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by Sarah Kammer

The conservation project and community outreach program at Tel Akko is unique. It includes two different aspects, which I will tackle in separate writings since trying to put them together would do an injustice to both. Though they are intertwined, they are very different facets of a really wonderful whole.

I went into the field school knowing nothing about field conservation, except that it is really important for the preservation of sites. I was intrigued, and wanted to do a project that furthered my knowledge of conservation and how the logistics of it worked on a real site. The conservation program started off by teaching us about a variety of mortars, what they are used for, and how to make them. We made several mortars and in teams built projects with them. The entire day was spent laughing and joking with our partners and other teams. We continued our project with a day of putting our new knowledge to practical use on the walls of the conservation center, learning how to fix loose and disintegrated mortar and how to carve stones in order to piece them together for repairing arches, walls, and other stone work. The field school also had several lectures and tours that were to inform participants about the importance, problems, and ways to conserve old cities. Finally, students who worked with the conservation project specifically got a chance to work with a professional conservateur, Dr. David Zell, on the walls of the archaeological site of Akko. With the help of Dr. Zell, we were able to put together a specific conservation plan for our individual walls and present our plan to Dr. Killebrew.

As aforementioned, I didn’t know much about conservation before Tel Akko, and I am extremely glad for the basis it gave me of the field. I thought perhaps this would give me a direction in which I wanted to go for my career. After going through this program I can say with certainty that I do not want to become a conservateur. It is a skill that I do not wish to develop further, as the field is not for me. While I am thankful for the basis the program has given me, it has also taught me that this is not what I want to do as a career, which I am even more thankful for.

Table full of mortar making materials
Our instructor for the week
Part of the walls we worked on
Sarah Kammer
About Sarah Kammer

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Professional Conservateur in the Making… Maybe Not