ASOR Fellowship: The Beginning of a Grand Adventure

By: Nate Ramsayer, M.A. student in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East at Brandeis University, 2012 Heritage Fellow

Nate at the Giza Pyramids before the dig in Israel, living the dream.

My participation in fieldwork was entirely predicated upon receiving a Heritage Fellowship; it allowed me to buy a plane ticket to the Middle East. Had I not been granted an award, you’d find a much grumpier, much more naïve Hebrew Bible student still sitting at Logan Airport in Boston, probably with a cup asking for change, trying to figure how in the heck he’s gonna make it overseas in time for next summer’s season!

The financial help ASOR provides students is incalculable in its impact. Continue reading

Changing perceptions through fieldwork

Excavating a Middle Islamic barrel-vaulted room

By: Nicholas Ames, 2012 Platt Fellow

The first thing that struck me once the post-excavation haze wore off a few weeks after my return to the United States, was the sudden realization of the vast difference between “education” and “edification.” The classroom’s education provides the theoretical framework with which to situate my perception of the world, but through the context of labor, the act of archaeology provides an ephemeral emic understanding of the past, becoming a contextualized reification of the course-based educational experience. And with memories of the field still fresh in my mind, I found I was no longer content to confine my learning to a lecture hall listening to someone pontificate about the past. What I wanted was to go out and uncover it. Continue reading

The Platt Fellowship’s Impact

By: Andrew LoPinto, 2012 Platt Fellow

Being selected to receive the ASOR Platt Excavation Fellowship has profoundly impacted me and my career in numerous ways.  On a practical level, the support of the Platt Excavation Fellowship made it possible for me to join the staff of the Pennsylvania State University expedition to Mendes for the 2012 season by covering the cost of my airfare to Egypt.  For many students who have chosen to work in Egypt, the cost of airfare can limit or entirely exclude individuals from participation in field work.  When combined, airfare, room and board, ground transit, baggage fees, and other miscellaneous expenses to undertake field work in Egypt can cost thousands of dollars.  Mitigating even one of those factors can take a potential field season from being cost-prohibitive, to being possible.  Continue reading

The Platt Fellowship Changed My Life

By: Caroline Carter, 2012 Platt Fellow

In the summer of 2011, I attended my first archaeological excavation during the opening season of the Huqoq Excavation Project in Huqoq, Israel under the direction of Professor Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Israel Antiquities Authority. I had not planned on returning in 2012, due to finances, nevertheless I reapplied for the project as well as a few fellowships just to see what would happen.

A month later, I received the email from ASOR notifying me that I was a recipient of the 2012 Platt Fellowship to attend my second season at Huqoq. It is a moment that I will never forget- Continue reading

Finally underway at Zincirli Höyük, Turkey!

J SkornikBy: Jordan Skornik, University of Chicago Divinity School

After a later-than-usual start due to Ramadan, the 7th season of the Neubauer Expedition to Zincirli (ancient Sam’al), an archaeological project of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, began in earnest. Digging officially commenced at dawn on Saturday, August 25, and with only one week under our belts, there was already much to be excited about. Thanks to the Heritage Fellowship, I was able to experience it firsthand. Continue reading

Wrapping up at Tall al-Umayri

By: Amanda Hopkins, 2012 Heritage Fellow
Read Amanda’s earlier posts here (1), here (2), and here (3).

A Hopkins 6

Amanda and other excavators in the cave entrance

Week Four and the end of this year’s dig:

As we continue our digging something very exciting happens- a white, hollow and crumbly residue is found clinging to the chisel marks. This is definitely plaster! The chiseling and plaster can be found on the ceiling and sides of the cave. Further chiseling is also found when looking at the natural dissolution features that trail off from the SE and Southern quadrants of the cave. One can clearly see how the natural fissures in the rock have been humanly manipulated into channels that bend upward and toward the surface of the earth. All this plaster and chiseling suggest that the cave had been manipulated into a cistern. Continue reading

Summer discoveries at Khirbet Summeily

T RaymondBy: Tiffany Raymond, 2012 Heritage Fellow

This summer I was able to take part in the excavations at Khirbet Summeily due to the fact that ASOR awarded me a Heritage Fellowship, and I am very grateful to them for this. Khirbet Summeily is an Iron Age village site on the edge of the Negev Desert, and is believed to be a border site between ancient Philistia and Judah. The site is being excavated in association with the Tel-Hesi Joint Archaeological Project, and is directed by James. W. Hardin and Jeffery A. Blake. Typical artifacts at the site are loom weights, spindle whorls, mudbricks, beads, and pottery galore! Some of the rarer artifacts that we found were scarabs with Egyptian hieroglyphics, and figurines. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow’s Experience at Tel Akko

