Egypt Summer Field School: Mendes
The Egypt Summer Field School falls under the aegis of the Akhenaten Temple Project, an umbrella organization covering archaeological work in Karnak, the Theban Necropolis, and the Delta. It is a hands-on archaeological practicum involving active participation in a formal excavation at Tel er-Rub'a (ancient Mendes) in the Nile delta. Drs. Don and Susan Redford have been directing excavations at Mendes for twenty years. Students participating in the Field School earn 6 credits of 400-level coursework, which fulfills the 6-credit archaeological fieldwork requirement for the undergraduate CAMS archaeology option and ANTH field school requirement.
Mendes, one of the oldest cities in Egypt with a cross-section of Egyptian history through 5,500 years, is an ideal site for teaching purposes. The site was founded in the 4th millennium B.C., and spans the period of state formation c. 3100 B.C. The ecological collapse of Egypt (c. 2200 B.C.) is well illustrated in the archaeological record at the site which shows fire, destruction and massacre. Mendes prospered in the 1st millennium B.C. down to 200 B.C., and provides much evidence for the international commerce with Persia, Greece and Rome. A core staff of professional archaeologists involves students in a teaching program encompassing such disciplines as stratigraphy, mapping, recording, palaeobotany, bio-anthropology, ceramics, osteology and geology. Each student is assigned 7 native workmen, and excavates and records under supervision of the core staff a unit. Afternoons are taken up by observing and assisting the various technicians in a scheduled round of activity. Lectures in the evening by various members of the staff will supplement the practical training of the day.
Students live on site, in a modern 20-room field institute building, which was constructed on-site in 1992 and has electricity, running water, and plumbing. This Institute is a ten-minute walk from the excavations. Study trips to neighboring sites led by the directors are taken on the weekends, including overnight trips to the city of Alexandria and to the pyramid fields near Cairo. There is also a day trip to Tanis and the Suez Canal.
Finally, no one ever comes away from the Mendes dig without a smattering of colloquial Arabic.
For further information and application details, go to Egypt field School (Summer) in Education Abroad at the Penn State Global Programs Office.