The following contains an account and photos from Rachel Ward, a senior anthropology major and the official photographer of UNC Charlotte's second summer archeological dig in Jerusalem at Mt. Zion.
We headed to the Holy Land this summer with more excitement about the work ahead of us than worries about our extended stay at the religious crossroads of the volatile Middle East.
Thirteen participants from UNC Charlotte, along with students from other universities and several community members came to Jerusalem’s Mount Zion to complete the second of three planned summer archeological digs there. UNC Charlotte is the only American university with license to carry out such an excavation in Jerusalem.
Each of us experienced the thrill of unearthing a variety of artifacts. Providing intense context for the experience were detailed tours of holy sites. For me, Sunday school lessons and university-level comparative religion studies came to life in ways that often made me feel quite small.
The summer program coincided with the tragic killings of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent retaliation murder of a Palestinian boy, whose funeral procession occurred just a few blocks from our hotel.
We felt reasonably safe. Israeli soldiers seemed to be everywhere. And we are only beginning to process the experiences we shared as we lived and worked amid some of humankind’s most significant history.