MGSDII Awards Scholarship to Master Student Studying Anthropology in Israel

The MGSDII was proud to award a scholarship to UCSD Master student, Jackson Reece, to study anthropological findings at the coastal site of Tel Dor, Israel. Read Jackson’s reflection below. For more information about academic study opportunities in Israel with the MGSDII, please click HERE.

The main goal of my trip to Israel was to carry out research on a Roman period industrial complex at the coastal site of Tel Dor. An analysis of the pottery and architecture at the complex, as well as questions regarding its role within Roman Dor and the southern Levantine coast, forms the core of my MA thesis in Anthropology at the University of California San Diego. I spent a majority of the 3-week trip working in the Maritime Civilizations laboratory at Haifa University, analyzing and photographing pottery fragments from a series of excavations at Dor in 1982-84 (pictured below). A thorough analysis of this pottery assemblage had not yet been conducted, therefore the first step was to create a digital database of the indicative sherds and begin forming a general chronology of the industrial complex by pairing excavation areas from field notes with their respective pottery baskets. Although the university was closed for the summer holidays, Professor Assaf Yasur-Landau (seen below at his residence in Tel Aviv) was very hospitable and met with me multiple times during my trip to discuss the details of my MA thesis and to help identify the age, form, and function of many of the vessels present in the assemblage. Professor Adi Erlich, the director of excavations at Beit She’arim, was also kind enough to allow me to volunteer for a few days alongside their ceramicist in order to increase my experience with identifying and dating Roman pottery.

On the days when I was not working in the lab at Haifa University, I travelled to Roman sites at Zippori and Apollonia to take photos of relevant archaeological structures for the purpose of comparing the architecture at these two sites (and others visited during previous trips) with the architecture present at Tel Dor. I also spent a few days at Dor’s industrial complex to walk the site and photograph exposed architecture (pictured below) in order to produce a 3-dimensional model of the architecture and surrounding landscape using Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry. This detailed architectural comparison, between Roman settlements in Israel and across the larger eastern Mediterranean, helps form the core argument of my MA thesis.

My trip was successful in all respects and I would like to thank the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative for their generosity, without which this research trip, and the resulting progress made toward my MA thesis project, would not have been possible.