Heritage Fellow Dips Into the Past

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By: Stephane Beaulieu, Andrews University, 2012 Heritage Fellow

My desire to experience an archaeological excavation has been made a reality, thanks to the generous ASOR Heritage Fellowship that I received for 2012. This scholarship helped fund an opportunity to spend three weeks in Jordan at Tall Jalul, near Madaba, where teams from Andrews University have been excavating for the past 20 years. This is the first time that I am participating in an archaeological dig, and it has given me the opportunity to learn what archaeologists do in the field. Being a doctoral student in the area of Old Testament exegesis, participating in archaeology has broadened my understanding of the biblical text.

Our current project here at Tall Jalul is to unearth perhaps the biggest pool to this point in Jordan. My task is to dig and remove the dirt from one particular square, with the hope of finding more of the wall of the pool. Our day at the Tall begins at four o’clock in the morning and goes until twelve thirty in the afternoon. After the noon meal, we wash the pottery and read it for dating. During the weekends, we are touring Jordan and learning about other archaeological sites. My time at Tall Jalul is also exposing me to a variety of cultures, and I am making new friends from Jordan, the United States, Puerto Rico, Philippines, and Canada.

As I expand my knowledge of archaeology, I am becoming more aware of the treasures that are described in archaeological textbooks and the arduous process that it takes to find them. While archaeology is not my area of expertise, I will leave Tall Jalul with a better appreciation for archaeologists and greater knowledge for teaching introductory courses in this area in the near future.

The ASOR Heritage Fellowship has enabled me to develop a new understanding of what it means to be a good archaeologist. I am grateful for the donor support that has allowed me to learn new skills related to my academic field.


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