By Gary D. Myers
If I were to write a fictional story called “The Dig at Gezer,” I’d write in a day like today. Every story needs a crisis point. I felt that crisis today. We entered the tunnel with hopes running high. We believed that this would be the day – we thought that both Friday and Sunday. Based on the information left by Macalister and Vincent, who excavated here, we knew we had to be very close to the cavern. From the first swing of the pickax when we entered the tunnel around 6:30 a.m., we knew this would be a difficult day. Nothing came easy. The ground was very rocky and filled with larger boulders. Progress was slow … very slow. The end of the dig is coming soon and that is adding pressure to the crisis.
We only were excavating half of the tunnel’s width today to save time and that was a big help. We did clear about 6 feet of rocks. We are nearing 56 feet from our measuring point, close to 140 feet from the mouth of the cave. But today’s bag count was only 64, though many of those were filled with heavy rocks.
But you know what comes after crisis in the story – resolution. That’s what we are hoping for tomorrow. As a writer, I might chose to keep the crisis going another day … inching ever closer to the deadline. But as a participant: Come resolution, come. We are very hopeful that tomorrow will be the day. I can’t wait to hear the shouts of jubilation ring up through that massive tunnel.
Digging rock by rockThe process for digging today was to hit a rock with the pick, grab the loosened rock with your hand and toss it in a bag. Each time you hit a rock, the shock rings in your hands, wrists, elbows, biceps and shoulders. At supper this evening, all of us who worked “down in the hole” were complaining about joint pain. We are hoping for better digging tomorrow
The Gezer Water System project is co-sponsored by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary under the direction of Tsvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist at INPA, and Dan Warner, co-director of the Center for Archaeological Research at NOBTS.