Dave’s Very First Dig -- By: Esther Livingston

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 22:3 (Summer 2009)
Article: Dave’s Very First Dig
Author: Esther Livingston

Dave’s Very First Dig

Esther Livingston

The following edited excerpt was taken from A History of ABR: Its Founders and Associates (1969-1994), written in 2003 by Esther Livingston, David’s wife. It gives a fascinating glimpse of the event God used to first turn David Livingston’s attention toward archaeology. The full article can be read on the ABR website.

1965—Kang Nung, Korea. We were missionaries on the east coast city of Kang Nung, next to the Sea of Japan. Dave was president (Hak Jang) of Kwan Dong Teh Hak (Eastern Korea Christian College), situated between the steep, rugged mountains in Kang Won Do and the ocean. It was the garden spot of Korea. We loved it! The mission had given him the responsibility to take a Buddhist college and turn it into a Christian college. This was only accomplished by God’s grace, and not without struggles and heartaches. At times we were the only Americans in the area, and Dave would come home from the college and look in the mirror to see if he was Korean or American! But the hardest part was having to send our children, Beth, David and Tommy, to boarding school in Seoul—a sacrifice the mission required of us in order to continue this work.

We loved the students and especially the professors. One favorite was the history professor, Mr. Choi. He spent hours sharing Korean history and taking us on trips around the countryside to see “Old Korea.” We collected books and read about their ancient history, and were fascinated.

One summer afternoon when the children were home on vacation, Dave decided to put up a tether-ball set we had received as a gift from the U.S. While digging the hole for the pole, strange-looking pottery began coming up with each spade of yellow clay.

He stopped, examined it, and finally exclaimed, “Ha! This looks like the pottery that Professor Choi showed us. He said it was VERY old!”

This was a Friday night. On Monday, when he returned to the college, he told Mr. Choi, who was VERY excited and, accompanied by several other professors, came back to our house with Dave to see this hole and the pottery that had come out of it!

It was pouring rain—and they were dressed in their suits, ties and shiny black shoes (typical dress for professors). Dave gathered up all the Korean umbrellas he could find (heavy brown, oiled paper over a frame), and they stood in the muck and dug shovel after shovel of pottery-laden dirt out of the hole. Mr. Choi did, indeed, declare that we had found the oldest pottery ever discovered in Korea—Old Stone Age, 3000 years old!

Well—without going into any more detail, you can imagine what happened next. We began “digging-digging-digging” until after a year’s time we had uncovered a substantial square, 13 by 23...

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