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"Digging, Digging, Digging:" An Interview with Dr. Ofer Bar-Yosef
Sam: When did you become an archaeologist or how old were you when you started?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: I was 11 years old when I did my first dig. I started participating officially when I was 20 years old and, during the 43 years since then, there have been only 3 summers when I did not dig.
Sam: What got you interested in archaeology?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: The love of history.
Sam: What training or education has helped you most as an archaeologist?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Doing my BA, MA, and Ph.D. at Hebrew University and digging, digging, digging...!
Sam: What field of archaeology do you work in?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Stone Age archaeology. I work with sites that are from 1.5 million to 5,500 years old.
Sam: Can you tell me about any interesting field experiences you've had?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Every project has its highlights. One main discovery was the Neanderthal skeleton in Kebara Cave. Everywhere I've worked, I've found interesting stone artifacts--Israel, Egypt, Turkey, the Republic of Georgia, the Czech Republic, and China.
Sam: How many hours a day do you work at a dig?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Generally, 8-10 hours a day, including digging and laboratory work.
Sam: What tools do you use?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Digging requires many small tools, picks, dental tools, small knives, buckets, sieves, etc.
Sam: What is your favorite thing about archaeology?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: I learn about the evolution of human behavior and human societies. One cannot understand our own societies without knowing the past.
Sam: Is there anything you don't like about archaeology?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Nothing--whatever may be unpleasant about archaeology is the same as in everyday life. We are sometime aggravated by the behavior of our friends and colleagues, or those who hold distinct views about everything and are not open to different viewpoints.
Sam: What would you say to a child who was thinking about archaeology for a career?
Dr. Bar-Yosef: Go ahead and do what you like! This is what my parents told me and I NEVER regretted becoming an archaeologist.