Fieldwork Opportunity: UMass Amherst Field School at Akko: Archaeology, Conservation, and Heritage

The third season of our field school at the site of Akko, in Israel, will take place during the month of July 2013. This is a joint project coordinated by archaeologists at UMass Amherst, Penn State, Haifa University, Trinity College, Claremont University, and the Pacific College of Religion. Along with field excavation techniques, students in this field school have the opportunity to take part in courses of artifact and architectural conservation, as well as engaged heritage studies in the local communities.

Akko (historical Acre) is a coastal city that was first settled about 5000 years ago and has been continuously inhabited ever since. At various times the site has been home to Canaanites, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Mamluks, Crusaders, Ottomans, and just about everyone else who sailed the east Mediterranean sea in antiquity or recent history.

When enrolling in this field school, students will be able to select a course that focuses on training in archaeological fieldwork or a course that emphasizes both fieldwork and conservation of archaeological and architectural materials.

Our field training course focuses on methods of stratigraphic excavation, recording, and interpretation, and the study of ceramic typology and its applications. Staff specialists hold workshops on surveying, photography, ceramics, geology, faunal analysis, GIS analysis, and conservation of artifacts. Fieldwork is complemented by a series of lectures by staff and visiting or guest scholars.

Students in the conservation course work on projects ranging from the Bronze Age remains from the site, to the Crusader castle that is emerging from the rubble under the Old City, and on architectural features built during the period of Ottoman Imperial rule in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Along with the field and lab training, students in both of the class will take part in a month-long series of lectures and seminars focussing on: (1) the archaeology of Israel and the east Mediterranean coast; (2) the emergence of urbanism, states, and empires in the region; and (3) political economy and trade.

Issues of cultural heritage are woven in throughout the course. Students will be able to work with professionals (archaeologists, architectural historians, and conservators) and with members of the contemporary communities of Akko to develop plans for identifying, conserving, and presenting material and intangible cultural heritage.

Students at the field school live in the dormitory of the Akko Nautical Academy, an air-conditioned building in a walled campus with its own beach. Meals will be served both in the dining hall of the Nautical Academy and on the excavation site.

The field school will take place from June 30th to July 27th 2013, and will cost about $5200 (though we may be able to lower that cost if enough students apply). This is a 6 credit class.

The program is directed jointly by faculty from UMass Amherst, Trinity College, Penn State, Claremont University, and the Pacific School of Religion.

I am the director of the UMass program, so feel free to write back to me with questions.

You can find out about the field school and the site at

Enrollment information can be found at

Michael O. Sugerman
Department of Anthropology
University of Massachusetts
Amherst MA 01003
t: 413 577 0783
f: 413-545-9494