Huqoq functions not only as an excavation project but also as a field school. Each year we (students) flock to dig sites all over the world in a search for hands-on experience in the field of archaeology. This year I was drawn to Huqoq based on my school’s affiliation therewith as well as the site’s incredible finds and potential research opportunities. As a student at the dig, I have been far from disappointed! But how does our experience differ from, say, a staff member, or someone participating in the dig without receiving credit? It’s all about the documentation, as well as making every step of the process an opportunity for learning.
By documentation I’m referring to the detailed field notebooks we’re required to keep, in order to show progressive understanding and to help keep track of all aspects of our dig experience. On a typical day, I’ll write down a bunch of points in my notes: goals for that day, how we went about reaching them, new terms I learned, and statistics like elevations and identifying numbers for finds and areas. Also, it’s important to always be drawing diagrams of the areas we’re excavating as to become more familiar with them and be able to see major changes as they occur.
We learn an incredible amount during the work day at the site, as our supervisors show us methods, answer questions and guide us to make inferences about finds. A large part of a field school, however, is the lectures and discussions that occur at other parts of the day. So far at Huqoq we’ve learned loads from specialists on staff at our site: from numismatics (coins) to zooarchaeology (bones), and of course all things mosaic! It’s a perfect balance with the work we do in the field.
When I first started studying archaeology, I was told that you learn almost as much in one season of a field school as you do in years of classes. Through getting my hands dirty at Huqoq, this has been proven a million times correct. I’m looking forward to bringing my notebook, my trowel, and all of the skills I’ve gained in the field back home as a supplement to my studies!
Emma Kerr is a junior at the University of Toronto majoring in Archaeology with a minor in GIS.