A few miscellaneous thoughts as we depart from a refreshing weekend at the terrific Ramat Rachel Hotel in Jerusalem, and returning to the Fourth Expedition to Lachish.

Yesterday was the fourth of July, but we had to be reminded of it. One loses track of time on a dig, and the context is totally different — but as long as we have access to Facebook, we get reminders. Lots of posts containing flags or patriotic comments brought the day to mind.

One thing I had wondered about before our first arrival on the dig site was a very practical one: where do we use the bathroom? At another site we typically visit ofacilitiesn tours, I once asked a female archaeologist for the bathroom and she pointed to a bush. “The whole outside is our bathroom,” she said. “Just don’t fall into any pits.”

Tel Lachish has not been developed as a tourist site, though the National Parks Authority is working on it, so there are no permanent facilities of any sort closer than the moshav (farming community) that tends all the fields around the tel.


Our square, being photographed at week’s end. Who knows what finds await?

I had assumed there would be some sort of Porta-Potties on site, and was gratified to see them on our first trudge up the tel. Three red outhouses are set together beneath a tarp attached to the shipping container where all the tools are kept. With a hundred people or more on site every day, they tend to be well used. While the visual and olfactory factors contribute, the fact that all of them tilt slightly backward adds just enough insecurity to make sure no one wants to spend too much time dilly dallying around in the bathroom.

There’s work to be done!

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