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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Adams

Pre-Season Interview with the Directors: Mario Martin

Why dig at Megiddo?

There really isn’t just one reason why I enjoy digging at Megiddo. The site, its location, the research we produce from it, the expedition and all the people in our team make this one of my favorite sites to dig at and work on.

Megiddo is one of the best-studied sites in the southern Levant – not just because excavations have been carried out there for over 100 years, but also because the methods we utilize to explore the site stand at the forefront of archaeological research. The site has truly become a field laboratory for ground breaking (no pun intended) archaeological discoveries. Not to mention its many references in textual sources which adds another layer of interest, especially for me, coming into the work at Megiddo as an Egyptologist.

However, none of us can really achieve any of this alone. Our team comprises a wide variety of scholars, each with his or her personal interests, expertise and of course our volunteers, some of which keep returning season after season from all over the world.

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

About 20 years ago, when I was still an undergrad student, I had to write a paper about Megiddo, which really sparked my interest in the site. Then, when I heard they were looking for volunteers I signed up. It was my second dig in Israel, and I’ve been coming back since. As a staff member I started as a square supervisor, digging in the big Early Bronze Age temple, which seems like a really long time ago.

Much of what we do today is very similar to what we’ve always done. The technology we use may change, but the basic field techniques are very much the same. The advances in science and our ability to integrate them in the field allows us to excavate on a much higher resolution, but none of that matters if your basic field work isn’t done correctly.

Why keep returning to the site?

On an academic level — our research questions have changed over time, so we’re always able to come back and the site will still be relevant. Megiddo keeps surprising us, even after all this time, that’s why every season, even after all this time, it is exciting.

On a more personal note — I remember my first season at Megiddo, the teamwork in the field and the comradery in the afternoons. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and that really hasn’t changed. I enjoy working with people, and they are what makes this excavation so great.

I really understand why, like myself, volunteers and staff members keep coming back season after season from all over the world.

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