Digging into History

Burney sits in an office in front of a laptopJocelyn Burney is used to getting up early. Really early. For the last 10 years, her summer mornings have begun promptly at 4 a.m. as an area supervisor for an archaeological dig at Huqoq in Israel’s Lower Galilee.

Burney is a Ph.D. student in religious studies who got hooked on archaeology as a 19-year-old undergraduate at Carolina when Kenan Distinguished Professor Jodi Magness first took students to Huqoq. (Magness is now her dissertation adviser).

Burney will head back in June for another season, after graduating in May with her Ph.D. (She successfully defended her dissertation on March 28.)

She has a passion for public humanities work, and several UNC fellowships are supporting her research. She has a Maynard Adams Fellowship from Carolina Public Humanities and is the inaugural Uhlman Fellow in Jewish Studies Public Humanities, supported by CPH and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

As part of her Adams Uhlman Fellowship, Burney is working on a project to redesign a display case of ancient pottery on the first floor of Carolina Hall. The pottery, excavated from Tel Arad, Israel, in the northern Negev desert in 1962-1967, was brought to UNC by Bernard Boyd, a member of the excavation team and a founding member of the department of religious studies.

“This is something at the University that belongs to the public. But it’s been sitting here collecting dust. I want to research the history of this collection and to tell the story of how it got here,” said Burney.

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