Biblical Archaeology Review 5:2, March/April 1979

How to Pick a Dig

By Dan P. Cole

This coming summer more people than ever will join archaeological digs in Israel and elsewhere as volunteer workers. Some will be taking an important early step toward a professional career in archaeology Many will be earning academic credit for their work; others will be seeking adventure and experience simply for its own sake.

But what kind of experience will it be? While some are engaged in significant learning, others will endure disappointing frustration. While some have a happy adventure, gain a new sense of themselves and form lasting friendships, for others the summer will be an emotional disaster. The difference will depend in large measure on the questions would-be volunteer diggers ask in advance—about themselves and about a prospective dig opportunity.

Know thyself

People come in all shapes and sizes with differing strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. If this is your first summer in the dirt, the more you know about yourself, the more likely you are to choose the right kind of experience and to gain the most from it. Before applying to join an excavation team ask the following questions of yourself:

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