Posted by: thedirtybaker | June 24, 2011

Different site, different body of water

View of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), coming down from the guest house at Karei Desheh

There was sand!  There were trees!  And grass and reeds and WATER (Freshwater this time around.)  And there was 3000+ year old jewelry.  There was food, beer, air conditioning, and nice people.  So really, what else could you want?  (Well, good workout options, but that’s just being greedy.)

After spending 3 1/2 weeks at Ashkelon, I headed up to the airport to meet a ride to join the Tel Kinrot Regional project for a few days.  I am going to publish their Iron Age I jewelry, too.  Fortunately, they have a much smaller corpus to work with.  Unfortunately, it’s in 3 different cities.  The first section was in their storage space in the Galilee, the second is in the warehouse of the Antiquities Authority in Beth Shemesh, and the  3rd is in the Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem.  Beth Shemesh and Jerusalem aren’t far apart, but the Galilee is a bit of a trek by Israeli standards.  (Note:  Their whole country is the size of  New Jersey.)

Another view of the Kinneret

Kinrot is right on the Sea of Galilee, a.k.a. the Kinneret in Hebrew.  I prefer the Hebrew in this case, because it isn’t a sea – it’s a fresh water lake.  It’s also very low, though higher than it was last year.  Last year, it only went to the edge of the reeds.  It’s supposed to go up to where I was standing when I took the first picture, though.  Similarly, the Iron Age water systems at some important sites in or near the Galilee (like Megiddo and Hazor) had water in them well into the 20th century.  But I think that should be another post.  This is about Kinrot.

I wasn’t thrilled about going up there, at first.  I wanted to spend the weekend in Jerusalem, where archaeologist friends would come in to meet up.  But it turned out to be better that I did so – I hadn’t realized that about half the material was up there, and everyone was very nice.

They stay at a guest house called Karei Desheh, which is a vacation spot for Israelis, too.  It’s right on the Kinneret and has the beach that you can see in the pictures.  The rooms are air conditioned, and the food is better than it is on most kibbutzim that I’ve stayed on.  It’s a multi-national, European excavation, with a consortium of universities in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Finland.  Because the Dutch often don’t speak German well (though they understand it), and the Finnish are much less proficient than the Dutch, the excavation is run in English.  (Phew!)  This also explains this sign, that’s supposed to say “Personnel Only.”

This was supposed to say "Personnel Only."

They were extremely accommodating to me, and got me whatever I needed to do my work in two days.  Plus, there was beer.  Amazingly, I got the immediate job done in less time than that (thanks to a 2 a.m. late night) and made it to the beach (unlike Ashkelon!)!

Their main workroom is a big bomb shelter, which was a bit funny, but

The workroom entrance.

works well – it’s big and the air conditioning is probably TOO effective.  I didn’t think it was particularly hot there, but the people from colder climates (i.e. everyone else) felt it more than I did.

As for the beach, there were thick pointy reeds under the water for much of the way out to the rope, and it didn’t get very deep.  Only the last few feet were over my head, and more than half of the way was below my waist.  The best part of the beach though – people take the plastic chairs INTO the shallow water, sit in groups, and picnic in the water itself.  That’s one way to stay cool….

Why sit on the beach when you can picnic IN the water?

On Saturday evening, I had to go to Beit Shemesh, where my sister lives (more or less).  There’s a major warehouse there for the Israel Antiquities Authority, a.k.a. the Reshut, and I needed to look at material there on Sunday.  I’d expected to take the train to get there.  I really like trains, but I’d have had to get to Haifa first.  So the directors generously decided to get me a taxi all the way to Bet Shemesh.  The guy at the front desk offered his cousin, Basil’s services as a taxi driver.  He’s trying to get into the business.  It turned out that he didn’t even have a taxi – he showed up in an Eldan rental car!  A friend of his was in the front seat with him to keep him company on the long drive home.  The directors asked if I was comfortable with this, and I thought it was a bit odd and very funny, but probably fine, so we went with it.

It did turn out to be fine – though I’d recommend GPS to anyone trying to run a long distance taxi service.  It looks a bit less than professional to have the passenger calling the person at the destination for directions.

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