S Edwards By: Shane Edwards, Claremont Graduate University, 2012 Heritage Fellow

I just returned home from a wonderful experience on an archaeological excavation thanks to an ASOR Fellowship. The monies helped fund the four weeks I spent at the Akko tel located near the old city of Akko, Israel. This is my first opportunity to participate on a dig and it has given me a perspective that will aid with my religious studies research. Continue reading

Scooping Frogs and Excavating Statues in Turkey

By: Emily Coate, 2012 Heritage Fellow

The generosity of those behind the ASOR Heritage Fellowship afforded me my first opportunity to dig at a Near Eastern site. I participated in the excavations at Tell Tayinat, a settlement occupied during the Early Bronze and Iron Ages located in southern Turkey near the Syrian border. You may have heard the name in the news recently, owing to the discovery of a couple impressive statues this season. Particularly noteworthy is the head and torso of King Suppiluliuma, with a Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription across his back. Continue reading

Excavating Under the Egyptian Sun

A LoPintoBy: Andrew LoPinto, 2012 Platt Fellow

After a long and tiring journey, which consisted of a flight from Chicago to New York, a nine-hour layover in New York, a flight from New York to Frankfurt, Germany, a three hour layover in Frankfurt, a flight from Frankfurt to Cairo, an over-night stay in Cairo (the flight got in rather late), and a three hour drive…we finally arrived at Mendes!  Do not get me wrong, the flights were smooth and the company of the other expedition members made the trip much more tolerable than had I been alone, but in total, I was awake and on the move from 8:00am Monday morning until 8:00pm Tuesday night, and that does not include the over-night in Cairo nor the drive to Mendes. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow Ground Truthing on Cyprus

By: Micaela Carignano, 2012 Heritage Fellow

This summer, thanks to an ASOR Heritage Fellowship, I traveled to Cyprus to participate in the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project (KAMBE).  The project, led by Sturt Manning of Cornell University and Kevin Fisher from the University of Arkansas, focuses on several Late Bronze Age sites in southern Cyprus.  Most of the research has involved the use of geophysical techniques to survey the landscapes surrounding previously excavated LBA sites. Continue reading

History (and Microdebris) Uncovered at Dhiban

Excavating a Middle Islamic barrel-vaulted room

By: Nicholas Ames, 2012 Platt Fellow

Waking up at 4:00am is difficult no matter where you are in the world. But somehow, waking up in Jordan for the first time made it just a little bit easier.

Breakfast at 4:30am and troweling by 6:00am, it is a schedule regimented by environmental and social concerns of labouring outdoors in a culturally foreign country – which is exactly what field archaeology is. Despite this early schedule, my overall experience excavating with the Dhiban Excavation and Development Project (DEDP) left me craving for much more – more time spent in the field as well as need for a much greater understanding of the regional and methodological history of archaeology and excavation in the Near East. Continue reading

Looking for Size 20 Sandals at Gath

By: Nate Ramsayer, 2012 Heritage Fellow

As a graduate student of Hebrew Bible, my focus has been steeped in literary studies and ancient languages; it is only this past year that I had the opportunity to formally study archaeology. I’ve found myself enchanted by various aspects of material culture study, yet simultaneously frustrated with so many questions of the ins and outs of the excavation process. Finally I said “NO MORE!” and took up the spade in an attempt to supplement my studies with firsthand knowledge of archaeology and its domain. I chose to dig this summer at Tell es-Safi, and thanks in part to ASOR’s Heritage Fellowship, my dream turned into a reality! Continue reading

Biblical Studies Student Experiences Archaeology at Khirbet Qeiyafa

By: Monica Rey, 2012 Heritage Fellow

This summer the ASOR 2012 Heritage Fellowship gave me the exciting opportunity of spending a few weeks entrenched in the work of my academic “neighbors” in the field of archaeology. As a biblical studies student, Carol Meyers, Ann E. Killebrew, and other scholars have impacted me in their ability to deliberately “bridge” the gap between Bible an archaeology in their work. Consequently, I am able to walk away from this archaeological excavation with a much richer and fuller perspective on the engagement of these disciplines (Bible and archaeology) now from an experiential perspective. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow’s Array of Experiences at Tel Kedesh

By: Caitlin C. Clerkin, 2012 Heritage FellowC Clerkin

Thanks to ASOR’s generosity via the Heritage Fellowship, I was able to participate this summer in my second season of fieldwork at Tel Kedesh, in Israel’s beautiful Upper Galilee.  This final season of excavation at Kedesh’s Persian-Hellenistic Administrative Building saw my first season ever as a trench supervisor—an unexpected “battlefield promotion” and an amazing experience. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow experiences first dig in picturesque Cappadocia

I am helping clean what seemed a possible differentiation in the color of a plastered mud-brick wall.

