EDMOND — It sounds like something out of a movie. Archaeologists discover a tunnel in Israel they believe dates to the time of King David, the 10th century B.C. But the story is not fiction. Five students from Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond spent several months in Jerusalem digging, photographing and documenting it. Jeremy Cocomise said he signed up for the dig because he thought it would be an incredible experience. "To be able to work on a dig site on what could be from King David’s time was the experience of a lifetime,” he said.
New experienceThough they had little experience in archaeology, the students worked with one of Israel’s top archaeologists, Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University. She made international news in 2005 when she unearthed a large wall near the Kidron Valley. It was a completely new experience for Brent Nagtegaal, a senior from Australia. "I knew it was going to be hard work for the first four months. As we got lower, things got more interesting and exciting. We got down to the time Judah fell as we got lower and eventually to an area we believe can be traced to King David’s time.” Locating King David’s palace marks the time of his reign when he captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites as explained in 2 Samuel of the Bible, said Edwin Trebels, a native of the Netherlands. He was there on the second phase of the dig for five months and went back for another 10 months of duty. John Rambo, a junior from Oklahoma, arrived in Israel in August 2007 and stayed seven months. "It was the adventure of a lifetime. We were put on jobs that not everyone got to do,” he said. During the time in Israel he said he had an opportunity to learn Hebrew and experience the culture. Brandon Nice, a junior from Indiana said the tunnel runs north and south and the walls follow a natural cavity in the bedrock. The tunnel measures more than 60 feet, but its ends are blocked with stones. He said he enjoyed the time the group had to visit other places in Israel, as well. "Jerusalem is such a mix of cultures, it was exciting to see them all together,” he said. Victor Vejil, a graduate student from Texas, arrived at the dig in September 2007 and returned in October. He said he stayed to help process the finds. "Looking at the pottery, seeing all the pictures and the special finds and getting direct input was tremendous,” he said. Mazar thinks only 5 percent of the tunnel has been uncovered. Students hope to return to the area.