Aug 9, 2010 — Six Yeshiva University students stepped back in time this summer, to around the year 3080, during the rule of King Yehoash of Judah.
The students from Stern and Yeshiva Colleges worked alongside archaeologists for three weeks during a Biblical archaeology course affiliated with Bar Ilan University that began on July 4 and ended on July 23. The three-credit course, in its fifth year, brings students to the Philistine town of Gath, now known as Tell es-Safi, about 20 kilometers north of Kiryat Gat, halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon.
“They learn about the past in lectures and field trips,” explained Professor Aren Maeir, director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project and professor of biblical and ancient near eastern archaeology. “It’s not just pushing wheelbarrows and pushing dirt. We want them to experience, remember, cherish and learn about the past.”
“It gives the students a chance to do original research and fieldwork,” said Dr. Jill Katz, an adjunct lecturer at Yeshiva University who teaches the course. “I hope the students enjoy the thrill of discovery,” she said.
After some training, students become involved in all facets of the work at the site, including digging, surveying, washing, sorting and studying pottery. The course includes trips to other archaeological and historical sites and museums and “general, specific and technological” lectures such as carbon dating, analyzing bones and recording data.