By: Mehrnoush Soroush, 2012 Heritage Fellow

I received the Heritage Fellowship to participate in my first fieldwork at the site of Kınık Höyük, in Cappadocia. Kınık Höyük is close to the small city of Altunhisar, and Niğde is the closest real town where we spent several free Saturday afternoons. I cannot think of a better way to have spent this scholarship. To begin with, our höyük (mound) is located in such a picturesque landscape. My early morning trips to the site and my afternoon trips back to the dig house were like short dreams in a wonderland: endless combinations of horizontal lines of golden grain fields and orchards and vertical lines of poplars which constantly sway in the cool mountain breeze. All of these are embroidered on a blend of clear blue sky and pinkish gray mountains that infinitely reflect one another. Our höyük is the most prominent feature, at least in my eyes, in this landscape: a miraculously intact golden cup, set up-side down amidst orchards and fields and visible from almost everywhere, including our dig house in the village of Yeşil Yurt. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow on Excavating Ramses II Gateway

By: Amy Karoll, 2012 Heritage Fellow

This is the second year that I have excavated with the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project in Tel Aviv-Yafo.  With the help of the Heritage scholarship, I was able to help fund this second year here.  I am a staff member, and oversaw excavations in the LBA Egyptian gateways in Area A. Continue reading

Heritage Fellow Reports Discoveries at Marj Rabba

By: Brittany Jackson, 2012 Heritage Fellow

Season Four at Marj Rabba, Israel, has been one of our most successful, thanks to funding from ASOR. The Marj Rabba excavations, led by Dr. Yorke Rowan (University of Chicago) and Dr. Morag Kersel (DePaul University), are very important for exploring the virtually unexplored lifeways and material culture of the Galilee during the Chalcolithic (c. 4500-3500 BC). As a recipient of the Heritage Fellowship, my participation has been vital to training new excavators (of whom we had almost 20 this year!). As part of my work, I have led excavations in one of our areas, where we have had many very exciting and promising finds this season.

During the 2011 season at Marj Rabba, the area I supervise was started by opening two five meter by five meter excavation units. We were hoping to better understand and explain the relationship between two previously excavated areas of the site, which appeared to have at least two different building phases. The season proved very rewarding, as excavators uncovered at least five stone wall remnants, three of which were seemingly large, well preserved, and apparently contemporaneous, and appeared to form the majority of a possible storage room.

This season, we decided to expand excavations by adding an additional five meter by five meter excavation square to the area, and, lo, we found the final, closing wall to the well preserved room, as well as a series of other very exciting finds. Excavators and students have uncovered multiple beads of various materials, as well as bone tools and jewelry, and obsidian, which was imported from Turkey.

We still have about two weeks until the end of our 2012 excavation season, and staff, interns, and students are all working hard to make sure this is the best season yet! The storage room in my area is still being excavated, and it appears that our stone-built walls are better preserved and larger than any of us could have hoped. Thanks again to ASOR, for supporting my participation in Marj Rabba’s search for the prehistory of the Galilee!

 

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Platt Fellow’s Close Encounter with a Camel


By: Patrick Clark, 2012 Platt Fellow

This summer I had the privilege of receiving the Platt Fellowship.  This generous grant enabled me to join Dr. Andrew M. Smith II for a second incredible field season at Bir Madhkur.  In my photo I am sitting on a boulder in a wadi, recording a Bedouin camp built on a Roman-era wadi terrace.  My friend, and our guide, Musa yells “Shoof, Ghadeer (my Bedouin name)!”  I look up. A camel is walking up to me.  Continue reading

Fellowship Provides Archaeological Experience for Religious Studies Student

By: Shane Edwards, Claremont Graduate University, 2012 Heritage Fellow

I just returned home from a wonderful experience on an archaeological excavation thanks to an ASOR Fellowship. The monies helped fund the four weeks I spent at the Akko tel located near the old city of Akko, Israel. This is my first opportunity to participate on a dig and it has given me a perspective that will aid with my religious studies research.

Continue reading