Getting Stuff Done

This was a quiet week for me. I didn’t have any grand adventures, but I got a lot accomplished.

Research Proposal

I have been working a lot on my research proposal this week. I want to have a first draft ready within a week or two. Over a month ago, I thought I was getting close to having it ready, but then I found more sources that I needed to study. That took a while.

The central part of my site map.

I have been working on a list of archaeological sites that I plan to examine for my PhD. I think that I finally have a complete list, at least for now. It includes 199 sites. I have tracked down many of the publications pertaining to these sites, and I have a list of resources that I still need. I decided to purchase a few of the books, and I will look for others at the libraries in Jerusalem the next time I go there. There are some journal articles that I hope to find online, but so far they have eluded me.

Now I am working on a preliminary data analysis of the sites to see if I can find any interesting patterns. I want to contrast the locations of the Late Bronze Age sites with those of the Iron Age I sites. I also want to see if the site type (city, village, farm, cemetery, etc) has any correlation with its location. It will be interesting to see what I find.

I made a map with each of the sites plotted on it, but unfortunately the numbers turned out really fuzzy, so I will have to re-do it.

Student Card

As you may know, ever since I arrived here at Ariel, I have been trying to get a student ID card. It is very beneficial to have one for multiple reasons. First, it has a chip that acts as a key at all of the gates onto campus. Second, it works as a library card at the campus library. Additionally, I can use it as ID at a variety of off-campus locations to prove I’m a student in order to get student discounts and access to libraries at other universities.

The one thing that has prevented me from getting the student card is my lack of a Green Pass. The Green Pass, issued by the Department of Health, indicates that a person is vaccinated against COVID, and therefore allowed to access all the places that are restricted to the unvaccinated. I have been trying unsuccessfully to get a Green Pass ever since I arrived in the country. The Department of Health recognizes that I am vaccinated and that I should have a Green Pass. Every time I talk to them, they promise to give me one. And yet, I still don’t have a Green Pass.

Just recently, however, the Department of Health decided to phase out the Green Pass. As soon as the Green Pass was no longer required for entry to university campuses, I headed straight to the administration building and asked for a student card. With the lack of a Green Pass no longer an issue, it took about five minutes for me to get the card and become an officially-recognized student.

On of the gates through which I can now enter

I was so excited. I tried it out at the gate closest to my dorm and went in and out several times just for fun. That was two days ago. I have been on and off campus multiple times since. Up till now, if I wanted to go onto campus, I had to treat it as a day trip. I planned everything out in advance, took everything I needed, walked around to the main gate, sneaked past the guard, and didn’t leave campus until I had accomplished everything on my list.

Now, I can easily run to the pottery lab, the library, or the laundry mat (all on campus) any time I want, run back to my dorm to grab something I forgot or drop off something that I am finished with, and easily get back on campus again. Life just got a whole lot easier.

Plaster Samples

Another thing that I accomplished this week was figuring out how to mail a package. Actually, in the end, I figured out that I can’t mail a package on my own, but now I know.

Ever since I discovered the cistern at Mount Ebal, I have been working on getting Carbon-14 testing done on the plaster. It has been a long process. A lab in the UK wouldn’t answer my emails. Another lab, in the US, was more expensive. Finally, I gave up on the UK lab and got funding from ABR to cover the cost of using the lab in the US. Then came a long process of preparing the plaster samples and filling out the appropriate paperwork.

Preparing the plaster samples

I finally had everything ready, and I headed to the post office. They explained that they could only ship international packages if I pre-paid online. They told me that it is very easy. You go to their website, fill out a form, pay, print the label, and attach it to the box. They assured me that there was a drop-down language menu, and I could use the website in English.

I found the website, selected English, and spent quite a while clicking every link and trying to find the form that I needed to fill out. It wasn’t there. Finally, I went to the pottery lab and asked one of the ladies there for help. She switched the website to Hebrew and discovered a lot of options that weren’t available on the English version. Even so, it took us about a half hour to find the right page.

The samples are boxed, labelled, and ready to go.

Once we found it, it was pretty easy to fill out the form. The final catch was when I tried to pay with my credit card. The website wanted my identification number, which for me, means my passport number. However, the site recognized that it wasn’t an Israeli ID number, and refused to accept it. So, that’s why I now know that I can’t mail a package on my own – the website won’t accept payment from me. In this case, however, my helpful friend paid with her credit card, and I repaid her with cash. I printed the label and taped it onto the package, but by that time the post office was closed. I will try to mail it first thing next week.

Khirbet el-Maqatir

For the past six years, my team from ABR has been working on publishing the archaeological excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, where I helped excavate from 2010–2016. I wrote two chapters for the final publication, and I also helped with a lot of the data for other chapters. It has been a long process, but we finally got the proof copy from the publisher. It is our last chance to make edits and correct errors before it goes to print.

It is an impressive publication. A lot of people have put a lot of work into it. I have seen some of the chapters, but this was my first time seeing them with all their illustrations. There are other chapters that I had not seen at all before now, and I enjoyed looking through them.

I went over my chapters, and caught a number of errors. Some were the publisher’s fault, but some were my own that managed to slip though despite multiple rounds of editing. I was glad for a chance to correct them.

The volume should be published very soon. I can’t wait to see it in print.

A wall that I helped excavate at Khirbet el-Maqatir

2 responses to “Getting Stuff Done”

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