ASOR assistant discovers fun of field archaeology

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My experience in Israel this summer was amazing.  As ASOR’s Assistant to the Executive Director, I only ever hear about the other side of archaeology, excavation in the field, but had not yet experienced it myself.

The dig at Kabri gave me a much better grasp of archaeology in the field, from the procedure of how to physically unearth artifacts to the intellectual element of how conclusions are made about what is found at a dig site.

After my three weeks at Tel Kabri, I can now understand the site plans that I see in the ASOR Archives all the time.  I recognize dig site photographs and they mean a whole lot more now.  I have learned more of the vocabulary of archaeology, although still VERY little Hebrew!

I learned about the tools and the methods.  I kept my own field journal and can relate (if only slightly) to the writers of the field journals that I’ve read working at ASOR.  I saw first-hand how archaeologists conjecture in the field and what they do in their free time at the kibbutz – we watched a lot of movies, such as Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and of course the Zohan!

I feel much more ‘in’ after my excavation experience.  It has made me better at my job as well as a more worldly person.  I had never been to Israel before and was thrilled to have the opportunity.  Who wouldn’t want to visit a place with so much important history?

While I absolutely adored the actual digging process, I had a blast exploring other parts of Israel also.  I got to see Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Akko, and Nahariya.  Each place was a fantastic new experience in which I learned a lot.  I only wish I could have seen more.  I love exploring new places, especially with new friends, of which I made many.

The people I met on this dig were wonderful.  From the dig directors, Eric Cline and Assaf Yasur-Landau to my fellow diggers, not forgetting the supervisors in between, almost everyone was as excited as I was to dig at this site, meet new people, and learn a whole lot.  The group was made up of really passionate people ready to learn as much as they could about Kabri, the people who lived there, and the field of archaeology in general.  Lectures and workshops were well-attended, captivating, and informative.

My dig at Kabri was not only one of the best travel experiences and one of the best educational experiences, but one of the best experiences of my life, period.  I only hope I can go back!

-Britta Abeln

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