Archaeology Tour of Israel Recap

Prof. Thomas Kock

“It was fun!” “It was hard work!” “It was boring.” “It was interesting, even exciting!” Each of those are accurate descriptors for an archaeological dig.

While digging, we stayed at a hotel in Jerusalem, so we were on the bus at 4:30 am, to the dig-site by 5:30 am, and back to Jerusalem c. 1:00 pm. After lunch, we washed pottery for an hour (or so), then enjoyed much-needed showers. In the late afternoons we took walking trips to various sites in Jerusalem – the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Gordon’s Calvary, Gethsemane, the Southern Steps, the Wailing Wall, etc. After supper we had one evening lecture (a second one had to be cancelled) and/or had free time. After the five days of digging, we had five days of touring, visiting Biblical sites across Israel, accompanied by an expert Israeli guide.

Yes, the digging itself is hard work! We moved lots of dirt. Rev. Dave Putz was the dirt-bucket king; he came up with the idea to connect the piles we were making into a “pass” of sorts, which we of course dubbed, “Putz Pass.” While digging, lots of interesting conversations took place, and friendships were formed or solidified. For c. 95% of the time, the digging is boring … but then someone finds something, and there’s a jolt of excitement! “We seem to have a new wall!” “We found an intact pottery jar-lid!” “It’s a projectile!” “We’re not sure what it is, but it’s interesting!”

Through all of it one begins to gain a bit more clear understanding of the life-style of the ancients: city walls and gates were vital for protection; pottery was everywhere; bread-making was a constant task; weapons were simple, but effective; goats can survive anywhere. The next trip is planned for Summer 2021. Start saving your shekels!

From June 1 through June 12, 2019, Profs. Thomas Kock and Souksamay Phetsanghane co-led a group of 20 people – pastors, teachers, students, and laymen – on an archaeological dig to Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa, a few miles north of Jericho. The group dug for five days and toured for five days. The next trip is tentatively planned for Summer 2021. Prof. Thomas Kock is currently serving at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI. Prof. Souksamay Phetsanghane is currently serving at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, WI.