If it wasn’t for Benedicte Lhoyer, I would probably never have discovered Hazor.
As I grew up, I never knew what I wanted to be, constantly tortured with having to choose the ONE job that would define me – one day I wanted to be a firefighter or a police officer, and another I dreamed of being an architect or a designer. All I knew was that I wanted to be free, independent and strong. And it was for those three words that one day I blindly followed my teacher Benedicte Lhoyer to Hazor.
2017 was the first summer I spent at Hazor. Completely lost in a dream – but mostly because we missed our flight – I couldn’t realize we had finally arrived. It was huge, beautiful and extremely hot. The team was filled with people from all over the world. Israelis, Americans, Canadians, Australians, Spanish, French, Finish, English, and so many other nationalities were all gathered here for one same objective : archaeology. Some were here to study, others to fulfill their childhood dreams. Indeed, waking up at 4am never seemed so easy. As for the work, I had absolutely no experience in archaeology before arriving. But slowly, with practice, and with the help of the staff and the returnering volunteers, I started to get used to the small and big tools. The work is physical, but as Amnon says it so well : « it only hurts the first three days ». At first, my friends and I would get excited over every sherd of pottery, or tiny bones. But after discovering the equivalent of twenty pithoï smashed in pieces, or huge burned wooden beams, those small finds were very soon forgotten. This first experience in archaeology confirmed my hopes and lead me to continue archaeology in a master’s degree. But the experience doesn’t stop here. I couldn’t leave after only three weeks and never come back. So I promised myself I would come back for a full season. And that’s what I did the next summer and the one after.
Summer 2018 was a total different experience to me. I had the chance to come the entire season, which meant opening and closing the dig, which I’ve never done. But even more exciting than this, we had nearly finished with the Late Bronze Age destruction level and finally hit the floor of the Canaanite Palace on the fifth week. Hitting the floor meant a lot to everyone in our square, as we stayed in the same room for more than eight weeks each (during two years of excavations). Under the thousands of sherds of pottery was the floor and all its treasures. The « burnt room » had a packed dirt floor which made it hard to decipher but right next to us was uncovered a huge courtyard with a beautiful pavement and a large staircase. As the room I was in was finished, I was moved to the courtyard for a week – this is probably where and when I understood « patience » was the key.
The 2019 season was the perfect time to open new areas. I found it very interesting to see what the others had found as it was from a total different level : the Iron Age. Even if different areas were dug at the same time, the team was reunited at every break and in the life of the kibbutz.
Coming for six weeks was a challenge I gave myself. Will I be strong enough ? Will it be as good as last year ? Will I still want to do archaeology after ? Well, I guess Yes … as I came back for six new weeks in 2019 and will keep coming back!
What did Hazor bring me – other than love and knowledge to archaeology ? Long lasting friendships !