Working in the Pottery Lab complex is one of several unexpected pleasures I’ve been experiencing on this excavation. As a microcosm of Israel itself, our Lab is international.
Even as I sit here and type these words, I can hear the muezzin singing out the Adhan from the minaret of Al Jazaar mosque, the final of five calls to prayer throughout the day.
The Akko prison intersects the Crusaders with the Ottoman empire, the British Mandate, and the Jewish resistance movements throughout Palestine. Today, the 12th century Crusader Hospitaller Center bears evidence of the 18th century Muslim fortress with military barracks and palaces, and the 19th century British prison. During the British Mandate, there were three major prisons: Jerusalem (Russian Compound and Kishle); Akko; and Bethlehem (women’s prison).
Part of the Tel Akko Excavation’s Total Archaeology approach is to take in the larger context of the dig—the present day city and its history, the surrounding landscape, the people groups and cultures, the land of Israel and its history. Today, to get a better understanding of the unique challenges Israel faces, we visited the capitol city, Jerusalem, another of the six “Mixed Cities” and filled with spiritual pilgrims from three of the major religions in the world: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
In every culture, every society, there are things that go without being said. We don’t even realize those things exist, not really, because we don’t talk about them, we don’t even know we’re doing them, in our native culture.
I am working on one aspect of the excavation, the “Survey.” What is currently being dug is only a small part of the whole Tel. There is much more still waiting to be discovered, so the survey team methodically digs shallow, square trenches over the rest of the site, just to see what potential there might be. Every day, the survey team brings back a good fifty or sixty buckets of samples, all of which need to be read, registered, written on and packed up.
An outlier in her time, Lydia made a name for herself in the Tyrian purple market, establishing her own business and household, and enjoying a level of independence only a small minority of women in her day were able to experience. The images below all come from my visit to the Hecht museum, which has a display of murex shells and the beautiful dye Tyre, Sidon, and Akko were known for.
What would it be like if followers of Jesus, who walk the Way and live filled with God’s love and grace by His indwelling Spirit, were to embrace what that really means?
Inside, we saw many of the kinds of things we’ve been digging up in Akko, amphorae, giant storage jars, ancient glass, and all kinds of pottery. We also saw finds from other local sites, and this one arrested my attention mid-step: Inside, we saw many of the kinds of things we’ve been digging up in Akko, amphorae, giant storage jars, ancient glass, and all kinds of pottery. We also saw finds from other local sites, and this one arrested my attention mid-step:
Refusing to abandon Jesus in His darkest hour, all four Gospel accounts describe Mary of Magdala’s faithfulness and courage, remaining with Jesus, at the foot of His cross, until His death. She had accompanied Jesus and those who had come to know and love Him, on His way to Jerusalem for the last time, to celebrate the Feast of Passover.