August 26, 1956 presented us with a blazing hot dry khamsin (hot desert wind) day. That morning, we surveyed a farm near Shivta, and at around midday, when the heat reached 108 degrees, we decided to stop work. We put blankets over the jeeps to give us some shade while we ate lunch, Liesel’s famous desert salad. While discussing our ideas about how the farm might have worked, completely out of the blue, Liesel said, “Why don’t you stop theorizing? You are experimental scientists, why don’t you test your theories by reconstructing an ancient farm?”As if struck by lightening, none of us had ever thought of that. Our weariness disappeared and we began to think about finding a farm to reconstruct. Looking at the farm we had just surveyed, Kofish declared that it was eminently suitable for such a purpose. He was right. The farm was well preserved with terrace walls and channels, and not too large, with a clearly delineated catchment area. The ruins of a large farmhouse on its upper reaches with an intact cistern and a runoff channel still containing water, particularly attracted Liesel, who planned that we should live in or near the farm and was fascinated by the idea of rebuilding the farmhouse in which she wanted us to live.
KeywordsBeer Sheva Almond Tree Runoff Channel Torrential Flood Runoff Farming
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