Meet Saleh

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Saleh has been working with the Dhiban Excavation Team since 2009 and is back this year to help with excavation.

Saleh graduated with a degree in archaeology, but he has had a hard time finding steady employment, much like other archaeologists in the world.  He knows some English and helps me learn Arabic, while I help him with the finer points of English grammar.  He’d love to study Hebrew for his PhD, but would also like to get married.

Saleh’s family is from the local Bani Hamida bedouin and he sang his family-specific song today as we cleaned off a section in the hot sun. He also has blingin’ shoes.

He asked me to post about him today, and I did! Marhaba, Saleh.  See you tomorrow.

Dhiban: Institutionalized

(written on 29 June)

“Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn’t work out the way I want it to
and I get real frustrated” – Institutionalized, Suicidal Tendencies

I woke up this morning with Institutionalized in my head and I just should have known. Nobody else in the girls’ house knew the song and, once again, I felt old and weird.  “You know, like in Repo Man!” Nobody had seen it. Conversations at 4:45AM usually don’t work out anyway, I guess.

So I get to site, still humming “Just one Pepsi!” and I noticed several things at once: my grid points were missing, my sieve was gone and the goats had rampaged through my trench. Again.  The missing points were the real problem–archaeologists need to align themselves on a spatial grid to dig accurately and we usually use permanent or semi-permanent markers to use continually season after season.  The problem is that the locals here really like to yank out the pieces of rebar that we pound into the ground.  We hide them but they often find them anyway.  I like to think that they steal them because they need the money, but I’m fairly certain this instance was just a certain shepherd being ornery.  This time we established the grid around my trench and had them yanked out that very day, under the guard’s nose. And the surveyor was sick.  My sieve had been taken by another archaeologist on the project and the replacement that I tried to use was broken. Four different people tried to set it up before they believed me that it was unusable.

I start the process of reestablishing my grid, leave my trench for a couple of minutes, and come back to find that my workman, who is usually very competent, has dug a bunch of craters right in the middle of the next new context.  I audibly gasp and he’s immediately sorry, but the damage has been done.

I was out a datum, a sieve, and the next thing I was working on was compromised.  I had been becoming increasingly stressed, but then I just laughed.  Too bad the day just got worse as it went on.  Malesh.

Doesn’t matter, I’ll probably get hit by a car anyway.

Blogging Archaeology – Update!

This week has been big for me in the blogging world! First, I am chuffed to make Archaeology Magazine’s list of Top 5 Archaeology Bloggers:

http://archaeology.org/blog/?p=965

Welcome to everyone who has followed their link to this blog–I’m currently working at Tall Dhiban in Jordan and hope to have more updates about the archaeology in the very near future.

Also, the much esteemed Kris Hirst of Archaeology at About.com has agreed to be the discussant for the Blogging Archaeology session at the Society for American Archaeology in 2011. There’s more information on the session here:

https://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/blogging-archaeology-saa-2011-draft/

I should have an updated abstract soon.