At the aqueduct at Caesarea
For five adventurous Randolph-Macon College students,
January Term 2012 was a month full of discovery.
Students enrolled in The Archaeology of Israel, taught by John Camp II, the
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor in Classics, and
Classics Professor Elizabeth Fisher, spent two weeks visiting archaeological
sites, museums, monuments, synagogues and churches in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
R-MC alumnus and Board of Trustee member Skip Vichness ’69 generously
provided financial support for participating students.
Archaeology of Israel for a slideshow of photos from the trip.
In their post-travel essays, students reflected on the beauty and rich culture of
Kelly Moss ’13 wrote, “At Masada we got to see another example
of Roman presence in Israel, the Roman army. From the top of Masada, looking down
on the surrounding area, multiple Roman camps can be seen in their traditional playing-card
shape; we also got to see the siege ramp going up the side of Masada. After learning
about the Masada myth, I was excited to actually see the site.”
A high point for many of the travelers was the opportunity to participate in the
archaeological excavation at Tel Maresha, which houses the remains of an ancient
Hellenistic cistern. David Knutson ’15 noted, “It was a lot of
fun. Everyone dug up at least one artifact during the short time we were at the
site. Most of the artifacts that were dug up were little pieces of bone and pottery.”
Religious Studies major Kelly
Connor ’12, who plans to attend seminary, has a keen interest in Abrahamic
“The class and trip were informative and surprising in a multitude of ways,” she
wrote. “First, the classroom portion gave me all the tools I needed to be an informed
traveler. As I was new to archaeology, I found it helpful that students were given
an overview of the important historical events in Israel, and a chronology of when
each archaeological period occurred within the Israel region. This enabled me to
better understand the age of a site or an artifact while listening to on-site lectures
Fellow traveler Kelli Stevenson ’14, an
art history major, enjoyed visiting the Temple Mount.
“I have studied the Dome of the Rock several times, and it was always one of my
favorites,” wrote Stevenson. “It was such an incredible experience to be able to
see it in person, because it is even more beautiful in real-life than in textbooks.
We were even able to catch a quick glimpse inside, which was amazing, because no
one is allowed in.”
For Classics major Sarah Fetzer ’14,
traveling to Israel gave her a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by archaeologists
“Religion is a major obstacle to archaeological excavations in Israel,” she wrote.
“The world’s three most prominent monotheistic religions have strong and tangible
roots there.” She described the trip as “an amazing experience…this trip inspired
me to continue studying in the field of archaeology.”
William Krupp ’67 was also among the travelers. Click on Krupp to read his exciting
account of the trip.
January Termis a four-week session
between the fall and spring semesters that provides students with an opportunity
to immerse themselves in another culture, gain real-life experience through an internship or explore other areas of