Day 17 Archaeology in Word and Image by Sanna Miller

The following poem and photographs are by Area S-2 excavator and University of Iowa student Sanna Miller, who reflected on the Azekah excavation thus far.

Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller
Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller
Bucket line. Photo by Sanna Miller
Bucket line. Photo by Sanna Miller
Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller
Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller
Daybreak. Photo by Sanna Miller
Daybreak. Photo by Sanna Miller
Hoeing. Photo by Sanna Miller
Hoeing. Photo by Sanna Miller
Roots. Photo by Sanna Miller
Roots. Photo by Sanna Miller
Direction. Photo by Sanna Miller
Direction. Photo by Sanna Miller
Azekah morning. Photo by Sanna Miller
Azekah morning. Photo by Sanna Miller
First light. Photo by Sanna Miller
First light. Photo by Sanna Miller
Square. Photo by Sanna Miller
Square. Photo by Sanna Miller
Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller
Buckets. Photo by Sanna Miller

Our heavy bodies pull themselves into somewhat standing positions as the sky sings four a.m. We make our way to the coffee to the bus to the site to the day.
Like flotsam rolling in from the sea we trudge from the bottom to the top.
And the sound of squeaking plastic rings all round as shade nets prepare the site for the coming sun.  Equipment shuffles and voices scuffle and as we await the arrival of a light, I close my eyes and gain a sort of satisfaction from this standing sleep.  But a satisfaction like this can only last so long before the voice of Omer caws, ‘Okay friends, it’s time to dig.  Yalla.’
Before descending into my square I look to the sky and see that it has changed from dark to light in a matter of moments. Never will I look to a sky and see the beauty that I see here in these early morning hours. Long before the birds come out to coo, long before the motor cars screech and snort, long before he and she and they and them open their eyes good morning, these hours are ours.
While dawn turns to day a chronological time lapse takes us down deeper and deeper, and while we search for the past, we find a way to treasure the present, to understand the future.
We are staring into a life we never knew.  We are standing in the afterbirth of history and the life it never left.  So we seek.

Sanna Miller
August 3, 2012
Tiberias, Israel


Thanks to Sanna for beautiful reflections in both word and pictures on her time at Azekah!

University of Iowa poet Sanna Miller
University of Iowa poet and photographer, Sanna Miller
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Published by bobcargill (@xkv8r)

Dr. Robert Raymond Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at The University of Iowa. He is a biblical studies scholar, classicist, archaeologist, author, and digital humanist. He holds a B.S. from CSU Fresno, a M.S. and M.Div. from Pepperdine University, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA. His research includes study on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple Judaism, literary criticism of the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha, Aramaic targums, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East. He has appeared as an expert on numerous television documentaries and specials and is an advocate for public higher education.

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