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Tel Akko
Up one level
Jake Springer

Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranian Studies & Secondary Education
Minor: Jewish Studies & Education Public Policy
Hometown: Downingtown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about it through my CAMS 100 professor, T. Olson, which I had honors optioned with and was required to write a lengthy essay for. In my essay, I focused on possible locations of habitation for the Sea Peoples, and identified Akko (Acre) as a possible location. He then told me about the opportunity and how he loved it when he previously went on it.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Tel Akko completely pushed me into the pool that is archaeology. I learned an incredible amount about the nuances of this profession, and not only the digging. We discussed and experienced the issues concerning politics, limitations, and documentation within archaeology. Being a mixed city in Israel, Akko provides an incredibly unique perspective concerning the cultural and geopolitical issues within the modern state. We delved into these with a focus on conservation efforts made by the state.

We discussed and experienced the issues concerning politics, limitations, and documentation within archaeology.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It definitely showed me the realities of archaeology, and assured me that this is not my path. Also, the biases and issues concerning historical interpretation of material remains was really brought to light. For example, the term "cultic objects" carries such abstract power. In more practical terms, it provided me with 9 of the 18 required credits for a Jewish Studies minor, which is an amazing amount for a five week span.

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

My immediate goal post-graduation is to teach in Secondary Education. Having understandings and experiences such as those offered at Akko allow me to really push my students into challenging the readings their being provided and critically analyze the findings cited within textbooks and historical documents. Seeing the beginning of the process for interpreting remains really sheds light on the entire process, and it's a consideration I want to share with my students.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

The only way I would recommend this to other students is if their response to the question "Are you interested in archaeology" is some form of a yes. The program spends 7 hours digging and 2 hours pottery washing Monday-Friday, and then more labor on Sundays. This level of commitment demands a parallel amount of interest. Further, the rigid curfews and extremely structured tours leave very little room for independent activities that are common in most other study abroads.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows program led directly to this experience as I would have never honors optioned my CAMS 100 class. Without doing so, I would never have created a relationship with my professor who then pointed me in this direction.

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