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Brockport Students Danielle Maerlender, Dennis Paone Jr., Devin Pescara, Michelle Heeman, Sarah Luther and Greg Reynolds Participate in an Archaeological field school in Petra, Jordan with Dr. Jennifer Ramsay
– Summer 2016
The Petra North Ridge Project - Overview
Brockport students participated in a six week archaeological field school in Petra, Jordan in conjunction with North Carolina State University and East Carolina University. Students where not only learned archaeological methods and techniques first hand but also gained an incredible cultural experience by living in a developing world village and working with the local Bedouin population.
The Petra North Ridge Project - Goals
Despite the extent of archaeological research within Petra, surprisingly little is known about the city's ancient inhabitants, especially the non-elite population. The Petra North Ridge Project seeks to address this gap by excavating Nabataean (primarily 1st century A.D.) tombs and Roman/Byzantine (1st-6th century) domestic structures along the North Ridge. The project is examining Petra's population through several avenues of research.
This project combines disparate kinds of evidence (ancient texts, material culture, and skeletal evidence) to allow insight into the economic, cultural, and social life of Petra's people as well as their connections with other populations.
Some Things Student Learned About the Culture
Some important things that I learned that had nothing to do with Archaeology are that despite the cultures being different, there are certain things that will always help bridge differences, such as a funny face, a strange noise, appreciation for music and good food. I learned that normality is directly related to where you live, what is normal to me is strange to someone else, such as I had never eaten goat before this trip. The most important thing I learned is that what we hear about other cultures is greatly exaggerated from the truth, one should never judge a culture until one sees this culture for themselves.
– Sarah Luther (Class of 2017)
The representation that primarily paints the Middle East in its entirely as some sort of vague and evil other I learned [was untrue and] that the people, at least in this specific part of the world, Jordan, are beautiful and generous people.
– Devin Pescara (Class of 2017)
When you say you want to study anthropology because you think other cultures are interesting is different from being immersed into a strange environment. At first I did not know how to interact with the locals but as the weeks went on I learned their traditions, how to talk and joke with them, and made a few friends by the end. So, I’d say the most important thing I learned outside of archaeology was how to open up to strange new places and people, and experience the culture.
– Michelle Heeman (Class of 2019)
I’ve taken water of granted. I wake up and go to my kitchen sink, turn on the water and get a glass to drink. We have such a unique commodity living in Rochester that we don't realize the troubles other nations or even other parts of our own country have with water availability. I adjusted but I really appreciate the ability I have to drink clean, purified water whenever I choose, without having to purchase it.
– Greg Reynolds (Class of 2017)
The water situation was also very different and surprising to me. Not being able to use tap water or drink tap water took some getting used to as well. It was shocking to have to pay for water everywhere you went when in the United States you could stop at anyplace and ask for water and they would give it to you for free. The greatest difference I experienced was definitely during Ramadan, when the locals couldn’t eat or drink anything all day until sundown, or when we were in Aqaba and every food place was shut down during Ramadan as well.
– Danielle Maerlender (Class of 2016)