OUR WORK

Frequently Asked Questions

Why 

    the “Common Ground" initiative?

     To promote increased communication and understanding between Palestinian and Israeli youth through a collective exploration of shared cultural heritage. The Society for Humanitarian Archaeological Research and Exploration seeks to accomplish this through the establishment of the following fellowship program in conjunction with its Palestinian, Israeli and American partners.

What

    is the goal of the SHARE program?

Why

Archaeology?

      Palestinian and Israeli students aged 14-16 will be selected from a pool of applicants to participate in an archaeological field school program for three to six weeks. Room, board and program fees will be covered by the scholarship program, and participants will be required to work together fulfilling all field school requirements. While optional team-building exercises and group projects will be made available, the aim of the program is to provide an unbiased, non-intrusive setting where participants will engage with the past and each other according to their own prerogatives. Instead of dictating the terms of their interaction, the daily framework of the field school will provide participants with both hands on archaeological training as well as a neutral setting for dialogue about the past and present.

 

 

        Perhaps more than any other country, the practice of archaeology in Israel/Palestine

has strong ties to modern identity and cultural patrimony. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, archaeology has frequently been politically employed by both sides in an effort to establish or refute ties to the past, consequently reinforcing the “legitimacy” of each sides position in the present. For these reasons, archaeology in Israel/Palestine continues to be a highly controversial practice, and often practitioners either avoid or dismiss the political ramifications of their work.

 

Instead of downplaying these facts, SHARE maintains that archaeology can provide a unique opportunity for meaningful dialogue, precisely because of the privileged (and often contentious) position it occupies in the socio-political arena.  What is more, the highly physical and complicated nature of archaeological fieldwork requires a high degree of cooperation on a daily basis, an attribute that fosters camaraderie and the creation of meaningful, lasting relationships.

 

By engaging in questions pertaining to a shared and contentious past, we seek to provide participants with the tools and opportunity to collectively seek out common ground- both figuratively and literally.

   Where

     does SHARE take place?

         Several on-going field projects in Israel/Palestine meet the criteria necessary to facilitate these objectives.  Among them, the Tel Akko Total Archaeology field school and field school ranks among the highest, thanks to its use of cutting-edge methodology, excellent lecture series, hotel accommodations, field trips, reasonable tuition and most importantly, its emphasis on teaching and instruction. Lectures are given several days a week by eminent scholars in multiple fields, and an academic credit option is available. 

 

Ashkelon, seaport of the biblical Philistines (who would later give their name to the region, “Palestine”) serves as the perfect geographic and cultural setting to implement the program outlined above. Participants will be encouraged to discuss the nature of Philistine identity through hands-on experience excavating and conserving material culture and by examining questions and problems arising from textual and cultural interpretations.

 

  

What

      is your Selection Criteria?

         This program is geared towards a young demographic, 14 to 16 years old as experience has shown that this age group is the particularly open to dialogue and change. While being enrolled in an academic program is a plus, it is not a prerequisite. Prior experience with archaeology is also not required, with preference being given to those who have a strong interest in the field, but have little or no prior experience.    

 

        Archaeological fieldwork can be physically demanding and potentially

hazardous.  For safety reasons, applicants must be in good health and have an excellent command of the English language. This is necessary not only to communicate with staff and other team members, but also to provide an intermediary mode of communication among program participants. 

 

         Participants must be able to commit to the entire 6-week duration of the field school and initially provide their own transportation to the site. All transportation to and from the site, including field trips, will be provided thereafter.  

 

         Participants must be able to commit to the entire 6-week duration of the field school and initially provide their own transportation to the site. All transportation to and from the site, including field trips, will be provided thereafter.  

 

 Applicants will be asked to write a letter of interest detailing their expectations, what they hope to bring to the program and what they hope to gain by participating in it. Successful applicants meeting the above criteria will be selected on the basis of this letter, as well as subsequent e-mail correspondence and a brief telephone interview. Letters of recommendation are encouraged, but are not required. 

 

 

What

     are the expectations?

         As with all opportunities for exchange and dialogue, one may never know the full extent of their effects. By setting out clear and concrete objectives however, SHARE seeks to make a tangible difference in the lives of young Israelis and Palestinians, and lay the foundation for even greater achievements in the future.

 

By providing a foundation of quality archaeological instruction in a unique field setting, participants will take away an enriching, educational experience that in and of itself makes the program worthwhile. Optional university credit may be obtained through Harvard University. The program may also help fulfill the field school requirement of many Israeli and Palestinian departments of archaeology. Archaeology remains a viable career path in Israel/Palestine, giving the program the added dimension of vocational training and introduction to a number of career possibilities.  

 

At the conclusion of the fellowship period, participants will be asked to complete a survey evaluating the program, including suggested improvements. With this feedback, as well as an open, reflexive and adaptive approach, we seek to improve and incorporate new elements (group projects, community outreach, etc.) that will make the program that much more valuable. We also look forward to expanding the fellowship program in years to come, including more students and multiple field school settings. 

  

How

      can you Apply?

  Please write a letter to info@archshare.org expressing your interest in our field-school program, what you hope to bring to the program and gain from the experience. Please include your contact information including a current e-mail and telephone number. Fellows will be selected on an open, rolling basis until all fellowships are filled. Letters should arrive no later than March 15th, 2017 for full consideration. 

 

SHARE and its programs are entirely non-partisan, and as such should not be seen as attempts at normalization or acceptance of the status quo. We believe however that the first steps towards a meaningful peace begin with dialogue and understanding at the most basic level.  Given adequate support, these scholarships have tremendous potential to effect positive change on many fronts. 

 

We invite you to join us in helping Palestinian and Israeli youth engage with the past as a bridge to the future.