Thanks to the Platt fellowship program I was able to go to Tall Jalul this past summer and have a wonderful six weeks participating in the excavations there. This past season not only added to my field experience and overall understanding of archaeology, but it opened doors for personal research opportunities, allowed me to learn more of the technological side of things, and provided me with an unforgettable cultural experience.
Having been to Tall Jalul the previous year, returning felt like coming back to a home away from home. While I slipped easily back into the routine of early mornings, second breakfasts, long days, pottery washing/reading, and supervising squares, this year presented new challenges and learning experiences. I was put in charge of all of the GPS/GIS equipment and their proper use; worked extensively with registering the objects; and supervised a new field.
I was fortunate to have a wonderful team in my area, made up of people from Jordan, Puerto Rico, Sicily, and the US. Because I had to set up the GPS equipment for the whole tall each morning, I had to count on my team to take care of what needed to be done for the first part of each day before I could join them in our field. They were wonderful and I would have never survived those six weeks without all of them. Another point I would make about my team was that I had the wonderful opportunity of having six local Jordanian young men working in my field. Going into this season my Arabic was more or less none existent, yet by the end of my six weeks of working with them, not only could we communicate just fine but we had all grown very close. Several of them invited me over to their homes as a guest on multiple occasions and being able to meet their families, share meals and even dance and celebrate with them made for unforgettable experiences.
Working with the objects and participating in their identification and registration was a valuable experience too. I was able to see the whole process from beginning to end of finding an artifact in the field, its full identification and registration, and its eventual placement at the Department of Antiquities. Because of this, I was able to visit the Department of Antiquities on several occasions and in doing so, many doors were opened for my own personal research projects. I was granted access to materials at the Citadel Museum as well as other locations and made personal contacts within the DoA, all of which was and is invaluable as I pursue my own research.
Like most dig experiences we had our share of wonderful finds, traveling and touring on the weekends, making new friends, and just being caught up in all the joys and stresses of a dig; but for me, Jalul 2011 will always stand out. I own all of this, in no small part, to the ASOR Platt fellowship program. Thank you again for helping me have such a wonderful season.