25 July 2006

Ironies in the Fire

Got an email today from a friend who talked us into an archaeology trip to Israel some 9 or 10 years ago. That's Carol sifting dirt to the right.

She, that is, the lady friend, not Carol, has been trying to persuade us to go back for a repeat of the incredibly hard work we did on the earlier trip. We usually put her off by reminding her how dangerous the area is, rather than admit we are too lazy. We would be up at around 5am to beat the heat of the day, then quit about noon for lunch, long shower to get rid of the dirt, and then a long nap because we were so tired. It was nice to sit beside the sea of Galilee and dream later in the afternoon while the professors would go over the pottery finds for the day.

Today she reminded us that a lady that went to Israel with her group in 2000 AD and returned without a scratch was struck by lightning in Billings MT and died as a consequence a couple of days ago.

My correspondent wondered which was the more dangerous place, Billings or Bethsaida? I couldn't answer because I didn't know the likelihood of being struck by lightning in Israel or Billings for that matter. The probability of being struck by a rocket or other explosive device is probably about the same in Billings and Jerusalem, or maybe just very slightly higher in the latter.

Some of the ancient walls, perhaps repaired, and one of the scattered gates or entrances to the old city of Jerusalem to the left.

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