Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Archaeology for the Kids

The Jerusalem Post reports on an excavation near the coast south of Haifa where thousands of teenagers are taught the value of archaeology each year.

The Tel Esur dig is the largest communal excavation in the country, [Dr. Shay] Bar said.

“It’s a project of the community, for the community, for the education of the children of this community,” Bar said last week at the dig’s makeshift headquarters. He said that different skills involved in archaeology – from the meticulous digging required to unearth artifacts to careful record keeping – allow the teenagers to discover their talents.

“Here they open like a flower,” he said. “They are flourishing.”

On a typical day in Tel Esur, 150 children from four different schools work at different areas at the dig site, supervised by 20 staff members, volunteers and the students’ teachers.

The teenagers don’t necessarily mix with students from other schools, in order to simplify the logistics, Bar said. Still, students from Arab and Jewish schools “can work five meters from each other” on a common project under the supervision of researchers from a variety of backgrounds, he said.

At points throughout the day, students take a break from digging to hear short educational lessons about archaeology. Instead of discussions about who recently owned the land, the archaeologists attempt to instill an appreciation for the craft of the research.

“They have to understand the value of history before they understand the relationship to different ethnicities that existed here,” said Netanel Petrushka, one of the archaeologists.

The full story is here.

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