About Andy Overman
Professor Overman specializes in religion, culture, and ethnicity
in the Greco-Roman world. He has written widely on the development
of Christianity and Judaism in the Roman world, the interaction
between cultures and races in the Roman Empire, diaspora Judaism,
and archaeology of the Roman world. Professor Overman is an
archaeologist who is currently the director of the Omrit dig
in Israel. Each summer students accompany him to this site
in the Middle East to conduct excavations of a Roman temple.
About the Archaeological Site
This year marks the ninth season of the Macalester excavations at Omrit in northern Israel. The site is licensed to Macalester College and Professor Andrew Overman of the Classics department. The project is supported by Macalester and by individual donors. The Macalester group numbers 35 students and staff. The Omrit site was discovered in 1998 by Professor Andy Overman after a fire burned much of the Mt. Hermon region.
Omrit is situated where the Israel, Lebanon, and Syrian borders converge. The Omrit site and the Kibbutz where the Macalester team stays -Kibbutz Kfar Szold - are a few hundred meters from the 1967 Syrian border.
Omrit is a Roman period site. The most prominent feature of Omrit is an early Roman imperial (50 BCE-100 CE) temple complex. The earliest structure on the site is a small, ornate hellenistic-early Roman shrine with beautiful frescoed exterior. A second temple likely built by Herod the Great around the year 20 BCE to honor the first Roman emperor Augustus. This first temple (temple I) encased the earlier ornate shrine. This temple, built during the reign of Herod, was later expanded during the late first century CE.
The work schedule
The team wakes up at 4:30 a.m. The group is on the site and working by 5:30 a.m. They leave the site by noon due of the heat of the Middle East. In the afternoons students wash pottery, identify artifacts, and update their square notebooks and journals. Three evenings a week the group has lectures at the Kibbutz. These lectures cover ancient history, architecture, pottery and artifact preservation, but also deal with regional history, current political issues and conflict in the region, with visiting lectures by local leaders and scholars. During the weekends the group tours important historic sites and museums in Israel. At the end of the five-week season the group will travel to Jerusalem.