Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Why Archaeology


Students will have opportunities for travel, spending part of a summer or May term traveling in the Middle East or Europe, visiting museums and ancient sites, and observing aspects of the various cultures.

  • Faculty-guided study tours in the Near East will be conducted in conjunction with summer dig projects during the May or summer terms.
  • Students may also elect to participate in other organized programs such as at Jerusalem University College (formerly the Institute for Holy Land Studies) in Jerusalem, or seminars and study tours organized by the Biblical Archaeology Society.
  • Students will also have opportunity for independent travel, and Lycoming will assist students as they plan for a specialized travel project which will meet their academic needs and be financially feasible.
  • Students can obtain academic credit for special study projects relating to any aspect of Near Eastern, Classical or Greco-Roman study done in conjunction with such travel.
  • In cooperation with the Lycoming College Study Abroad Program, students may also arrange to spend a semester of study abroad in the Middle East, Greece, or other places (such as London, where the resources available for Near Eastern study are exceptional).


A vital component to the major is the opportunity for students to participate in archaeological fieldwork at an archaeological excavation in the Near East, conducted under the supervision of leading Near Eastern archaeologists. Participation in a dig provides a unique opportunity for on-site field experience in archaeological methods and analysis. Check out the new photos in the Archaeology showcase and in our new Archaeology program student picture directory!

  • Faculty-led participation in major excavation projects are planned on a regular basis. Dig sites have included Ashkelon (1999), Megiddo (2000), Gezer (2006-2007), Bethsaida, and Tel Rehov in Israel, Idalion in Cyprus (2001-2005), and others. Contact our Dig Coordinator Steven Johnson for more information!
  • Cyprus Summer 2004: In 2001 we had 5 students with professor Steve Johnson digging up a Hellenistic sanctuary and residential/industrial complex with the University of Arizona at Idalion in Cyprus, and a 6th student digging with Davidson College at the Athienou Archaeological Project in Cyprus - on full scholarship from the National Science Foundation, all expenses paid! The dig was so impressed with our hard-working field school students that several were invited back as supervisors for the next year, expenses paid! Click here for some great images! Or ask one of the participants for a first-hand account of the experience! Now it's officially Lycoming's dig, and we had seven signed on to dig in Cyprus in 2003, and another seven Lyco students this past summer (2004) as well, with two more returning in supervisory roles!
  • Students may also elect to participate independently in other digs that better match their interests, such as the Penn State dig at Mendes, Egypt, directed by eminent Egyptologist Dr. Donald Redford. One of our students dug with Redford in Egypt this summer!
  • Local Williamsport archeologist James Bressler (R.P.A.) conducts student internships based on local excavations, giving students on-site personal instruction in excavation techniques, analysis of finds, labeling and cataloguing, and display in the Lycoming County Historical Museum in Williamsport.
  • In May 2004, Lycoming College students participated in a local dig at Canfield Island (Riverfront Park) in Williamsport in cooperation with the Lycoming County Historical Museum and the North-Central Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. Robin Van Auken taught the May Term course as "Introduction to North American Archeology" (HIST 258). In May 2004, she taught "Methods in American Archaeology" (HIST 259), incorporating a series of practical labs and digging locally at the Snyder Site and the Thomas Lightfoote Inn. In 2005-2007 May term her course/field school is working with the Muncy Historical Society on the Pennsylvania Canal.
  • This is an opportunity to get hands-on experience doing archaeological fieldwork in Israel or at home.

Interdisciplinary Study!

Explore the fascinating ancient cultural origins of our civilization while developing diverse skills from a variety of disciplines which will be useful in any field! The Program in Ancient Near Eastern Culture and Archaeology is designed to acquaint the student with the “cradle of Western Civilization” using a combination of course work, travel or study in the Near East, participation in archaeological excavation, and individualized projects. The major sets itself apart with its multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Western cultural origins.

The many dimensions of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern cultures are explored with the contributions of professors in the fields of Anthropology, Art, Economics, Geology, German, Koine Greek, Hebrew, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Religion. Combining the resources of these several contributing departments and faculty creates an extremely rich program of study, as well as providing the flexibility and opportunity within a structured program for a student to pursue diverse interests.

Find out MORE about the possibilities!