The students’ answers were old, designating items 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 years old, in fact. The question the undergraduate archaeology students answered was simple: Which artifact in the university’s collection was each one’s favorite?
The three Loyola Marymount University students, Adam Kaplan, Molly Lower and Jordan Oslin, recounted their experiences from archaeological digs in Israel and Jordan at the forum “Linking Past and Present: LMU’s Unique Hands-On Archaeology Program.” The forum, held in mid-April at LMU’s Marymount Institute, also gave them a chance to boast about LMU’s resources and the Archaeology Center.
“My favorite is the collection of oil lamps,” said Lower, a senior classical civilizations major with minors in archaeology and theology. “It is the largest collection [of oil lamps] in North America.” Lower described the rigorous work she did, “getting up at 4 a.m.,” on digs in Jordan. She also talked movingly about the effect her archaeological studies has had on her. “It has given me a profound sense of my place in the world,” she said.
William Fulco, S.J., the National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Studies, introduced the student researchers as “my colleagues more than my students.” He said that LMU is “the only university where undergraduates actually get to handle the artifacts. Usually, undergrads are sent to the books and graduate students get to study the objects themselves.”
Kaplan, who singled out an Abydos jug – from the Egyptian city – from LMU’s collection, said that he understood the enduring human element in the archaeological field while he was studying and archiving ostraca, which are Egyptian pottery sherds used as writing tablets. “I was having trouble reading the inscription when it occurred to me: Somebody back then had handwriting as poor as mine,” said the senior classical civilizations major.
Oslin spoke about his five weeks in Megiddo, Israel, where he helped uncover the remains of the floor of a temple. Oslin, a senior English major and archaeology minor, said he appreciated the explorations that archaeology has allowed. He said his favorite piece in the collection was a Persian sword from 1,000 B.C., which he held up for the audience to see.
For more information on LMU’s Classics and Archaeology Department, click here.
Posted April 26, 2010