Through the ASOR Platt Fellowship, I was able to participate in my first dig. I attended a field school run by UNC Chapel Hill at Huqoq Kibbutz in northern Israel. The site we worked on consisted of a modern Arab village abandoned in 1948 that was built over the remains of a Byzantine-era Jewish settlement. This was the first season of excavation at the site, so I got to see what archaeology is like from the beginning. Even though our goal was to locate the Byzantine-era synagogue, we paid as close attention to 20th century remains as to 6th century ones.
The first square I worked in was in the room of a house from the modern Arab village. We excavated through several layers of plaster until we reached a uniform plaster surface covered with rubble, ash, and burnt timbers. When we found a coin dating from 1927-1945 in this destruction layer, we knew that the building had burned down at some point after 1927 but before the settlement’s abandonment.