My wife and I left the US on Monday (19o F that morning!) and arrived to shirtsleeve weather in Jordan on Tuesday afternoon. After being in three different rooms during the first hour at our dig headquarters in the Movenpick Dead Sea Resort and Spa (a long story), we settled down for the night. Unfortunately, I woke up at 3 AM, and still managed to be late for the bus at 7:30 AM. I am supposed to be the guy who insures everyone else is on-time and ready to go! But it was a beautiful day and the temperature has continued to stay at shirtsleeve level each day. I am already working on my suntan.
I did devotions with the team on the bus both mornings out of Proverbs – offering a verse from the chapter matching the date (chapter 22 on December 22). I am following the same program that the guys are following back home at Helping Up Mission. We also pray for our team here, those traveling to be with us and our families and friends back home.
Part of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) team had already been in the field for almost a week and had everything up and running before we arrived. We are working in 3 different fields, about 150 yards from each other. Two are focusing on the eastern city wall complex and the structures immediately inside.
My wife went to work with Carroll, the square supervisor she has worked with each of the 5 previous seasons. Dr. Collins and I spent the morning walking around the eastern side of the site looking at a number of ancient features in the ground. It was great to be back. Today we had one special find – a small cooking pot from the time of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. It was actually sitting upside down hidden just below ground surface.
Dean, an engineer who was here because his wife really wanted to be on a dig (Merry Christmas to you, Connie!), is the one who first found it and stayed with it for about 4 hours till he got it out. As Dean was taking it out of the ground, the vessel broke into about 10 pieces. But it is all there and Heather, our dig conservator, will restore it. The vessel is about 2700 years old and has been sitting right there under the surface all this time.
It is great to be back in Jordan for our 6th season with many of my colleagues and our Jordanian friends. I will let you know about our Jordanian Christmas later.
Thanks for your prayers.
Pastor Gary Byers