Pre-Season Interview with the Directors: Matthew J. Adams

Why dig at Megiddo? matt

Megiddo has an incredibly rich history and tremendously long span of time is represented in its archaeological record. It was an important center for the entirety of its history from the chalcolithic right up to the present day. As such, it is a massive laboratory for examining the long-term history and cultural development of Levantine societies. Today’s Megiddo is also a gift from past excavations. The University of Chicago excavations in the 1920s and 1930s gave us a tremendous amount of data, but they also opened up the site with their excavations allowing for us to have easier access to the earlier periods without having to start from the top. For example, to study the Early Bronze Age at a major site that continued to be occupied for thousands of years after is a major challenge in working through the later material. Chicago opened a massive area in which we can now work unencumbered on the EB as well as any other period of interest.

How did the excavations at Megiddo start for you? And how are they different today?

I started at Megiddo in 1998 as a very young college freshman. It was my dream to be an archaeologist, and Megiddo was my first chance to try it out in the field. I was hooked immediately. The archaeology was fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual challenges that came with a stratigraphic excavation. I also was hooked on the Megiddo Expedition itself. Even though there were around 100 volunteers and staff, the expedition felt like a group project. The directors made an effort to make everyone feel included in the scientific process. As a result, both the experience for volunteers and the science turned out for the better. I think that’s what makes Megiddo unique, and we try to maintain this spirit of cooperation to this day.

Why keep returning to the site?

Megiddo still has much to give to the history and archaeology of the region, and it’s clear that new discoveries from Megiddo will continue to write new chapters and rewrite old in the story of the ancient Mediterranean world.

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