From Russell Gentry:
This is my final week at the ’09 Dhiban Excavation Project. It’s been a great experience, and I’m sorry to have to abandon ship mid-journey. I’ve learned a lot about archaeology, Jordan, and limited-water-hygiene. I’m grateful that the directors and experienced crew members have been so willing to help teach me the ins and outs of excavation. I have participated in two previous field experiences but the first one was light on the archaeological education and the second was hardly a proper dig at all. Additionally, as a history major and anthropology minor, I have spent lots of class time working with published archaeological evidence, but little time studying actual field methodology. The Dhiban project has been a great place to learn proper field techniques because of its integration of many different types of field procedures, and the fact that the undergraduates change “field roles” weekly. In my four weeks on the project, I’ve been able to get hands-on experience with site-grid setup using a total station, surveying and data collection (in order to select sounding areas), archaeological floatation, and geology. This is, of course, in addition to digging in the trenches, which I’ve been able to help out with as well. I have gained valuable knowledge about the processes that are involved in selecting sites, setting up sites for excavation, and the various ways in which myriad forms of data are collected and brought together to study the past. I look forward to seeing how the project develops and will miss my new friends, teachers, and the Tell in the days to come.