A Day in the Field School

Rise and Shine: We rise at about 4:00 a.m. (remarkably easy after a couple of days), and muster in a group by 4:30. After a quick snack of biscuits and coffee or tea, we board our buses to the site. The Tel is approximately 15 minutes south along the coast, so we arrive around 4:45, and take a short walk down the beach to our site. We begin to unload our tools at 5:00, when it is light enough to begin excavation; when the tools have been brought out, we gather in our areas and begin excavation.

Coffee Break: At 6:30, we break for 20 minutes of Tel-brewed coffee and tea and our classic Tel Dor snack of bread, peanut butter, and Nutella. Trust us: this will sound surprisingly tasty by about the second day. At 6:50, we head back to the squares and continue excavation.

Breakfast: At 9:00, we break for breakfast down at our site museum, the “Glass House.” Breakfast is a modest affair—sandwiches, yoghurt and cereal—but satisfying after a morning’s worth of digging. We break for an hour, so you’ll have time for a quick swim at the beach if you wish. At 10:00 sharp, most of us are back at work in the squares; each day some students remain at the museum to be instructed in registration and conservation techniques.

Fruit Break: At 11:15, we break for a light snack of local fruit—grapes, plums, peaches, watermelon, and (on Shabbat, or Friday) popsicles. At 11:30, we resume work in the squares.

Pack It Up: At 12:30 p.m., we begin collecting the tools and returning them to the container, while the square supervisors take their end-of-day elevations with the help of students (whom we train for this). We walk back down from the Tel at 1:00 and get back on the buses for the return ride to K’Far Galim.

Lunch: As soon as we return to our housing at K’far Galim, we have lunch as a group in the K’far dining hall. The rest of the afternoon is yours until…

Pottery Washing: At 4:00 each day, we gather as a group and wash the pottery we have found from the day before. This is also when the senior staff members engage in “pottery reading,” which means we analyze the washed pottery (once it has dried) and assign dates to our excavated areas. Every participant is invited to attend the pottery reading sessions, where they learn more about how what they find in the field contributes to our understanding of history. Every season, numerous finds not recognized in the field “come up” once they are cleaned at washing, and so in a sense this is where all of our excavation efforts really start to come together.

Evening Lecture: At 5:00 Monday through Thursday, the UW Field School participants attend lectures offered by Israeli, U.S., and International scholars on a variety of topics. These lectures (which are open to all Tel Dor participants) connect the work you have done during the day with the broader world of archaeological and historical research.

Dinner: Dinner is served at the campus Dining Hall at 7:00. The wise among us head to bed shortly thereafter.