For history major and classics minor Gina Mercuri ’14 developing an understanding of archaeology is essential to gaining a better understanding of history. Spending this summer as an intern on the Megiddo Expedition dig in Israel, therefore, was an invaluable experience as it provided hands-on archaeological insight. Inspired by the Colleges’ emphasis on internships, she found this opportunity through the Archaeological Institute of America’s website and decided that the Middle East would be a good place to begin her exploration of archaeology.
The focus of her internship was to learn the basics of archaeology. As one of the many dig workers, she was responsible for removing layer after layer of dirt, keeping the excavation squares neat, and occasionally uncovering artifacts and cleaning them.
“I learned about the physical work and coordination that goes into such an activity,” says Mercuri. While on the dig, she also took a Field Techniques course, where she learned about the different activities done on-site, such as using a “total station” to plot the locations of the artifacts on the site, and how to handle, care for and archive artifacts.
“The Megiddo Expedition interested me because it seemed like it was very beginner-friendly and genuinely committed to the archaeological experience.”
Mercuri’s concentration is on Medieval Europe, so her next dig might be a little closer to Europe, but her experiences on this dig have helped her gain new insights.
“History and archaeology are interconnected, as archaeology can produce physical evidence of historic events, and history is a recording of real people and places that can be discovered through archaeology,” she says.
On campus, Mercuri is a member of the HWS Brass Ensemble, the South Asian Culture Club and Anime Club. She also went abroad to Japan this summer as part of the Technos International Week at Technos International College in Tokyo.