[Photos by Rachel Ward]
It's July 2015, and archaeologist Shimon Gibson, an associate professor at UNC Charlotte, has an exciting vision for the Mount Zion excavation site near Jerusalem. The dig is a multi-year effort in the ancient city, and UNC Charlotte is the only American university licensed to carry out such excavations in Jerusalem.
|Shimon Gibson instructs excavation teammates and observers.|
The site is located near the Zion Gate and under the Old City Wall. The dig has an annual staff of about 80, working in two two-week shifts during the summers. Most years, 15 to 20 UNC Charlotte students participate as volunteers, though the project has become so popular in recent years that it is now drawing staff from around the country and around the world. He s
Within a stone’s throw of the dig is the Tomb of David, hero of the bible and the city’s great king, and above it the room where Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Last Supper, before the passion and crucifixion. Also close are the ruins of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s great Nea church
|James Tabor, best-selling author and noted religious historian |
has worked for years on projects in Jerusalem.
The excavation work takes place during the summer, and the artifacts unearthed are studied and cataloged during the rest of the year at the University of the Holy Land. UNC Charlotte students and volunteers from Charlotte, Europe and the Middle East help with the dig.
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