Platt Fellow Reflects on Mosaic Discovery

Huqoq mosaic with female face and inscription. Photo by Jim Haberman.

By Caroline Carter, 2012 Platt Fellow

I ended my last blog saying, “It’s not everyday that you get to protect a 500+-year-old site from frantic farm animals.” As the month continued and new discoveries were made at Huqoq, Israel, I also came to find out that it’s not every day that you can say, “WE FOUND A MOSAIC FLOOR IN THE ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE!!!!”

Once again, this is another day that I will never forget. It was one of those tired and slow mornings—several people were feeling ill and the square I was supervising in the village area wasn’t finding much of anything. All of a sudden we heard a scream of excitement from the area of the synagogue. The volunteers and students nearby gathered around one square with the biggest smiles on their faces. As everyone in my area started curiously getting out of their squares, we heard director Jodi Magness scream, “Mosaic!” I’m not sure if I have ever run that fast.

It’s odd to think, I might never have made this memory without ASOR. Without the generous donations, I wouldn’t have been able to attend my second season at the Huqoq Excavations Project (conducted by Jodi Magness of UNC Chapel Hill and the Israel Antiquities Authority). And could not say that I am a part of the amazing team that discovered this unique rarity in archaeology.

In addition, I also had the opportunity to help excavate one of the cisterns on site. To enter, I descended down a long shaft to reach an open area with branching tunnels. It was dark, spotted with spiders and slugs, and full of dirt. I had to move dirt from one tunnel through the other as the only option of moving was the army-crawl. Personally, this was the moment that put me in awe at the reality of the exciting direction my life is taking as a future archaeologist.

I truly had the time of my life.


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