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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 25, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Faculty of Arts

Update of Jordan 2012 Dig

Jun 6/12

Submitted by Mary Crawford, Archaeology & Classical Studies Major

The Wadi ath-Thamad project is an opportunity for students to get hands on experience in the field and earn a credit towards their degree. They travel to Madaba, Jordan to participate in a dig where fellow senior students will teach them what to look for, how to draw top plans and sections and registering all the finds.  I am currently in Jordan on the trip and I'm having an incredible learning and growing experience.  I am a first year Honours Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology student and I was highly encouraged to participate right away so that all the theory and methods I would learn in class would make more sense and to see if this is really what I wanted to do in life.

We wake up at 4:00am every morning to the Call to Prayer echoing throughout the city and we arrive at the site around 5:30am.  We dig till noon and come back to the hotel for lunch and rest time till 4:00pm and then we are back to work washing pottery, registering objects or photographing all the artefacts.  After dinner we document everything done that day at the site.  It is very important that everything is recorded because when you are excavating you are destroying the site.  By keeping a good record, people in future can go back and see all that was done even though there might be nothing left.

Occasionally during the week, we will have lectures on places we will be visiting during the coming weekend, about things found in past dig seasons at the site or about ancient cults and temples in the surrounding area.  On weekends we have organized day trips on Saturdays to nearby archaeological sites such as Jerash, Amman, Petra and many more.  Sundays are our free days but normally we all plan trips to other places we want to see such as the Dead Sea or a hike in the waterfalls of Wadi-Mujib.  Overall the entire trip is an adventure that keeps you working hard, learning new things, and your sides sore from laughing.  You become a family with the team and you support one another through the entire trip.  Even if you aren't an archaeology student, the excursion is still an education and an amazing experience.  Before leaving, family and friends were very concerned about my travelling to the Middle East but this has become almost a second home.  The people here are so welcoming and kind and the culture is very interesting. While walking down the street of shops, you will be invited in for tea that you simply can't refuse since it is so delicious.  At the end of the day, when your body aches from hard work and your eyes are heavy from a long day, you are so proud that you are part of an incredible project, you are uncovering history and part of a better understanding of the ancient world.  Nothing is more rewarding than that.

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