I Should be Studying…

Care packages and the history of the Old City.

And yet…here we are.

Since our last little shindig, I have watched Captain America, had a nervous breakdown, watched two seasons of Doctor Who (and only one was good =\), received my last package, watched Home Alone, and visited the Herodian Quarters and the Second Temple excavations in the Old City.This most recent care package contained something like 30 boxes of candy and three pairs of flip-flops.  Happy happy, joy joy!

Quick Doctor Who update:  I miss 10.  11 is a child.  Moffat got rid of everything good about the first four series and replaced them with obnoxious characters such as Rory and River.  This is simply a reminder for when I look back at this blog in 5 years and foolishly think I want to re-watch series 5 and/or 6.  (Consider this my very own time capsule. 😉 )

My nervous breakdown was about a communication failure between UTA and its estranged students.  Apparently, a new law went into effect that states I have to get a meningitis shot and prove to UTA by Jan. 2, 2012 that I’ve gotten it, or else I will be dropped from my classes.  Well, I don’t even get back into the country until Jan. 7, 2012.  And they were not willing to be accomodative, as the shot takes 10 days to take effect and classes start on Jan. 17, 2012.  Paperwork due by Jan. 2.  No exceptions.

As this was happening, I discovered that our internet had crashed.  I had no way of contacting my parents, my doctor, or UTA.  And I really didn’t want to have to get a shady shot in the back-streets of Jerusalem, Israel (and can you really blame me?)

Luckily, it all got sorted.  Mom called the doctor and found out that I got a meningitis shot in 2008 and thereby didn’t have to get another one.  She scanned the paperwork and emailed it to me.  That said, I had no knowledge of how to submit it (or who to ask how to submit it).

Finally got all of that sorted as well.  Apparently UTA will be emailing me at some point this week with login information for another website where I will then upload my scans and pay $10 (that’s BS) and be “kol beseder” or “all good” for you English speakin’ folks.

Moving on?  No more emo Alison?  Spectacular!

On Tuesday, Marva Balouka and the rest of our Archaeology of Jerusalem class went to the Old City.  The very first thing she showed us was something we’ve been discussing in class for many weeks but we finally got to see it.  It was recently excavated in the 1970s and is one of the few things that has been left completely as is, in view of everyone in the city.  Here is the Broadwall.  This special section of the wall served as a reinforcement point during the first temple period (8th Century B.C.E. by King Hezekiah).Here is a physical picture of the Broadwall.  Keep in mind, it’s not nearly as tall as it used to be.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAs it turns out, King Hezekiah knew that this portion of the wall had to be reinforced, so he asked to tear down the houses that were along the wall in order to use the rocks to build the broadwall.  These were nice, four-room houses.  We like to think that the people were reimbursed for their troubles.  The way we know they weren’t forced out or kicked out during a war of some sorts is because there was nothing left in these houses.  They had been completely wiped clean.Next, we stopped in Hurva Square in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.  Here’s an aerial shot.  We were standing all the way on the left.  Almost out of the picture.Anyway, as we stood there, Marva explained that when excavations were started in the 1970s, they found many large stones in the ground that indicated there used to be a major street there.  This is important because the street would have led straight to the Temple.  Instead of removing the stones and putting them in a museum, the designer of the new square decided to simply raise the large stones and use them as part of the ground.  Here are the large stones, now relatively smooth from wear.From Hurva Square, we went down…down into the depths.  >.>  See, Jerusalem used to be much much lower.  Then, as more and more people came to conquer/tear down/rebuild, Jerusalem slowly rose.  As such, during the 1970s excavations, they found six buried houses of rich people from the time of the Herodian Dynasty (37 BCE – 70 CE).  We’ve reached the assumption that these people were priests due to the over-abundance of private mikvah’s, which, if you recall, were ritual baths that one had to partake in if they wanted to visit the Temple:This particular house only had remains of an extravagant basement.  Note: The basement itself wasn’t blurry.  That is, in fact, my camera deciding to be stupid.This house was partially leveled in 70 AD when the Romans came and screwed everything up.

Here are some artifacts that were found in the same excavations, but they are from an earlier time period (Late Hellenistic or Hasmonean meaning second century and first half of the first century BCE).  These were the typical vases/jars/oil lamps from that time period.From there, we left the underground portion of the excavations and went to the Second Temple excavations taking place by the Western Wall.

We spent much time learning about Robinson’s Arch.  Robinson’s Arch was the first time that an arch was utilized in the Old City.  It allowed the street along the base of the Temple to flourish as the main street leading all the way across the city.  It also let people come from the City of David and go straight up to the Temple.  Here is what it looked like back in the day:Robinsons Arch OriginalHere is what it looks like today:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWhat happened was; the Romans came in and conquered the city.  The pulled a few stones out of the arch and it came crashing down to bury the street below it in a large pile of rubble that wasn’t moved until very recently.  (Just last week, they found two coins in the rock pile that dated prior to their initial guestimate of yadda yadda…archaeology is ever-changing.)  The Roman conquerors then closed the gate using many different kinds of stones, leaving what you see to this day.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe way the sign was phrased at this specific location made it seem like one Roman stood there and “Sparta kicked” the stones individually till they fell.  “The Romans hurled rocks to the ground.”  So I was inspired.

From here, we turned the corner around the Temple and went to the Southern wall.  We walked for a bit and came to the Huldah Gate.  This is yet another gate that used to lead straight into the Temple Mount, but has since been bricked up.  Since this was a holy place, not meant for rushing, the stairs are purposely tricky — two short ones, one long one…all the way up.The gate had existed in the time of King Herod…but has since been completely bricked in.  The Ottomon Empire added the fancy shmancy decorative thing.From there, we had the choice to leave and go back to campus (psh) or stick around the Old City by ourselves…so I kidnapped a girl named Melody and we walked around the Old City for a while.  I introduced her to Luay and we went and got Dr. Pepper (it was entirely necessary).  We then walked to Ben Yehuda where I purchased Advil and toothpaste (also entirely necessary).  I then took my last free Light Rail ride home where I have been ever since (with the one exception of going to class on Wednesday).

Now!  Wild and crazy!  I just made plans with Martyna to go to the Biblical Zoo tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn…and by that…I mean 9:30.  >_>  If I wake up.  She has threatened cold water.  Not a fan.

On Sunday, I have tentative plans to go to Tzfat with Melissa.  And the Melissa part is what is tentative.  I will be going.  Without a doubt.  Cannot wait!

On Tuesday, I have my next Archaeology of Jerusalem quiz.  Eww.  I’ve only kinda studied for it so far.  Guess I should do that.

I’ll get to it…eventually.

Author: alisonlcohn

Graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications Advertising. Traveled a bit. Taught for two years. Administered aptitude tests for a while. Worked as a Training Associate for Guardian Mortgage and a Quiz Master for Geeks Who Drink. Obtained my Master's in Film, Television and Screen Media in London, England. Now working as a small-group travel coordinator. Nice to meet you!

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