BAR Volunteer Finds Rare Portrait of Alexander the Great

Sidebar to: Digs 2010 Volunteering

“My goal was to gain some archaeology experience and put my ceramic background to use,” says student Megan Webb of her decision to join the University of Washington (UW) Tel Dor Excavations and Field School last season. “I had no idea I would be part of such an incredible and rare find.” That find was a small gemstone—less than half an inch long—bearing a detailed portrait of Alexander the Great. Her discovery has received international news coverage.

Webb, a ceramics major from Philadelphia University, decided to join the Tel Dor dig after examining BAR’s Dig Issue and its comprehensive Digs Web site (

Professor Sarah Stroup, founder and director of the UW Tel Dor field school, appreciates having such careful volunteers on her team. “We always list ourselves in the BAR Dig Issue, and it is through this that many of our volunteers find us—including Megan. The fact that a student made this rare discovery makes it all the more satisfying.” Webb found the inscribed carnelian gem while excavating a public structure from the Hellenistic period.

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