Bethsaida has been laborious—no doubt about that! But a few days ago, we were rewarded with a demonstration in pottery “reconstruction” that really highlighted the end product(s) of our collective efforts. In most archaeological scenarios, we all spend hours under the sun collecting what oftentimes seem like very random pieces of history—pottery shard, after pottery shard, after still more pottery shards. Though a keen imagination can visualize the once active lives of such material history, it is nonetheless helpful to see some of the completed clay puzzles come back to life before our eyes.
After our second to last day on the dig, we were taken to Ginosar’s museum basement for a lessen pottery resurrection. Here is a table full of random shards, rims, and handles—a ceramic puzzle desperately in need of being put back together again:
It looks daunting and intimidating, but we must start somewhere. If you look closely, here are two pieces that obviously fit, and just to make sure, temporary white chalk lines are drawn to mark their relationship:
Then, apply a little old-fashioned Elmer’s glue (for if there is a mistake, or if excess squeezes out from the cracks, it is water soluble and can be cleaned up easily!):
After the application of a little bit of tape in strategic areas, as well as some small clamps if necessary, shapes, once missing, begin to reappear. Here you can see early stages in process, and a once jumbled mess begins to be reconfigured:
After a short workshop, in which various student-workers took a shot at these processes, we were all led to a room just stuffed with the finished pieces. As you can see, here is just a sample of jugs, jars, cooking pots, casserole dishes, and oil lamps. For those who’ve been digging now for days, this is definitely a sight for sore eyes (and sore bodies!). It really gives us all a feel for what will become, if not years down the line, our our excavations:
Lastly, here is one of the prized possessions of the Bethsaida collection, affectionately called the “Jesus Jug.” Please allow your mind to consider the possibilities!
with just one day left to dig, we were all given a short poem—a little bit of inspiration—that I’d like to share with our readers. The print is small, but please take the time to view it closely if you can—for it beautifully summarizes the sentiments of why this whole endeavor takes place. It is called, “At an Archaeological Site”: