Neal Bierling

SCHOLAR—AND SNAKECHARMER? At the Roman fort of Yotvata in the far south of Israel, excavation codirector Jodi Magness comes to grips with a serpentine discovery. Last summer—her first season at the site—Magness was clearing out a section from an old excavation when she noticed the snake slithering through her trench. “I love snakes, but I wouldn’t pick up one that’s poisonous,” she says. Volunteers in desert areas can expect to come across the occasional snake, scorpion or other creepy-crawly. (The silver lining: There aren’t as many bugs as in wetter areas.) Of the photo, Magness jokes, “I thought I’d get some pictures to scare my students into submission.”