As someone who has spent a large portion of their adult life studying the intricacies of the Hebrew Bible narrative, subscribing to Biblical Archaeology Review, and learning ancient dead languages like Biblical Hebrew, getting the opportunity to experience my studies tangibly in their natural habitat of Israel through an archaeological dig was always a dream. I had considered funding a dig on my own but after an expensive college and in the midst of a master’s program there was no choice but to devote my summers to the hard work of money making. However since I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from ASOR I was able to justify spending my summer fulfilling my dream of learning about archaeology and exploring my studies firsthand in Israel.
This experience opened my eyes to a whole world below the one I currently treaded and taught me so much more than I could have ever learned from an article. I was thrown head first into the bright and early lifestyle of an archaeologist with 5 am wake up calls, tell breakfasts, portapotties, and lots of creepy crawlers. I also learned tell terminology, proper digging and sifting techniques, and how to collect and record artifacts. But most importantly I got to be a living part of scholarship and see how the archaeological discoveries I had spent so much time reading about were uncovered. And on top of the excellent lectures from numerous qualified professors that I partook in each evening after a hard day at the tell, the experience of the Tel Akko dig was intensified by the touring of Akko and Israel on the weekends. In town we saw the remains of Crusader, Ottoman, and British Mandate Akko, while learning about the walls, tunnels, compounds, prison, places of worship (mosques, churches, and Bahai shrines), bazaars, bathhouses and their restoration processes in the Old City. Outside of Akko we went to Jerusalem, Sepphoris, the Sea of Galilee (including Capernaum, Kursi, and the Jordan River), Caesarea, the Carmel Caves, and Haifa (Hecht’s Museum and the Bahai Gardens). Overall, the entirety of these experiences was over and above any expectations that I had for my summer archaeological dig. I learned about the complexities of archaeology but more importantly I learned about myself now having a better aim for my future career pursuits. I am so thankful for this experience and for the scholarship that made it possible for me to spend my summer doing something that gave me meaning and direction.
Read Kristen’s previous post here.
As you know, ASOR’s mission is to support archaeology in the Near East, and now we have an exciting opportunity for you to support students of archaeology directly! Every year ASOR gives out around 30 Platt and Heritage Fellowships to deserving students to defray the costs of excavating in the Near East. Thanks to last year’s March Fellowship Madness drive we gave out a total of 42 scholarships and we are trying to beat that number this year.
Our goal is to raise $10,000, and if we succeed, two generous donors will give funding for four additional fellowships, meaning a total of 14 additional students will get funding this year! Help us seize this opportunity to send more students into the field! Donate now!
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