened when Zach uncovered a multitude of cartridge shells and the top to a mortar round on the other side of the rock. Even more puzzling, we couldn’t find the skull of the animal. Toward the end of the day, we still weren’t sure whether the animal was from 1948 or earlier. Of course as I was sweeping up, I discovered a spent bullet cartridge right next to one of the skeletons. There’s still too much unknown for me to piece together an exciting and highly fictionalized version of what happened. Professor Cline was musing that perhaps it was an attack dog that was in the trench with the soldiers. Of course the animal is like the size of a poodle, but he makes a valid point that those can be vicious. Maybe next week I can put together a story, possibly involving an Israeli named Mordecai, an Arab named Ahmed, and the sad story of an attack poodle named Zebedee.

On a personal note, I visited Jerusalem this weekend. I went to see most of the main holy sites and haggle in the markets. I got to bring in Shabbat at the Western Wall and kneel at the site where Christ was crucified in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was really awesome to feel such a deep connection not only to the divine but also to history.


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