Megiddo Expedition – Final Post

By the end of six weeks at the Megiddo Expedition, the rhythm of dig life had fully ingrained itself in my consciousness as the best and seemingly only way to live. Waking up at 4:30 am was natural, manual labor for seven hours expected, and pottery washing and office work in the afternoons nearly enjoyable.

One reason why I chose to volunteer at Megiddo this summer was to explore the intersection between GIS and archaeology. During the six weeks of the Megiddo Expedition, I managed the spatial information for Area S, where I worked. Daily tasks included categorizing points taken with the total station, making shapefiles for the closed loci, and working on longer-term analysis projects.

The analysis projects revealed to me how GIS allows archaeologists to approach spatial information in new, dynamic manners. The first project entailed an analysis of the destruction layer of Area S. I worked with our Area Supervisor to identify loci with the same stratigraphy, correlated the loci on one map, and identified carbon-14 samples and seed samples. By the end of the season, the project was in the post-data collection but pre-analysis phase. When I return to William & Mary I will conclude the second GIS project. It aims to create a workflow to find the volume of material removed between two loci layers. When each locus is closed after concluding excavation, we create a photogrammetry model which is then uploaded into QGIS. Since the models are spatially coordinated, one can find the difference in elevation and therefore the volume removed during excavation. However, no step-by-step guide for such a project is available for QGIS users. So, in coordination with Dr. Adams, co-director of The Megiddo Expedition, I will generate one within the next month. Through this personal project, I will aid professional archaeologists in analyzing their excavations.

This summer at Megiddo clarified my interest in archaeological technologies. I have conclusively decide that I do not want to study Middle Bronze Age Southern Levantine archaeology, but that I do want to pursue work with spatial data. Until next summer, I will look for another dig to work at, ideally as a GIS technician. I am immensley grateful to the Religious Studies Department of William & Mary for supporting my work at Megiddo through the Meyers-Stern Scholarship.

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