Learning a Different Way

by Yolanda Norton

I am a third year doctoral student at Vanderbilt in the Graduate Department of Religion studying Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. In addition, I am ordained clergy and I spend a great deal of time dedicated to ministry. My interest in archaeology is relevant to both my work as a burgeoning scholar and as someone squarely situated in the church. During the school year I spend my days and nights in the library, in class, teaching and learning both in an academic setting and in the church. I enjoy what I do; I find great purpose in it.

However, my time digging at Jezreel brings new meaning to the work that I do. While participating in the dig, I get to see history unfold before my eyes. It is a new way of learning and being; to peel back the layers and try to piece together the world of people that existed long ago.


I was reluctant to participate in any form of archaeology when the opportunity presented itself last year. However, after being a part of the Jezreel team last year and this year, I can’t imagine any of my work moving forward without this experience. In each moment I find myself trying to cultivate a larger picture that fuses together biblical literature, historical data, and the tangible material world that surrounds me each day on the tel.