Lycoming College archaeology program holds summer dig report

Lycoming College archaeology program holds summer dig report

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Lycoming College archaeology students and faculty gathered for the annual Archaeological Summer Dig and Internship Report on Friday, Sept. 7. The event included individual and group presentations.

Lycoming students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on dig experiences. In addition to the digs themselves, students also attend lectures, wash pottery, analyze and record findings, tour the regions and learn more about archaeological theories and methodology. Most offer course credit and fulfill the capstone requirement for the archaeology major.

The College's archaeology program participates in two main dig sites: Idalion, Cyprus, and Tel Gezer, Israel. Dr. Pamela Gaber, professor of archaeology and Judaic studies, directs the Idalion excavation, which is offered each summer. Students taking part this year included Sam Clarke, Matianna Gallegos, Harry Kallet, Monica Martinez, Chelsea Reimer, David Shepard, Stephanie Collado, Lydia Dwyer, Danielle Grega, Taylor Kendra, Jacob Kupperman, Joe Mayer, Isaiah Spires, Amy Vaughn and Andrew Wright.

Lycoming participates as a consortium school in the Tel Gezer Project, which is directed by Dr. Steve Ortiz of Southwestern Biblical Theological Seminary and Dr. Sam Wolff of the Israeli Antiquities Authority. During summer 2011, Rebecca Havers, Rebecca Haygood, Lucas Reckling, Kirstin Rose, Samantha Sinnott and Annie Wegman participated. The project is offered every other summer; the next excavation will be in 2013.

"Gezer gave me the opportunity to explore my major more in depth and a unique, hands-on experience, which allowed me to put my knowledge and skills to the test," Wegman said."I learned what it takes to become an archaeologist, and how laborious the job can sometimes be. But the experiences, adventures and outcomes are so worth it. You can read about ancient history - which is a huge part of being an archaeologist - but when you are actually digging, you see how those people lived, the very pots and daily objects they used, and the very soil from that time period. That is where history comes to life and why I love archaeology."

Often, students who volunteer at these two dig sites return as supervisors. Lycoming alumni who have recently served as staff include Lesley Haines, Marcella Barbosa, Kirstin Rose and Matthew Martin.

The Ault Site in Loyalsock, Pa., offers yet another dig opportunity for Lycoming students. Robin VanAuken, instructor of American archaeology, directs this local Native American site. Recent participants included Stephanie Bowen, Josh Chamberlin, Marcus Coleman, Allyson Earl, Shana Eichenberg, Jacob Kupperman, Mark McKenney, Michelle Neifert, Zach Rentschler, Aaron Rubin, Amber Seibel, Kristin Whitehead and Holly Worth.

Lycoming students are also encouraged to explore other opportunities. Rubin studied Arabic at STARTALK, an intense foreign languages program. Lyric Murray-Walker originally traveled to Egypt for a dig but instead did a study tour with world-renowned scholar and Egyptologist Dr. Donald B. Redford.

Students also participated in several other dig sites: Lauren Reitnouer, Belize; Julia Gallo, Romania; Julie Polcrack, England; Cory Keena, Sweden Viking settlement; Rebecca Hook, Maine; and Zach Rentschler, Colorado. Rachel Rogers and Stephanie Bowen interned at museums in Edgewater, Md., and Pennsburg, Pa., respectively.

At the event, Cori Mancuso shared her experience with the Interfaith Peace-Builders trip to Israel, where she witnessed the cultural and political differences between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., the College fosters academic rigor, a supportive faculty and successful outcomes. It offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 educational institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812, Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.

  • Summer Dig Collage

    Summer Dig Collage

  • Group photo in Gezer

    Group photo in Gezer

  • Wegman at dig

    Wegman at dig