Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1 Gezer Update

By Gary D. Myers

Another day and another 4 feet deeper in the cave and we feel that the end is near. Based on the Dr. Jim Parker’s calculations, this year the team would need to dig down 42 feet to reach the end. We are currently at 37 feet. Because the drawings left by R.A.F. Macalister are not to scale, Parker’s estimates have a margin of error of plus or minus 5 feet. Perhaps we will reach the end Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

A number of team members are still sick. They have fever, body aches, fatigue, coughs and runny noses. Please pray for a speedy recovery.

Is this the end?
May 31 the team encountered a nicely carved rib or mantle in the roof of the cave, one of about 12 we have uncovered to date. The one we found that day was the most pronounce one since those found near the mouth of the tunnel – until yesterday.

About 2:30 in the afternoon we noticed what seemed like the end of the tunnel. The adrenaline kicked. However, after about 15-20 minutes of digging we were able to determine that this was only another mantle. This mantle dropped down much further than the previous ones – around 2.5 feet. Until we worked our way underneath it looked like a solid wall.

An Experiment?
Strange thoughts cross ones mind down in the hole. A day or so ago I thought: “What if this was a big psychological experiment to see how people would respond? How long would the team continue to dig before quitting?

Words of wisdom by Tsvika Tsuk
Yesterday Tsvika was out most of the day and arrived shortly after we had uncovered what looked like the end of the tunnel, but was yet another mantle. Tsvika said something like – “You can’t be an optimist or a pessimist in a dig like this, only a realist and keep digging.” Good word. And that is what we will do today – keep digging.


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.

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