Assistant professor Kate Birney (pictured in foreground wearing a blue shirt and tan hat) and Joy Feinberg ’19 (pictured in back with a long-sleeve shirt) work to unearth skeletons and artifacts buried in a Philistine cemetery.
Two Wesleyan students, one recent alumna and a faculty member contributed to a groundbreaking discovery of the first Philistine cemetery, a crowning achievement of more than 30 years of excavation in Ashkelon, Israel. Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the origin of the Philistines, and the discovery of the cemetery is poised to offer the key to this mystery. Findings from the cemetery, dated to the 11th–8th centuries BCE, may well support the claim – long inferred and recorded in the Bible – that the Philistines were migrants to the shores of ancient Israel who arrived from lands to the West around the 12th century BCE.
Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of art history, is the assistant director of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon and has been bringing Wesleyan students to the site since 2011 to participate in the research and excavation. The 3,000-year-old site, located in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, offers clues to the Philistines’ way of life. Little is known about their origins.
Sarah McCully ’16 has worked for the Leon Levy Expedition in Ashkelon for three years.
This summer, Joy Feinberg ’19, Jaimie Marvin ’19 and Sarah McCully ’16 worked on the Philistine cemetery. McCully ’16, who came to Ashkelon with Birney years ago, is now a staff member for the Leon Levy Expedition. In addition, Sam Ingbar ’16, Hannah Thompson ’17, Maria Ma ’17 and Sabrina Rueber ’18 are also in Ashkelon this summer working on the excavation of a 7th century merchants’ neighborhood.
Read more →
In an episode of WNPR’s “Where We Live,” Sarah Croucher, assistant professor anthropology, assistant professor archeology, discusses the upcoming dig at Beman Triangle, a site in Middletown, Conn. that was the center of the city’s African American community in the 19th and early 20th century.
Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant, pictured here with Christi Richardson '10, has worked at Wesleyan more than 24 years. She manages the budgets for Classical Studies and English Departments and for the Archaeology and Medieval Studies programs.
Q: Debbie, you’re the administrative assistant for the Archeology Program, Medieval Studies Program and the Classical Studies Department. Anything else?!
A: In October 2010, I was given a promotion and added responsibility of also working for the English Department and Writing Workshop in the new Downey House operations support system. At times it is a bit challenging, but I am good at managing my time and priorities so the work gets done in a timely fashion. I wear many different hats and wear them well.
Q: How many years have you worked for Wesleyan, and in what departments?
A: I have credit for 24 years at Wesleyan. I have been at Wesleyan longer than that but I did not bridge all of the time. I have worked for the Classical Studies Department and Medieval Studies Program for 18 years. After a few years, the Archaeology Program was added on and then most recently, the English Department
Read more →
Maggie Drowica '12, Ellie Dorsey '12, Jessica Steinke '10 and Anna Crystal '11 rummage through garbage during a In Introduction to Archeology assignment titled "Understanding Garbage - Research and Analysis." (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)
In Introduction to Archeology, all students were trash-talking their first assignment.
Titled “Understanding Garbage – Research and Analysis,” the laboratory project helped students understand ways archeologists collect and analyze data by rummaging through rubbish and taking note of their findings.
Read more →