One morning in February, about nine o’clock, I was having breakfast. On my left Ulf and Helena were speaking German; on my far right Ami, Aaron and Tami were discussing the day’s work in Hebrew; in front of me Amanda from South Africa was listening to Michael’s Australian version of English; and at my right elbow Seong Kim was muttering in Korean as he tried to open a can of fish with my Swiss Army knife. This was not the breakfast to which I was accustomed at my boat shop in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I was now at a tell in Beth-Shean, Israel, working as a volunteer excavating a Late Bronze Age Canaanite temple.
My adventure started about a year before when I saw a listing of digs and volunteer opportunities for the coming season in BAR. The first listing was for Beth-Shean and was already in progress. However it also mentioned they would be digging again in the fall and winter. This got my attention for several reasons. First, history has always been one of my interests, and I had often wished I could work on a dig. Second, winter is the slack season in my shop, and I could spare the time. And third, I had been to Beth-Shean before when my wife, Susie, and I joined a ten-day bus tour of Israel and Egypt. One short stop included the Roman theater below the tell.