About the Program

Williams in Omrit is an interdisciplinary learning experience open to all students at Williams College.  Students participating in this program travel to Omrit in northern Israel to take part in an archaeological field school co-directed by Professor Benjamin Rubin of the Williams College Classics Department.  The excavation season at Omrit normally runs for four to six weeks from late May through late June.  This summer Professor Rubin will be taking eight students to participate in the project.  You can read more about their experiences here. If you think that you may be interested in digging at Omrit, please contact Professor Benjamin Rubin (email: Benjamin.Rubin@williams.edu; phone: 413-597-3731).

The Field School:

The primary goal of the Williams in Omrit program is to train students in proper archaeological field methodology.  Students learn through a combination of traditional lectures and hands-on training.  The excavation team works in the field six days a week (Monday-Saturday).  On a typical day we start our excavations at 5:30 am and excavate until around noon after which it becomes too hot to work.  The students conduct the majority of the excavations, and in the process, learn to record and interpret the archaeological material which they are recovering.  This year students will also have the opportunity to participate in the urban survey and work on conserving frescoes from the Early Shrine.

The lessons learned in the field are supplemented by occasional lectures delivered either by Professor Rubin or the other directors of the project.  We also take regular day-trips to important archaeological sites like Banias, Caesarea Maritima and Beth Shean.  We then conclude the season with a two-day trip to Jerusalem, where we tour the Old City, Yad Vashem and the Israel Museum.  The purpose of these trips is to expose students to the diverse history and cultural landscape of Israel-Palestine.

Another important goal of this project is to encourage inter-cultural dialogue between Israeli, Palestinian and American students and scholars.  To this end, we plan to arrange several visits to Tel-Hai College in Qiryat Shemona, where Williams students will have a chance to discuss political and cultural issues with young people in Israel.  We will also speak with several founding members of Kibbutz Kfar Szold, who immigrated to Israel in the 1940’s at the height of the Zionist movement.

Accomodations:

The excavators stay at Kibbutz Kfar Szold in the Upper Galilee in the Bakfar country lodgings. Only a five minute van ride from the site, Kfar Szold sits at the base of a hill on the 1967 border between Israel and Syria.  The kibbutz features nicely-furnished, hotel-style rooms with air conditioning and kitchenettes. Normally, three people share a room. Recreation facilities include a large swimming pool, basketball courts, and an on site night club. Of particular interest is the unique sculpture gardens located at the entrance of the kibbutz.  Kfar Szold prides itself on Galilee horse tours. Most supplies are available at the kibbutz store. Anything not found on the kibbutz can be bought at the nearest town, Qiryat Shemona. For more information, visit their website or call 011-972-4-690-7176; FAX: 011-972-4-690-7187

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