Dr. Fuller and I hope to put together a great team for this summer and I hope that you qualify to be part of it. As Co-director one of my jobs is to have a little heart to heart talk with you in order to give you a realistic idea about the site and what we will expect from you during the excavation. Tell Tuneinir is one of Syria's most important archaeological sites spanning time from the Early Bronze Age through the Mongol invasions of the Middle Islamic Period (Ayyubid and Mamluke Periods). As a member of our staff you will be expected to learn and perform the duties of a professional archaeologist.This is not a play excavation and you will not be treated as a lackey or a gofer. You will have the responsibilities of a serious archaeologist and we will be depending on your insights and your data collection to unlock the mysteries of the site.
At Tell Tuneinir, working on the site does not mean that you will be doing the physical labor of picking and shoveling; we will hire expert Arab workers who do an excellent job at uncovering the features and artifacts. You will be responsible for supervising the workmen, keeping all of the records and locus drawings up-to-date, collecting and bagging pottery and other artifacts and preparing a summary for your square. You will be expected to work 2 to 3 hours each afternoon on a specific laboratory assignment.
There are plenty of important afternoon jobs to fit your interests and expertise:drawing important pieces of pottery and other artifacts, registering special materials (glass, bone, metal, stone), botanical recovery by flotation, sorting, coin cleaning, and recording of the pottery sherds. Every job is important...and every job has to get done.
The Daily Schedule:
4 AM Time to rise and shine, grab a cup of coffee before...
5 AM We walk to the site and the workmen arrive.
9 AM Second Breakfast is usually fried eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, bread,
peanut butter, jam, yogurt, tea and coffee.
1 PM We stop work, and have a large meal, usually a meat and vegetable dish with fruit for desert.
We have a quiet afternoon when people can nap, write home, do laundry,etc. the key is to be quiet.
4 PM Time to do Lab Work
7 PM Light Dinner. After dinner people play cards, work on their notebooks, take a walk, sing songs, play music, tell stories.
9 PM Time to sleep.
--If this schedule sounds as if we spend all of our time working...then YOU ARE RIGHT!!!! There is not a lot to do except work--the nearest movie theater is 1000 miles away!.. We are there to do archaeological work and it is incredibly interesting. On our one day off (usually Friday) we sometimes plan a small excursion to visit other digs.
I don't want to make it sound bad...but this is the way it is. The archaeology is incredible, the friendship can be great and the chance to experience another culture at close range is wonderful--but we are not running a summer camp. We are conducting important scientific research.
Team work is an important consideration. WE are all working for the same goals. Work that is shared turns into fun. In other words, if you have a hard time getting down to work or getting along with people -- then you better stay at home. We have to function as a large family and we don't have time to appease spoiled children. It is amazing how one lazy and uncooperative person can bum out everyone else.
Everyone is expected to work every day...this includes the workmen, the director and YOU.
Honestly-- you have to realize it is going to be hot in the desert during the June and cool in the desert during some nights in May. We have electric fans for all of the rooms... and you will quickly learn how to cool condition your rooms.
I won't kid you. Everyone from the USA who comes to Syria will have a few days of upset stomach. Hamurabi's revenge (as "Dr." Fuller calls it) is a result of heat, foreign bacteria, and jet lag. No one dies from it -- think of it as part of your initiation. I have included a list of my all time favorite medicines. Ask your doctor about the antibiotics and sleeping pills. Explain to him/her that medical care is not readily available at Tuneinir and that a small amount of antibiotic could make your life easier. DO NOT depend on other people giving you their medication...Our food is prepared by a good cook from a nearby village. The diet consists of fresh vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash), small amounts of lamb and chicken, fresh fruits (apricots, plums, apples, melons), cow's milk yogurt, rice, couscous, potatoes, etc. It is good, healthy, fresh food. The spices used in this area are definitely on the bland side. We suggest that you bring some drink mix and any other "comfort" food that might be a nice treat.
Please do not come to the dig if you are:
Planing on a summer romance
Addicted to junk food
Addicted to the internet
Not planing to eat any foreign food
Addicted to any illegal drug, activity or alcohol
Planing to hitchhike anywhere
Lazy, anti social, or emotionally disturbed
A chronic complainer
A chronic worrier
Unwilling to take direction
Unwilling or unable to preform simple tasks
Unwilling to learn any Arabic
Planing to lose weight by starving yourself
Unwilling to bath or wash your clothes
Not planing to bring any medication because you never get sick
Not willing to wear a hat
Enjoy having screaming fits at 4 am
Live in your own imaginary world
Plan to wear a different outfit each night for dinner
If you girlfriend/boyfriend plans to send a "Dear John letter" the day you leave
Sing along to Kenny G music
Insist on power walking at 12 pm when it is 130 degrees
Complain because you aren't running your own wheelbarrow
Complain that you don't like children when the Co-Directors have a 4 year old child
Complain, complain, complain
Unwilling or incapable of following camp rules
Unwilling or incapable of following ssimple directions
Even think about having sex with an Arab workman
Think you are pregnant so plan to have sex with an Arab workman
Are more interested in improving your Arabic language skills than doing archaeology
Have no friends because you can't stand being around other people
I hope that I haven't scared you away, but if I have...maybe it is just as well. If you qualify to come with us I can promise you that the summer will be a unique, challenging, and unforgettable experience. Whether you have fun or not depends largely on you.
We are doing something adventurous, exciting, and contributing to the understanding of history. We are looking for people to join us who are adventurers, who are willing to give that 110% to see a job well done, who are willing to challenge themselves for the excitement of new discoveries. I hope that you will be extraordinary enough to join us in our quest.
Neathery Batsell Fuller and Amira Fuller, Camp Ethnoarchaeologist
Co-Director of the Tell Tuneinir Excavation