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"You Have to Be Crazy about It!" An Interview with Dr. Amihai Mazar
Sam: When did you become an archaeologist or how old were you when you started?
Dr. Mazar: I started studying when I was 21, in 1963. I finished my Ph.D. in 1976, thirteen years later.
Sam: What got you interested in archaeology?
Dr. Mazar: My uncle was a famous archaeologist and I visited sites since I was a child--so I fell in love with the field.
Sam: What training or education has helped you most as an archaeologist?
Dr. Mazar: A lot of field work in addition to university training.
Sam: What kind of archaeological work or what field do you work in?
Dr: Mazar: Archaeology of the Bronze and Iron Ages in Israel ("biblical archaeology").
Sam: Can you tell me about any interesting field experiences you've had?
Dr. Mazar: Many... I found my most interesting artifacts during my first excavation back in 1973-74 at Tell Qasile near Tel Aviv where I excavated Philistine temples.
Sam: How many hours a day do you work at a dig?
Dr. Mazar: I work 7 hours in the field and then 6 more hours doing staff work in the afternoons and evenings.
Sam: What tools do you use?
Dr. Mazar: I use picks, shovels, pointed trowels, brooms, ice picks, wheelbarrows, sieves, and so on.
Sam: What is your favorite thing about archaeology?
Dr. Mazar: I like the combination of field work and actual discovery with intellectual work: writing, interpreting the finds, reading, learning, etc.
Sam: Is there anything you don't like about archaeology?
Dr. Mazar: There's always too much work to do...!
Sam: What would you say to a child who was thinking about archaeology for a career?
Dr. Mazar: Be careful!! There are not many jobs and those that are available are not very well paid. You have to be crazy about it!