Andrews, a man of the world, back in U.S.

Photo by Jim Haberman Royal figure in Huqoq mosaic uncovered in Summer 2014.

Photo by Jim Haberman
Royal figure in Huqoq mosaic uncovered in Summer 2014.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Austin Glock Andrews isn’t able to call his trip in May and June to an archaeological site in Jerusalem a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

That’s because this his second consecutive summer trip to dig at a Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Hoqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee. And goodness knows where he might go next.

The 19-year-old Hamlet man recently finished his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill by spending nearly six weeks using pick axes and hoes and a “very specific methodology” to unearth the synagogue. He returned on Wednesday, just in time to celebrate America’s birthday in North Carolina.

“I know folks who go through different type soy archaeology and never do excavation never get to see a dig site,” Andrews said. “I’ve been able to do that twice, my first two years in college. It was just an amazing opportunity.”

Photo by Jim Haberman Professor Jodi Magness and UNC Chapel Hill students, including Austin Andrews Glock (far right) at the Huqoq dig site.

Photo by Jim Haberman
Professor Jodi Magness and UNC Chapel Hill students, including Austin Glock Andrews (far right) at the Huqoq dig site.

And an expensive one. Andrews said the trip can cost up to $6,000 — including airfare, lodging, meals and equipment fees at the dig site — but it’s well worth the cost. Scholarships, friends and family help to cover the cost, he said.

The opportunity, however, is right up Andrews’ alley. The aspiring religious studies and classical archaeology major said the trip is “a perfect cross section of my interests.”

“I plan on coming back,” Andrews said, “pending funding.”

Since 2012, three well-preserved mosaics have been discovered in the same location in excavations directed by Jodi Magness, of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and co-directed by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The third mosaic is the first time a non-biblical story has been found decorating any ancient synagogue. Andrews said the bearded man in the image could be Alexander the Great greeting a high priest.

“That’s to be determined,” he said.

The latest mosaic is divided into three horizontal registers, or strips, and differs in style, quality and content from the Samson scenes. Portions of this mosaic were uncovered in 2013, and the rest was revealed this summer.

In a news release distributed by UNC earlier this week, Magness said the uppermost register depicts a meeting between two large male figures. A bearded, diademed soldier wearing elaborate battle dress and a purple cloak is leading a large bull by the horns, accompanied by a phalanx of soldiers and elephants with shields tied to their sides. He is meeting with a grey-haired, bearded elderly man wearing a ceremonial white tunic and mantle, accompanied by young men with sheathed swords who are also wearing ceremonial white tunics and mantles.

The identification of the figures in this latest mosaic is unclear because there are no stories in the Hebrew Bible involving elephants, Magness said. From this season’s excavations, it has become clear that the synagogue was more than 20 meters long, which means it is comparable in size to the late Roman synagogue in Capernaum — the largest Galilean-type synagogue in Israel, Magness said.

Andrews, meanwhile, will soon return to campus prior to the start of his junior year to fulfill his job as tour guide to potential UNC students. It’s his job, he said, to explain why UNC would be “the perfect place for them.” And he can always throw in, when in a pinch, that if the student ever tired of traditional campus life, they could always dig in the dirt in Jerusalem.

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

You might like:

GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience
Sit back for an ‘interesting story’ Sit back for an ‘interesting story’
Cash available for crime-solving tips Cash available for crime-solving tips
Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield
© 5917 The Pee Dee Post. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.