When Hannah Harbin came to LCU on a basketball scholarship, she never dreamed that she would be digging in Jordan within a few years. A Lubbock home school graduate, Hannah began her studies with a desire to become a paleontologist, focusing at LCU on chemistry, earth science, and history. Following special topics research in the history of paleontology (with Honors professor Dr. Kregg Fehr) and the use of chemistry for archaeological research, Honors faculty worked together to create one very special opportunity: applying that research in the field. Old Testament specialist Dr. Jesse Long arranged for Hannah to join him on a summer dig at Khirbet Iskander in Jordan. Chemistry professors Dr. Julie Marshall and Dr. Amanda Boston aided Hannah in establishing research protocols and feasibility of the planned research.
In Jordan, Hannah is looking for chemical residues in pottery from the Early Bronze Age. By studying these residues of fats and oils used in cooking, researchers will learn more about diet patterns in those communities. This research will continue after Hannah returns from Jordan, as it will become the focus of her Honors senior research project. About her experience, Hannah wrote, “The dig is incredible! I’ve learned a lot about history, Khirbet Iskander, and archaeology, whether it’s from the directors or the people around here. There’s so much experience and wisdom here in all sorts of fields and cultures that I can’t help but ask questions.”
As an added serendipity, at Khirbet Iskander, Hannah has been assigned to dig with an Italian team. Dr. Long states, “Her supervisors are pleased with her work; in addition to learning excavation techniques, she should be fluent in Arabic and Italian when the season ends.” Perhaps she will not be fluent, but she will have gained much from this extraordinary opportunity.
Honors dean Dr. Stacy Patty notes that such learning experiences are a key component of the LCU honors experience. “We try to make possible a variety of opportunities for our students based on their particular interests and goals. I am most pleased when we see such successes as Hannah’s.”