The Field School

Now its time to get down to the business of archaeology.  That's why we are all coming to Ashkelon, right?  To hold history in our hands.

Volunteers and staff clean up Grid 51 at the start of the 2013 field season

Volunteers and staff clean up Grid 51 at the start of the 2013 field season

Curious about an archaeological field school and what it entails?  Simply put, its six weeks of the most intensive "learn by doing" program imaginable.  Six days a week volunteers get hands-on experience as they learn about archaeological method and theory.  The most important component is daily excavation -- it is very important to make it to the field each and every day -- when the bulk of instruction takes place.  Work in the field is supplemented by an evening lecture series by Ashkelon staff members as well as visiting scholars.  Students enrolled in one of the affiliated summer school programs are required to attend the lectures.  Those volunteers not enrolled are also encouraged to attend if at all interested in the history and archaeology of Ashkelon and the wider Near East.

One of the highlights of the first week is a day long program of seminars which introduces volunteers to various aspects of the excavation's work.  There are tours of the site and sessions on everything from XRF, GIS and botanicals, to zooarchaeology and microarchaeology.  It's a great opportunity to learn about the technologies used on site.  We don't spend all our time in the dirt.

Adam Aja leads a session on XRF on Seminar Day.

Adam Aja leads a session on XRF on Seminar Day.

The expedition sponsors several field trips each summer which introduce volunteers to places such as Jerusalem and the Dead Sea as well as important archaeological sites including Masada and other nearby excavations.  These trips are included in the volunteer fee and are lead by staff members.

The goal of the field school is that every volunteer, whether enrolled in a summer school program or not, will understand the fundamentals of archaeology by the end of the season. Students enrolled in summer school will have additional requirements which they will learn about from their instructors.  Everyone, however, should be full trained and able to take their skills to other excavations or back to the classroom.

For some, this will be the initial preparation for a career in the field of archaeology.  For the majority, this will be an amazing summer experience that provides you with good stories and even better memories.  Whatever brings you to Ashkelon, welcome.