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Alexandra King

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Yeshayahu Kisilevitz Memorial Scholarship

In the months leading up to the Tel Moza Expedition Project I was filled with anticipation. After four years of studying the archaeology of the ancient Near East in the classroom, fascinated by its complex culture and historic sites, I was eager to finally get the chance to work in the field. I hoped to acquire valuable skills, meet like-minded individuals, and maybe even make a few friends—Tel Moza exceeded these expectations in every way.

As an archaeology student who had not yet had the opportunity to participate in an excavation, I could not have asked for a better introduction to fieldwork. I dug at many different areas at the site. Going from the large Iron Age IIA temple complex to the Persian-Hellenistic terracing system, it felt as if I was travelling through the ancient world. When I had trouble interpreting the stratigraphy of the site myself, the project director, Shua Kisilevitz, and the area supervisor, Dr. Dennis Mizzi, helped me understand the life of Tel Moza, through all the dirt, stones and pottery sherds. When I was unsure of my work, the project manager, Roni Sapir, clearly demonstrated proper tool technique and shared valuable digging tips. With their guidance, I excavated a cooking taboon, articulated a wall, dug down to a floor and unearth plenty of pieces of pottery, bone and flint. Most notably, I uncovered a loom weight near the beginning of the expedition. Though it may not have been as monumental as some of my teammates’ amazing finds (like intact vessels and zoomorphic objects), it helped me conceptualize the individual human activity that took place at the temple thousands of years ago.

Throughout the duration of the dig, I worked closely with our incredible registrar, Penina Myerson. Penina showed me many different aspects of archaeological work that were new to me, both on and off the field. At the Temple Under the Bridge, we led flotation and picking stations together. I was not familiar with these procedures before the expedition but, with her guidance, I gained confidence leading them. While we were picking at the silo material, I even found what seemed to be a few miniscule beads. After a day of fieldwork, we participated in lab work and workshops at the beautiful Notre Dame de Sion grounds. Penina assigned me additional responsibilities for the bone-washing lab, which gave me insight into the interpretation of the temple site (and the fun, informal title “bone master”). I was even lucky enough to participate in Dr. Liora Freud’s analysis of the pottery finds. It was inspiring to witness her and other experts on the staff discuss and pick out indicative sherds.

Ultimately, with the guidance of the wonderful Moza team, I contributed to unearthing important archaeological features that will help deepen our understanding of the unique Iron Age temple and its religious system. I obtained career-building knowledge and skills that have established a strong foundation for my future in archaeology. Beyond this, I gained a close-knit community and lifelong friends for which I am eternally grateful for. I could not have asked for a better group than the Moza family. I am very thankful that the Yeshayahu Kisilevitz Memorial Fellowship gave me such a life-changing opportunity.

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