AO 3:01, Jan/Feb 2000
Join Up Now!
Its 102 degrees under the hot Mediterranean sun. Your neck aches and your back feels like its breaking as you squat, knee deep in dirt, in a narrow rocky ditch. For the hundredth time, you find yourself wondering why you decided against a vacation in the south of France. Then, suddenly, your hand brushes up against a buried fragment of pottery. For an instant, the pain recedes and your heart races: You are holding a piece of ancient history in the palm of your hand
In this era of information highways and tele-education, there are many ways to learn about archaeology. You can study ancient cultures in ivy-covered buildings, in the pages of magazines and books, and even on the Internet. Nothing, however, is like the experience of participating in a real archaeological dig. Ever since the Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin first placed an ad in the London Times, 35 years ago, asking for hardy and enthusiastic workers to help out with his excavations at Masada, thousands of people have experienced the unexpected pleasuresand occasional monotonyof being a volunteer excavator.