Patterson spends summer digging in Jordan

From the Geneseo Republic (Geneseo, Illinois):

Sara Patterson spent her summer searching for the Romans.

The Geneseo native was part of a team that traveled to Dhiban, Jordan, to participate in an archeological dig.

“We were looking for evidence of Roman occupation,” she explained. “An inscription was found in the 1960s, and a lot of Roman pottery has been found, but we haven’t found a single Roman dwelling yet.”

“We were also looking for things from the Iron  Age. One of the reasons Dhiban is so important is because the Mesha Stele was found there.

“The Mesha Stele is a stone that dates from the 850s. It was written by Mesha, King of the Moabites about the conquering of their enemies, particularly the Israelites. It’s one of the first references to the Israelites outside of the Bible, which is why it’s so important,” she said.

Patterson is a 2005 Geneseo graduate. In May, she graduated from  Knox College with degrees in history and chemistry.

“I’d heard about the trip from a friend of mine who was taking a class from professor Danielle Steen Fatkin,” she said.

Steen Fatkin and fellow professor Katherine Adelsberger had received a $12,000 grant from the Associate Colleges of the Midwest to study at the archeological site.

“She was looking for a student interested in museum studies because they needed someone to also work with the museum in Madaba, Jordan, to revamp its exhibit on Dhiban,” said Patterson.
She volunteered for the experience. “To prepare, those of us who were going had to take a spring term class where we studied archeological theory. We learned about archeological techniques and learned some Arabic phrases.”

Students also were encouraged to take a Biblical history class to better acquaint themselves with the region.