Today was Christmas Day and like all good archaeologists I worked part of the day!! We visited the Temple Mount Salvage project and found my second coin from the first temple period. This coin was similar to the one I found yesterday. We received our diplomas and then Zacy treated us to a final word as he explained the significance of all that we had found. A moving devotional and thought provoking comments under a large olive tree in the park they have created from the sifted remains of the Temple mount. We collected some sifted soil with the burn soot mixed with it from the Temple’s destruction. They refuse to charge anything for it and want to support the project with volunteers. There was a bus load of 60 young people arrive from an evangelical church in Singapore. They will stay for a few hours hear the explanation of the site and then sift some of the remains before heading out.
Once we finished this we headed for Bethlehem but had to stop at the Herodium before going on to Bethlehem. Here we saw the location of Herod's Tomb. It is ironical that Herod was the one who tried to put Jesus death at Bethlehem which you can clearly see in the distance. The irony is that Herod is dead but Jesus still lives so it was appropriate that we visit Herod first before heading to the place of Jesus Birth. What a contrast of cultures!! In one corner the was a minaret blaring with the Moslem call to prayer and then the whole centre of the square is decorated with Christmas lights with a blown up Santa in one of the shops. The square was crowded with people from every part of the country.
We had a great meal in Bethlehem did some Christmas shopping :-) and then returned home safely. Tomorrow we head for Jordan and cross over to visit the Baptismal site.
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