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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:1, Spring 2022

Digs 2022: COVID-19 and the Future of Archaeology

By Nathan Steinmeyer

How has the pandemic changed field archaeology? We recently asked leading dig directors what long-term impacts the pandemic will have on field projects and excavations in Israel. Some archaeologists see change on the horizon, others point toward exposed inequalities, and yet others argue that Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will merely be a soon-forgotten bump in the road. Here is what they had to say.

Matthew Adams
Tel Megiddo, W.F. Albright Institute

Despite not digging with co-directors Israel Finkelstein and Mario Martin at Megiddo in northern Israel in 2020 or 2021, Matthew Adams, as Director of the W.F. Albright Institute in Jerusalem, was able to help several smaller digs get started. Based on this experience, Adams believes there may be a trend toward smaller projects on the horizon: “One thing I learned from the couple of excavations that did go into the field is that they went with smaller teams. I don’t think this means that digs will remain small forever, but now when directors are planning their seasons, they will consider the value of less excavation, slower excavation, and smaller teams versus more excavation, faster excavation, and bigger teams.”

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