For the third, and final, time, it’s Ashley! (#bittersweet)
At the beginning of the trip, I would make quips that I knew exactly what was in store for me, because I had re-read (and re-watched) Holes, which is a fictional story of, if you don’t know, a young boy’s experience paying off jail time at a work camp by digging hole after hole, unknowingly searching for a treasure. Maybe it’s because that’s what I expected, maybe it’s because I said it so much, maybe it’s because the Lord enjoys messing with me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t see any commonalities.
The dig, for all its positives, is hard work. Manual labor. We may not each have to dig a 5×5 hole every day, but we’re moving buckets. Sifting buckets. Packing and moving dirt, only to put it back or haul it away. Our holes in the ground are not perfectly round; they sprawl and curve and reveal new floors and formations with every bit of dirt taken away. Using our trowel as our measuring stick, we have dug up hundreds of buckets of pure, unsifted history, loaded with bones and pottery, glass and coins.
The other people are strange and seem to come from a different world than you (what on earth makes up on archaeologist? Love of dirt? Like a worm?), but you do get to know them very well (and I will miss them). Caveman (main Holes character) too was an outsider, as a wrongly convicted man serving time with criminals, just as I was an outsider in the sense that I was an aspiring lawyer among aspiring archaeologists. I don’t think anyone was a criminal here. But, like Caveman, I quickly came to terms with the idea that they were not their label, they were not just archaeologists, they were people. And a bunch of really cool ones at that! I made a handful of really good friends here, but am probably closest with my roommate, Erin, and the two of us have made plans to meet up at some point after we get home. I’m also excited that Blonde Erin goes to my school, because then it will also be very easy for me to see her again. I also was very glad that I got placed in Kathryn’s square, because out of all the directors, I like her the best (don’t tell the others, or they’ll make me dig more holes. Probably).
There’s a bunch of cool history behind the digging here (and in Holes. See, I’m still comparing), which people root through dirt for days to try and find. In Holes, it was a stolen treasure. At Omrit, it was roughly fourteen million pounds of pottery and other artefacts that would help create a narrative and explain exactly what was happening in Omrit during the centuries it was used. However, I do maintain that there’s probably a grand treasure buried somewhere, even if no one believes me. It happened in Holes. It happened in National Treasure. This is essentially a given, and I will not back down on it.
To be fair, it isn’t a work camp, which is a plus, but it is my own version of a 200 page adventure tale. I went in to and came out of this dig with a very different idea of what archaeology was, and that is not a bad thing. My body is still sore, there will probably be dirt in my lungs for the rest of my life, but I got a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that I know I will never forget, cause I dug them holes.