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Tell Abu en-Ni’aj – Jordan


Thursday, March 2, 2000

Today was Day 5 lost to rain. We didn’t even out of the starting gate this morning. It didn’t rain much, but the site was just too wet. We got to sleep in until 0530; then we had a light breakfast. Formal breakfast wasn’t until 0830. I helped the people floating samples establish their volume, cleaned some bone, and labeled pottery. I gave a 30 minute presentation on ceramics. Laundry came back, and it’s beginning to suffer attrition. Bruce and Michele W. made chocolate chip cookies. We had pizza for dinner, topped with toasted almonds. Not bad.

Friday, March 3, 2000

For a few hours today I was the only one in the dig house. I read, ate, napped and made a shuffleboard game with tape on the courtyard surface. We can use push rooms and the round cheese containers to play. Made horse shoe pits, too. Also went to town [Mirsharra] twice, once with Cynthia to get cookies to take to her lunch engagement, and once with Achmed who was driving the group with Cynthia to the bus station. Then I watched the Jordanian bobsled team practice on Tell Dier Alla. A couple of kids had a cardboard box flattened out and were sitting on it, trying to slide down the side of the tell. It didn’t go too well, but it was fun to watch. It was a very good day. Weather was beautiful, too.

Saturday, March 4, 2000

It was tough getting out of bed this morning for some reason. Good day on the site. The units are too deep for me to climb in and out without a tremendous amount of effort, so I’m spending longer in each unit, and I’m getting help to get out. Bonita’s unit is over my head. It started raining as we left the site, but stopped soon after lunch. The Falconers are off to Cyprus for a week. [Foreshadowing!] Jen, who is co-director, will be running the show. We processed and labeled pottery during the afternoon.

Sunday, March 5, 2000

It was a beautiful day for Day 28. The site was a little muddy from yesterday’s rain, but the units weren’t bad. May not be getting in and out of the units as frequently, but got my exercise carrying loads up and down the stairs to the roof of the dig house. The bus broke down, or rather, ran out of gas, on the way back to the dig house. I’m feeling pretty good except for that persistent sore throat. In fact, I’m finally able to stay warm and comfortable in the dig house, while others are cold, a real switch. Got newspaper clippings from home in the mail, helping me keep up with the outside world.

I tried my Arabic on the site today. I attempted to draw attention to Hammed at the screen with nothing to do, by saying that “Hammed has zero,” in order to get the other guys to get him something to sift. I tried to say “Hammed andaho zifr.” Apparently I said “Hammed andaho sifr,” which our Jordanian crew tells means “Hammed has a fishy smell.” He did act a little put off when he heard what I said. This isn’t the worst error I’ve ever made with Arabic, but the worst mistake is too scatalogical to record here.

Monday, March 6, 2000

It’s Day 29 of the dig. Making fast progress in Emily’s square, less fast progress in Ruth’s square, and no progress in Bonita’s square while she is out sick. Bonita is still recovering and will also miss tomorrow. As the dig has progressed, I’ve grown a little tired of the shebab, or the young men, we’ve hired on the site. (I think the singular form is sheb.) They work hard enough when they work, but the problem is keeping them on task and not flirting with the American women. And let’s face it; some of our young women do not exactly discourage the attention. I’ve coined the word shebabette.

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

It was a decent night’s sleep until rain woke me at 0300 hrs. It rained a little on the site, but we eked out a complete Day 30. Emily found pieces of two different animal figurines. It was too wet back at the dig house to analyze pottery. We did lithics and notebooks, and got them done before supper. Bruce and Michele followed up the cookies by making cole slaw for supper. Temperatures are dropping.

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