The staff of the International School was invited to participate in an archaeological dig at the Neve David site in Haifa, Israel with our students from the International MA in Prehistoric Archaeology
The sun was already high up in the sky and the scorching heat was already burning our skin when we arrived to the site at 9 am all dressed up for getting our hands dirty in the prehistoric dust. We take our time to explore the 50 cm2 squares, 5 cm deep, which divide the site marking work spaces for each of the archaeologists to analyze. We are told to walk barefoot, not to damage what may be the next break-through discovery. This site was inhabited by people over 15,000 years ago.
Dr. Reuven Yeshurnun, the co-director of Neve David, toured us around the site. As an expert in archaeozoology, Dr. Yeshurun studies animal bones found at archeological sites. Animal bones can help archaeologists reconstruct the prehistoric environment and how people lived when the site was occupied.
From Dr. Yeshurun’s narrative, we learned that the site was discovered by French archaeologist H. Laville in 1983, but archaeological research only began 35 years ago when Professor Danny Kaufman conducted archaeological dig nearby, found 2 graves of humans and organized a joint project with other universities (Tel Aviv University and University of Texas) to delve into further. During his work, he excavated two human graves and determined Geometric Kebaran (provide link to source) people lived in the area.
Excavation is done at the pace of 5 cm per week by about 30 students and professional archaeologists. Some look for botanical remains, small pieces of charred wood. Others for pieces of flint, flint stones or bone remains. Every piece of flint or flint blade, stone, or bone tells a story and, hence, is recorded in a journal and treated with the greatest care as it may hold the answers to our very existence. Our prehistoric ancestors made fire, roasted gazelles, and other animals at this very site.
We note a red sign on a stone that looks like a target mark. We learn it is a calibration mark for 3D modeling, mapping, and reconstruction of archaeological data in a 3D modeling software that one of the students is currently working on.
The Neve David archaeological site is open to all students who wish to learn about archaeology and how it is done. Students are currently analyzing and cataloging the findings from the dig while the site is closed for the winter season.