An Evaluation of Archaeological Fieldwork Training at Palestinian Universities

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Loay Abu Alsaud, Soheil Salha, Saida Affouneh, Ali Shaqor, Abdel Khaliq Issa


The aim of this study is to shed light on archaeological field training at Palestinian universities. A review of field training courses conducted during the summer months at Palestinian universities was undertaken in order to assess their effectiveness in providing students with skills in archaeological excavation techniques. The five universities that took part in the study, conducted from 1 October to 30 December 2020, were Gaza, Hebron, Al-Quds (Abu Dis), Birzeit and An-Najah universities. A total of 104 questionnaires were distributed to mainly third- and fourth-year students at the universities. In addition, interviews were conducted with specialized field training instructors who had supervised the archaeological field training courses at excavation sites. Analysis of the results indicated the field training was effective, despite difficulties encountered. An important aspect of the study was that it was the first carried out by a Palestinian university to examine the developmental processes of archaeological education. The study concluded that there was a need to coordinate archaeological study programmes between Palestinian universities and that financial and logistical support was lacking. Insight was provided for defining and challenging current practice to determine the most appropriate forms of teaching and assessment. Comparison with similar studies conducted beyond Palestine also provided information on new approaches in key areas. A model of field training with a more general focus was proposed.

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