By: Heather Pillette, Asbury Seminary, 2012 Heritage Fellow
It was a huge honor and great blessing to be one of the recipients of the Heritage Fellowship last year. I journeyed to the beautiful northern Beth-Shean Valley of Israel to participate in the final dig of a beloved tel: Tel Rehov. It was an incredible journey and experience, one which would not have been possible without the Heritage Fellowship.
Tel Rehov was my first on-site experience in the field of archeology, and as a result I know it will not be my last! Rehov has yielded great finds in its seasons of excavation: pottery vessels, seals, inscriptions, figurines and cult stands, the famous apiary, and Carbon 14 data from burnt grain. This site has significantly contributed to many ongoing conversations and debates. Finds like these, and experiences like mine, would not be possible without scholarships such as the Heritage Fellowship.
I am a Master’s student pursuing two different degrees with the career goal of entering a PhD program for Old Testament Theology. Funding for experiences and projects such as archaeology is severely limited at my institution. I cannot explain in words how exciting and useful this archaeology experience was for me in encountering the biblical texts. It is definitely an experience that fueled my passion for the Old Testament and its world as well as fostered a deeper understanding of the ANE culture.
Travel costs for such experiences are typically the greatest deterrent. The Heritage Fellowship helped cover the flight cost for my trip, which enabled me to learn a great deal and allowed greater context to the books I had read about archaeology fieldwork.
We had a small group working on Rehov’s official last season. Since we were small in number, we all received valuable experience in our squares as well as time with esteemed archaeologists Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen. It is one matter to read a book and understand levels of strata and how data is interpreted; and another matter entirely when the words read fall off the page in the form of dirt, sand, and sweat. The experience we received “dug” several levels deeper as both Amihai and Nava poured their knowledge and time into our group during the weeks we spent with them. Being near people with such understanding, passion, and love for teaching others changes you- or at least, it did me. The entire experience made a lasting impact on my head and heart, and has armed me with greater knowledge and a thirst for more. The time I spent digging, washing pottery, and asking questions during lectures will serve me far into my future as a current student and potential future teacher.
So- a huge thank you goes out to all who have given of their time, talents, and gifts to allow students like me to pursue and reach dreams. You may never know how deeply you are appreciated and thought of. Thank you also to all who are interested in greater knowledge and believe in the work of these fields. Without you, we could not “do” or “discover”.
You can read Heather’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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