Waving The Flag at the Dig, the pirate one this time :)

On digging strenuous inspirations for self.

My friend Peter is the only person I know in the corporate world besides myself who is interested in archeology, especially the living part of archeology, i.e. the digs. We had a discussion at the dig he works in today. Folks around us are amazed why one would be interested in digging up dirt alongside whatever comes in it, pieces of pottery, seeds, and all that is good for carbon reading. We are amazed to their disinterest. How can humans be so interested in today or tomorrow when they have no perspective on the past? 

Area K’s pirate flag

This sounds quite radical, and it is. There is a group of people I will call fanatics (me in them!) who think past remains of civilizations and everything that they try to tell us is much more valuable than the artifacts and realities of today. I think the only way to grasp the continuum of history is to be able to see, touch, ponder, discuss and archive the past with your hands.
How much I missed the aura of the dig! Hosted by famed Professor Finkelstein (what an honor!), I visited Peter’s site today and got to see and understand the very important Tell. Christian Amanpour was there just yesterday, shooting for CNN. Breathing the air among seasoned archeologists and the very young university students as well as few volunteers trying to contribute made me feel absolutely energized under the 38 degree sun! I chatted with a young archeologist who mentioned how her Akkadian translation exam went; and I made a confession on the spot how difficult it was to crack Hittite for me, studying on my own. She tried to make me feel better saying Akkadian is a form of still spoken Semitic language but alas, I am writing in an indo European language here myself.
Site director’s daughter, Saray
I love the spirit in the digs. It reminds me exactly how my team in Intel is. A group of totally different characters, from entirely different nations, usually archeologists but with very seperate interests and expertise areas working for 7-8 weeks doing incredibly strenuous physical and mental work. Starting at 5 every morning, digging, carrying buckets of dirt, sifting, having coffee two times but with an incredible energy and determination to make sure they find as many things as possible and understand as many things as possible during the dig season; and celebrate the glory of a hard working day if very interesting discoveries are made. The camaraderie, the support, the winning spirit brought on by the same goal. Peter introduced me to area K—area he worked in, and nothing less I would expect from my buddy, a pirate flag waving at the top!
There is a book on Agatha Christie, profiling how she wrote her several books including Death on the Nile in small tents as her archeologist husband dug all famous sites in Levant. She was very smart to find the inspiration she needed in the extreme conditions in the digs and unleash her creativity. We all need to experience our own extremes to get creative, innovative to make breakthroughs. Whether in a mud; or amid glass and steel.
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