Tiberias Israel
...we dig it!
Pictures & Comment by Bob Joki

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Fall 2009 Excavations at Tiberias

Jump to our Tiberias Spring 2009 Site

The pictures below very briefly capture the Spring 2008 excavations at Tiberias and the scene as it appeared later in July. For past volunteers, may this serve as a reminder of the great fun, learning, excitement......and the sometimes exhausting work accomplished here. The ancient city is presently being prepared to become the newest Israel National Park. Anyone returning will be surprised at the transformation of the grounds, primarily at the southern end where the south gate will be the main focus of the archeology. I believe that for now, the northern area where we have been working will not have changed much when we return on the new dig this coming spring....and hopefully many of you will return.
Doubtless each of you have many photos of the site, so I will only post a few of our time last spring. I did, however, want to give you a look at the work presently under way as probably most all of you have not been back there since.

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That's me working on the Byzantine mosaic discovered during the Spring 2008 season.


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In July '08 my wife Susan & I visited the site (we were in Israel for our daughter's wedding)
- I was hoping to find Maxim but found only his dogs lounging around the lone container that remained.

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One of our main activity areas this past season is shown here in a view from Week 4.
When we arrived in March it seemed to be an
unremarkable "parking area" adjacent to the Islamic street.
Each week, layer by layer, its history was revealed
- week four brought the discovery of the Byzantine mosaic shown above
as well as a bird mosaic uncovered in an adjacent room.

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In July, Susan stands at that very square
- the Byzantine mosaic shown above is about 8 feet below the spot where she stands
- well protected and waiting for future excavation.

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Change is coming just south of where we worked - the new archeological park is taking shape.
Countless truckloads of fill have been brought in to seal the site.
Visitors will enjoy a beautiful landscape filled not only with interesting history
but with a stunning natural environment and miles of hiking trails.

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A protective layer of "clean" fill now covers much of the old city's south end
- I was amazed at how much was accomplished since the spring.
I didn't go up the escarpment but it appeared workers were cleaning debris
above the buried theater - long a convienent dumping ground for the 20th C. residents of Tiberias.

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This view looks west toward the southern gate where the park will focus on the archeology.

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The Kinerret (the Galilee) dropped markedly last summer - below the critical lower Red line.
If you look closely, you'll see stone column sections along the waters edge
.....remnants of development along the old city's shoreline. The columns are usually off shore
under water and I had never seen them during other visits to Israel. I've probably stood on
some of these while swimming, never realizing they were anything more than boulders
conviently there for me to stand on while I catch some air.

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I took Shulamit up on an offer to visit the Hebrew University campus in Jerusalem.
Boxes and shelves of great stuff surround her there in her office.
Pottery, glassware, stone, retored vessels, countless coins....what a treasure.

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We have all heard about the bronze hoard discovered years ago by Professor Hirshfeld
- here is a small part of it. On display at the Univeristy are many pieces along with
some of the huge pottery jars that held the material and lots of photos
documenting the activity as it was being removed.
I can't imagine the excitement they must have felt that day & night as they worked.

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Activity at the site - Week 1 and Week 4


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If I remember right this was our group from Week 1 - posed between the southern gates.
Shortly before our spring dig season, work on the new park had commenced here
cleaning structures uncovered in the 1970s.

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Filling in our squares on the last day proceeded much more quickly than the
meticulous time consuming hand excavation exposing them
- sad to watch it disappear but necessary for safety & site protection.

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I have camped the last two seasons at Tiberias - Spring 2008 and Fall 2006.
Ton from the Netherlands joined me for a couple weeks at the campground this past season.
I know camping is not for everyone (how about it Scott) but it is fun and you get to experience
a different Israel here. It is more affordable than the "luxury" of the Aviv,
infinitely more exciting during the off hours and look carefully,
we even had our own on-site laundry facilities after everyone left each day.

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Spring is a wonderful time to visit Israel
- wild flowers grow everywhere and the weather is pleasant.
For those who return, we have more interesting trips to other
archeological sites in the area ...good food
...and a truly magnificant inspiring & historic landscape to enjoy.

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Click here for more photos from Spring 2008 Dig at Tiberias.

Click here for a look back at Tiberias dig Fall 2006.

Click here for Bob at Biblical Tamar - Archaeological Park, Ein Hatseva Israel.

Click for our views of the Jerusalem Shuk - Mahane Yehuda.

Return to our home page.

Next dig at Tiberias ...March April 2009

.....hope to see you there.

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