History and Religious Studies student to participate in summer archaeology program in Israel | Judson College
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History and Religious Studies student to participate in summer archaeology program in Israel

Judson College junior Marianna Nichols will be attending the Harvard University Summer Program in Ashkelon, Israel this summer.

The 6-week program offers the opportunity for participating students to work alongside volunteers and a professional archaeological staff to excavate Ashkelon, an important ancient seaport on the Mediterranean coast. Nichols will complete field training in methods of stratigraphic excavation, recording, and interpretation and will have opportunities to attend workshops on such topics as surveying, photography, ceramics, geology, GIS analysis, and conservation of artifacts.

Marianna Nichols

Nichols’s Ashkelon experience will continue the learning she began last summer when she worked as a Historic Trades Intern in the George Washington Entrepreneur Internship Program. As she volunteered with Mount Vernon’s Archaeology Department at a slave cemetery dig site, she recognized the project’s significance for her future: “That opportunity was particularly significant for me because I want to go into archaeology and anthropology for my graduate work.”

Her summer opportunity at Ashkelon holds special significance for the double History and Religious Studies major, who now adds “with a specific focus on ancient religions” to her graduate school plans. With artifacts dating back to the Neolithic era and spanning occupations by Canaanite, Philistine, Persian, Christian, and Islamic peoples, Ashkelon is an important opportunity for Nichols, who dreams of becoming a college professor and traveling with her students to historic sites to study archaeology and anthropology.

Her participation in the Mount Vernon and Ashkelon programs aren’t Nichols’s first time to seize opportunities to explore the field of archaeology during her time at Judson. Last spring, her paper “Pompeii: Archaeology and the Life of a City” won the award for best undergraduate conference paper at the regional Phi Alpha Theta Alabama Regional Conference at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Nichols earned other accolades at Judson’s Spring 2016 Honors Convocation, winning Outstanding Student awards in both History and Religious Studies.

In addition to her study abroad experience at Ashkelon this summer, Nichols has plans to study overseas this fall. She recently learned of her acceptance into Oxford University’s “Scholars’ Semester in Oxford” Program for the Fall 2016 semester.