Anyway, today I had made reservations to go to an Archaeological Experience... In other words, we got to be Archaeologists for a day! We went to the Emek Tsurim National Park where they've kept truckloads worth of dirt from a not-quite-legal excavation of the Temple Mount, and we all get to help sift through it! There's stuff in every single bucket of rocks, so you don't go away disappointed that you didn't find anything. We found shards of pottery, small fragments of glass, a few bones (eeew!), flint and marble pieces, chunks of mosaic pieces, and a rusty old nail! Good times. The first hour of our 'experience', the guide talked about the history of the area (the kids are going to be experts--Josh even got some applause when he answered a question correct that no one else caught! The guide asked why Herod was called Herod the Great if he was so mean and cruel, and it was because he was such a great builder.) and then explained why they had created first the National Park and then the public 'sifting experience'. Fascinating. Seems those who basically control the Temple Mount decided to do their own excavation so they could use some of the underground chambers as a new mosque--but they didn't do the excavation properly--with hand tools and careful digging. They brought in bulldozers and tractors! **GASP!!** I guess they were in a hurry. They had over 40 truck loads of priceless dirt just dragged out and dumped all over! So, people got together (this is a long story made short, by the way) and said, "Hey, this could have some good stuff!" and they started trucking it over to this place and now they let people help out in the dig. So, we got to play with dirt and rocks from the Temple Mount today!
We parked up at the top of this big hill that was straight up from the site. There was a great view of the whole Old City and Temple Mount from the path we were walking on. Beautiful. The kids were super excited. Andrew kept yelling, "LOOK! it's the Dome of the Rock!! That's one of the Ancient Wonders of the World!!" Then, their attention was drawn to the bees searching for nectar/pollen in the flowers. Then, they found mini snails on the stairs/rocks/plants and started to collect them. Andrew found a snail that decided it liked his hand and slimed its way all across his fingers. gross. He decided he wanted to take it home as a pet. Unfortunately, while we were walking up the path, he walked through a pile of giant red ants and it freaked him out and he dropped his new pet snail. Sad. So, we came home pet-less. Whew.