The Jezreel Valley is popular with balloonists. This one descended within 50 feet of our dig site on Tuesday, but declined to join us.

Archaeology lovers who have joined the Jezreel Expedition archaeological dig for the next two weeks started getting down and dirty on Monday and Tuesday.

Dig co-director Norma Franklin points out a tomb during an early-morning orientation walk.

Monday began before sunup with an orientation walk from Jezreel’s upper tel to the lower tel, with interpretive stops along the way to examine the fortress’ rock-cut moat, bottle-shaped pits used as granaries, outlying structures, and several Roman-era tombs.

Once at the site we were each assigned places to work, picked up our needed tools and dug in. There’s only so much we’re allowed to say about the dig itself — or for that matter — only so much we know.

Rick, Victor, and Larry leaned quickly that archaeology involves hauling a lot of dirt.

David, on his way back from dumping buckets of dirt on the “spoil” pile.

Due to the hot sun, we work under shades, which need to be erected or moved periodically. Here, Dale helps make that happen.

Susan was happy to be back clearing a small paved surface on the first day, but was starting a new square on the second.

Rick’s first job was helping to take down a baulk: a vertical section that is kept between squares for stratigraphic purposes until no longer needed.

Ryan hauled dirt while staff member Philippe filled buckets.

Muriel quickly proved herself adept at keeping a level surface.

John Robert examines a stone to see if it has been shaped by humans.

Karie had a corner to herself, following the rule of putting pottery into the basket, rocks and dirt into the buckets.

Woody and Dale get instructions from Inbal, including “Don’t step on things that can kill you.”

Larry quickly proved himself to be a workhorse, and had fun doing it.

Victor and I worked together taking down a baulk — fortunately he’s young and strong. My knees don’t let me push the wheelbarrow, so Victor got double duty.

This local resident did not appreciate us tearing up its home. Don’t worry, it’s not as big as it looks.

So, for the rest of today’s blog, I’ll share pictures of our team members at work.

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