Tel Akko TOTAL Archaeology Project
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Logan Paiste

Major: CAMS, Jewish Studies
Minor: Chinese, Greek, Hebrew
Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Tel Akko TOTAL Archaeology Project through my professor, Dr. Ann Killebrew. She is the co-director of the project. I had taken an embedded spring semester course with her called “A Study Tour of the Land of Israel” and visited the site before I registered for the summer program. Whether a student takes a class with her at the University Park campus or goes abroad on the spring semester study tour, Dr. Killebrew will announce the TOTAL Archaeology program to her students.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The program provides many options for the students. In addition to excavating my square, I dabbled in archaeometallurgy, which is the study of microscopic metal samples from excavated soil, as well as archaeobotany, which is the study of seeds from soil samples. I also utilized a GIS (Geographic Information System) in order to record the measurements of the square and plot the exact coordinates of where the students discovered important artifacts. Additionally, I dug survey pits outside of the archaeological dig site in order to determine how the land was used directly outside of Tel Akko. I even worked alongside leading specialists who study pottery shards in order to learn how to date and label pottery. On top of this, other students were able to study archaeozoology, which is the study of bone samples, and outreach to the local community of Akko to inform them about the project and to hear their thoughts about preserving the city of Akko.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I was able to receive nine credits of 400-level courses towards my Jewish Studies major. Through the independent study option, which is an additional ten days of study after the dig season is finished, I lived in the dormitory at the University of Haifa and I was able to envision myself as a student studying there. I discovered that I am interested in learning Hebrew and Arabic at a conversational level. I am greatly considering attending a language immersion program through an Israeli university in order to learn Hebrew and Arabic.

I think that the immersion within the Israeli culture plus the various options available for the students enables each person to create their own unique educational program.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to be a linguist or a translator of Ancient Near Eastern languages and texts. Through the TOTAL Archaeology program, I learned about the precision in the documentation of the excavation and preservation processes which occur in order to recover and utilize artifacts such as the text fragments which I intend to study. I also experienced the latest technology being put into use. Especially for linguistics, I am very interested in using software which I learned about through the TOTAL Archaeology program. One example is MAXQDA (MAX Qualitative Data Analysis) which analyzes words and sentences and categorizes them based on what the researcher is interested in studying. Additionally, ArcGIS (Arc Geographic Information System) can be used to create maps which visually demonstrate the change of language development across a region as well as across time.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I certainly recommend this program for all students studying any major. I think that the immersion within the Israeli culture plus the various options available for the students enables each person to create their own unique educational program. The reason why the program is called TOTAL Archaeology is because archaeology is more than just excavating soil; it encompasses everything which we know about the past.

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