Ask almost anyone who has ever volunteered on an archaeological site and they'll tell you it was the experience of a lifetime. Whether you're interested in prehistoric sites, ancient Amerindian remains, early American historical sites, relics of ancient man, there is something in this interesting undertaking, either for study or a simple interest in the subject. Dig into the article and you can start digging for real.
Most archaeologists enlist the help of volunteers on their digs as volunteers are highly motivated and wish to learn and gain experience, although the work might be difficult and tedious. Usually, no previous experience is necessary. Volunteers should be in good physical condition and able to work long hours in various degrees of weather conditions. The work that is required from them includes digging and shoveling into layers of earth, hauling the earth and shards in baskets to the top of the dig where other volunteers screen the earth for possible archaeological finds. The schedule at an excavation is organized according to the conditions at the site. A day on an average dig begins at early dawn after a fine breakfast and ends after noon, with a rest period after lunch. The afternoon would usually be devoted to additional excavation work, such as cleaning, sorting and setting pottery, ancient coins and ornaments and other finds.
Expedition directors arrange informal lectures in the evening hours, covering the history and archeology of the site and a discussion of the type of work involved. Recreational facilities for the volunteer's free time (swimming pools, beaches and sporting grounds) may be available depending on the location of the site. Most expeditions organize sightseeing and field trips in the area, and to visits to neighboring museum if available.
"Arise, walk the land, in the length of it, and in the breath of it... (Genesis 13:)
Archaeological excavations are conducted in the United States (and worldwide) throughout the year. The main season, however, runs from May through September where universities are not in session. Many of the archaeological expeditions are sponsored by universities or educational institutions. Some expeditions offer credit courses from the sponsoring institutions. Details concerning subjects, conditions and costs may be obtained by contacting the expedition directors or the sponsoring organizations.
"And see the land what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein." (Numbers 12:18)
Accommodations for volunteers can range from sleeping bags in the field to hotels or youth hostels at the site. Excavations near a city or within a city's borders often require volunteers to find their own accommodations. There is usually a nominal charge for food and lodging, although some excavations require no fees.
Volunteers should have comfortable, sturdy clothes for the work required and warm clothing for cool evenings. Sun hats or caps with visors are absolutely compulsory when working in the heat of the summer. Winters could be wet and cold; warm clothing and waterproof boots are necessary. (Equipment that may be useful work gloves, canteen, towels, sleeping bag, sunscreen lotion, even a personal first aid kit, etc..)
Volunteers would be advised to arrange for medical and accident insurance in advance even though many archaeological expeditions are fully covered by insurance for any risks that may occur.
1) Volunteer at UNESCO World Heritage Sites - United Nations Volunteers: http://www.unv.org/ - The possibilities for volunteering are as diverse as they are endless ranging from restoring archaeological sites in Zimbabwe and Tanzania to unraveling the mystery of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island' Rapa Nui National Park. In order to obtain information about ongoing projects, please contact:
World Heritage PACT
World Heritage Centre
7, place de Fontenoy
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 18 32
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 55 70
Email: [email protected]
2) One of the easiest ways to gain experience in archeology is through volunteering! Browse through the offerings in exotic locales around the world or as close as your hometown... www.archaeologyfieldwork.com' When evaluating a project, be sure to contact the project director or designated contact with any questions you might have about conditions, travel, logistics, local environment, etc. The sponsor Archaeological Institute of America is a resource for information about archeology and encourages the appreciation of archaeological methods. Online and in print, their Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin, continues to be a critical resource for student and volunteer archaeologists.
For additional information
Archaeological Institute of America
Located at Boston University
656 Beacon Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215-2006 - www.archaeological.org
3) Archaeological Excavations in Israel - This list of archaeological expeditions which accept volunteers is compiled by the Israel Foreign Ministry as a service to the public. Any questions, comments or requests for additional information must be directed to contact person indicated for each project. For a listing of archaeological digs of other pertinent information contact:
Public Relations - [email protected] Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd.
Jerusalem 91035, Israel
4) The magazine Archaeo-Volunteers' the world guide to archaeological and heritage volunteering - The ideal resource for those who want to experience the excitement of an archaeological excavation. The guide lists sites of 200 projects in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Asia, where no previous experience is required. Excavations range from Palaeochristian churches in Israel, to the sites of the first Native Americans, underwater archaeology at Sicily and to Maya temples in Central America, etc.. University credits may be obtained from most of the field schools.
Contact Green Volunteers:
340 Central Ave #304 Dover, NH O3820
Tel: 1 (800) 525.9379
Fax: 1 (603) 742.1390 - http://greenvolunteers.com/arkeo/archaeoeng.html