Lyle Schoen was our speaker on May 1 at Lincoln South Rotary Club and shared his story as "A Volunteer Archeologist's Report from an Ancient Roman City".
Lyle fulfilled his dream of participating in an archaeological dig. As a volunteer, he participated in a project east of the Sea of Galilee. From the website ( The ancient city of Hippos-Sussita of the Decapolis (Antiochia Hippos) is located 2 km. east of the Sea of Galilee, on the top of a flat, diamond shaped mountain.
The ancient city was destroyed because of a major earthquake in the year 749. 
We were taken on a journey - with before and after photos - of the work that was done over a 4 week period. Lyle explained that, unlike what we envision where archeologists are working on small areas with brushes trying to find small objects, they were working with shovels and buckets as they cleared a large area to expose the outer wall of the ancient city. In fact, the area was so large that the work started with back-hoes.
Lyle's small team was working one area to expose the corner of the ancient Roman city. They dug out dirt and small rocks as they worked down into a hole passing buckets up to the human chain of volunteers. They encountered one rock that was so large that they had to dislodge it, wrap straps and then use all of their muscle power to pull it up and out of the hole. 
As we look at the photos from day to day we could see the progress that they made by counting the stones of the wall. At the end of their assignment it appeared that they had dug down about 12 feet. It was gratifying to see the progress and expose the beautiful wall that was built around this Roman city.
Though the team was primarily volunteers, there are Directors in charge and the overall project is overseen by the University of Haifa.
Lyle pointed out that this is a tremendous opportunity to learn about the culture of the past - history can always teach us the future.

For more information, view the website -; to read about the earthquake -