Together in the field: interdisciplinary work in Kebara and Hayonim caves (Israel)



Publication Details

Meignen, L., Goldberg, P. & Bar-Yosef, O. (2017). Together in the field: interdisciplinary work in Kebara and Hayonim caves (Israel). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 9 (8), 1603-1612.


The authors present an example of close field collaboration among prehistorians and researchers from different disciplines (particularly the geosciences), within the context of a long program of interdisciplinary research at the caves of Kebara and Hayonim (Israel). We outline the benefits brought about by the presence of different specialists being in the field during the excavation over long periods. Specifically, daily collaboration in the field during the excavation brings about: (1) A consensus of choice of strategic areas to excavate, either at the beginning of the project or during successive field campaigns, while taking into account the needs and goals of different specialists and their needs in taking samples; (2) A meeting of different points of view with many discussions of stratigraphy and site formation processes, which in caves are quite complex; (3) A unification of specialized vocabulary and jargon specific to each discipline by constant interaction in the field, which in turn facilitates communication among specialists; (4) A positive didactic element in training doctoral students in the field. This interdisciplinary strategy is more or less widespread now, but it was not the case in the early 1980s, and actual integration of results from the sciences (particularly the geosciences) came about only fairly recently. Without doubt, the awareness of the importance of such interdisciplinary archaeological data for discussing archaeological issues has ultimately paved the way for active interdisciplinary collaboration sprouting from the fieldwork, and has led to the generation of more robust and accurate interpretations.

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