Uncovering the Ancient Past:
An Exploration of Archaeology, Religion, Politics, and History in Israel.
The Wake Forest University Field School at Tell Keisan, Israel, is a 4-week long archaeological excavation experience combined with a week of religio-political inquiry in Jerusalem, Israel. In the field school portion of the course, students will learn and practice basic archaeological field methods by working on a daily basis (Sunday-Thursday each week) in all areas of the excavation at Tell Keisan (e.g. in-trench excavation, artifact analysis, ceramic analysis). Through evening lectures and field trips (Friday and Saturdays) students will engage in a guided study of the history and religion of ancient Israel, giving special consideration to the experiences of ancient people living in the Tell Keisan region. During the Jerusalem portion of the course, students will have an opportunity to meet and dialogue with stakeholders in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
||Religious beliefs, identity, and practice are intimately connected with all other aspects of human culture and society, like politics, economics, and cultural preferences. This archaeological excavation in Israel provides a real-world laboratory for exploring these connections. Students will have the opportunity to see first-hand how archaeological data are collected and then employed to write the history of the geographic area that produced Judaism and Christianity and has been incredibly important in the Islamic world. Students will then have insight into how these narratives about the religion and history of the ancient world (specifically the rise of the ancient state of Israel and its relationships with its neighbors) are informing modern decision-making on issues such as the Iran nuclear agreement, the building of the security wall between Israel and Palestine, and the rights of access to areas around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.
Participating in a field school provides a unique study abroad experience that accords well with Wake Forest’s commitments to academic rigor, undergraduate student research, a recognition of world citizenship, and living out the pro humanitate motto. Students participating in the field school are not just consumers of experiences and information but research partners who will play a vital role in literally uncovering history each day working on the excavation. They will work side-by-side with students from other universities, volunteers of all ages, and professional archaeologists who hail from prestigious institutions all over the world. They will have the opportunity to practice working on a team with individuals who may have very different backgrounds and life experiences from their own. After the work days, students will eat and relax with other team members and Israeli residents of the kibbutz community where the excavation team will live. In work and play, they will come to see themselves as members of a multi-ethnic world community of scholars and friends, a perspective that will remain with them as they continue their studies on the main campus in Winston-Salem.
For more information, go to the University of Chicago program website http://keisan.uchicago.edu/
||Tell Keisan is a prominent 6-hectare (15-acre) mound that was occupied from the Early Bronze
Age until the Hellenistic period (ca. 3000 to 150 BCE). It has been identified with ancient
Achshaph, which is mentioned in the book of Joshua (Josh. 11:1; 12:20; 19:25), in the Amarna
Letters of the fourteenth century BCE, and in Papyrus Anastasi I, a New Kingdom Egyptian
document of the Ramesside period, although this identification is not certain. In any case,
Tell Keisan was clearly an important Canaanite city of the Bronze Age and it was incorporated
into the Phoenician kingdom of Tyre during the Iron Age. Thus, it will provide important
evidence concerning the development of Phoenician culture and the economic connections
between the Phoenician-dominated coastal region and the kingdom of Israel in the hinterlands to
the east. The Phoenician sites in Israel have been relatively neglected in recent decades even
though Phoenician studies are of great importance for understanding the development of the
Mediterranean economic and political system of the first millennium BCE. The city of Tyre, in
particular, founded colonies around the Mediterranean and pioneered new mechanisms of
maritime trade and exchange that were subsequently adopted by the Greeks. The excavations at
Tell Keisan will help to illuminate these developments, which are relevant to the history of
ancient Israel and its neighbors, and to Mediterranean history as a whole.
||REL 315: Field Research in Biblical Archaeology (3hrs)
Religious beliefs, identity, and practice are intimately connected with all other aspects of human culture and society, like politics, economics, and cultural preferences. This archaeological excavation in Israel provides a real-world laboratory for exploring these connections. Students will have the opportunity to see first-hand how archaeological data are collected and then employed to write the history of the geographic area that produced Judaism and Christianity and has been incredibly important in the Islamic world. Students will then have insight into how these narratives about the religion and history of the ancient world (specifically the rise of the ancient state of Israel and its relationships with its neighbors) are informing modern decision-making on issues such as the Iran nuclear agreement, the building of the security wall between Israel and Palestine, and the rights of access to areas around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.
The field school course will be team taught by Dr. Pace and other scholars on the Tell Keisan excavation staff. Learning opportunities will take place during the excavation days and evening lecture. The Jerusalem portion of the program will be facilitated by Dr. Pace. Students will meet for 3 one-hour lectures per week (12 in total). Students will also receive individual or small-group instruction on a daily basis from Dr. Pace and other scholars on field methods, artifact analysis, and archaeological record keeping.
The 4 weeks of excavation and field trips will prepare them for the final week in Jerusalem, where they will meet and interact with individuals who are working to make pro humanitate a reality for all people living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Students will be encouraged to meet the individuals and hear their perspectives (sometimes in opposition to one another) as fellow world citizens using their knowledge, talents, and compassion to better the lives of others.
For students interested in pursuing further study of the religion, archaeology, and/or history of the ancient Near East, participation in the field school at Tell Keisan will provide them with the credentials and contacts to pursue work at other excavations or to advance in seniority and responsibility in future seasons of excavation at Tell Keisan.
||Dr. Leann Pace
Assistant Professor of Religion
219 Wingate Hall
||Students and Dr. Pace will be staying on a kibbutz near Tell Keisan with accommodations in their tourist guest houses and meals in the kibbutz dining hall (plus field breakfast on site). Students will be housed 3-4 individuals to a room. The rooms all have A/C and TV and a bathroom (toilet, washbasin, and shower).
||The total cost of summer study abroad can be broken down into four categories:
Program Fee - $3,900
- Program Fee – Usually covers room, in-country travel, excursions, some meals and other costs associated with the program.
- Tuition – Students on WFU summer programs pay WFU summer school tuition per credit hour. The 2018 summer rate is $900/per credit hour.
- Airfare (estimated) – Varies per location. Students are responsible for their own airfare unless otherwise noted.
- Personal Expenses (estimated) – These will vary depending on the students' spending habits, cost of living in the destination country, and the number of meals included in the program fee. This may also include visa fees, vaccinations, academic supplies/books and other miscellaneous daily expenses.
Tuition (3hrs) - $2,700
Airfare (estimated) - $1,600
Personal Expenses (estimated) - $600
Estimated total cost - $8,800
||Scholarships are available through the Center for Global Programs and Studies.
Other scholarships include:
||Dr. Leann Pace
Assistant Professor of Religion
219 Wingate Hall
Assistant Director of Study Abroad: Summer and Short Term Programs
Center for Global Programs and Studies