The collection (or collected research) that I would love to see digitized, relates to an international study program I participated in during the Summer of 1999. I was able to travel to Israel, and work on an archaeological dig. The dig took place in Galilee, just outside of Nazareth at a tell called Khirbet Qana (or Khirbet Cana). Over the years since I participated in the dig, I have looked for digitized information on the research gathered at the dig, or online photos of some of the artifacts found during the dig, but there is currently no coordinated online digitization effort. It is disappointing, because I remember during the original dig that there was a regularly updated blog that included much of the information I was looking for, and I had hoped that the University of Puget Sound (who sponsored the dig) and Dr. Douglas Edwards (who led the dig) would continue the process of digitization and online records of the program. Unfortunately, it is my understanding that Dr. Edwards passed away a few years ago, which may have impacted the digitization program, or the program as a whole.
I was able to locate some of the dig information in the University of Puget Sound’s Digital Collections, where they have digitized images of some of the artifacts found and some of the documentation used during the dig process. Unfortunately it is incomplete, though the site is unclear as to whether this is because the library is not finished with the digitization process or because no further digitization is currently planned. The digitization only goes through 1999 and at least one more season was completed that I know of. The Khirbet Qana dig was important, because it worked to establish an important Biblical site. There is more than one site which could be the location of the Biblical story of Jesus turning the water into wine, and Khirbet Qana is one of the sites. The archaeological digs at the tell were providing valuable insight into the history of the location.
Of the various objects found in Qana, or the documents created, those I would most like to see digitized are the dig journals of the various dig leaders. These journals incorporate the data found and the facts accumulated with the opinions of experienced archaeologists forming theories about the uses of the various areas of the site, and the evidence used to support those theories. They also give valuable insight into the techniques used, something extremely important, as archaeology is still a developing science. By digitizing these types of documents, they can be made available to those researching the Khirbet Qana project, or developing a new dig from anywhere. Books and magazines are less portable, especially in these days of weight regulations for luggage and baggage limits. Digitization would permit a user to bring the information to remote digs through satellite connections or wireless Internet. If a question regarding a specific technique arose at a dig site, the leaders could look at the relevant previous digs and see how those who used it previously evaluated the technique, and suggestions for circumventing any issues that might be caused by the technique.
The digitization of these documents would provide easy access for those interested in the dig site, whether for personal or academic use. In addition, it would allow remote access for scholars interested in the results of the techniques, or those working at the site during future digs, allowing a look back at both the previous information, as well as providing an understanding of the choices previous dig leaders in deciding where to dig and how deep a square would be completed, allowing choices to be made in the future which complement those already in place at the dig site.
“Unique Collections : Item Viewer.” The University of Puget Sound Digital Collections. Web. 22 Oct. 2010. <http://digitalcollections.pugetsound.edu/cdm5/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/canalogs&CISOPTR=930&CISOBOX=1&REC=4>.