TROY students return to Ashkelon archeological expedition in Israel

Posted: Wednesday, 03 June 2015

TROY - For the seventh year, a group from Troy University will spend part of the summer in Israel working with a team of scholars and students excavating the ancient seaport city of Ashkelon.

Six TROY students, under the direction of anthropology professor Dr. Bill Grantham, will spend June 6 through July 18 working and learning alongside top scholars in the fields of Near Eastern and biblical archaeology. The expedition is part of TROY's partnership, in its sixth year, with Harvard University, Wheaton College, Boston College and the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon.

Located on a 150-acre site alongside the Mediterranean in southern Israel, the Ashkelon area is home to at least 20 ancient cities dating from at 3500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. Canaanite, Philistine, Babylonian, Persian, Phoenician and Israeli civilizations are reflected in the strata of the excavation.

Students participating in the expedition will gain hands-on experience in various archaeological techniques and will participate in training workshops. The team will also take field trips to other archeological sites including Jerusalem, King Herod's fortress at Masada and the Dead Sea.

Students making the trip include:

  • Clayton Johnson, a junior anthropology major from Enterprise and president of the Troy University Archaeology Club, and second-year Leon Levy Expedition member;
  • Taylor France, a senior anthropology major for Maumee, Ohio who is a majorette in the Sound of the South marching band;
  • Rebekah Ramirez, a sophomore anthropology major;
  • Kathryn Curry, a sophomore from St. Simons Island, Ga. Majoring in Fine Art with a minor in anthropology who is a member of the archaeology club and supplies sketches of artifacts found on school digs;
  • Elizabeth Nelson, a sophomore physics major form Headland who serves as secretary of the TROY Physics Club and is a member of the archaeology club;
  • Chris Whatley, a freshman anthropology major from Montgomery who spent nearly five years in the U.S. Air Force prior to starting his college career.

Each candidate has extensive field experience or training and exhibits a strong work ethic and willingness to learn, said Dr. Grantham, who also serves as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"TROY students are unique among their peers in that they bring with them a specialized skill that is rare among undergraduates," Dr. Grantham said. "Participation in the excavations at Ashkelon provides TROY students with opportunities to refine their specializations and apply the skills they have learned in the anthropology program at TROY."

Troy University Ashkelon team

For the seventh year, a group from Troy University will spend part of the summer in Israel working with a team of scholars and students excavating the ancient seaport city of Ashkelon. With Dr. Bill Grantham, left, and Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr., center, are students (from left to right) Taylor France, Rebekah Ramirez, Kathryn Curry, Clayton Johnson, Chris Whatley and Elizabeth Nelson. (TROY photo)