Meet Our Diggers: Gili Kuperberg

Gili Kuperberg

Gili Kuperberg
Age 25
From: Kiryat Ono
First year student at TAU

AZ: Gili, what got you started in archaeology?

GK: From childhood I was always intersted in history- National Geographic, programs. I did not get any of this in school- my pursuit was on my own.

AZ: How did you get to this excavation? And to Tel Aviv University?

GK: After school I served in the Israeli army by running the intelligence service’s helpdesk. It was very consuming and very enjoyable. They would tell me, “Go home! There is a tomorrow!” I worked for 2.5 years as the service desk in an insurance company, helping the agents in the field.

AK: You are just starting your university education now?

GK: My mother told me she did not feel learning archaeology was in my best interests.  She felt other pursuits had a clearer purpose in society, and would safeguard earning a living. I told her, “Mom, I have no interest in those things, I will only be able to devote myself to history and archaeology, and I will pay for my education myself.”

So I went to work and indeed am paying my tuition and expenses myself, though I still live at home.  I packed my schedule with classes this year while I can still afford to sit and study – and I am loving it. Perhaps next year I will take fewer classes and also work, we shall see.

AK: What are your particular interests?

GK: Ancient Egypt always fascinated me  – the mummies, the buildings, the culture . So I am taking the archaeology and the cultural tracks with Egypt as my main focus, while also learning Akkadian and other subjects. Our teachers at Tel Aviv University are crazy about their subjects;  like, you can never say that …’s class is boring, never ever, it is such a performance.

AK: So you are in it for the long term?

GK: I cannot see it any other way. For a Master’s degree you must be fluent in another language, and my parents really “live” in Yiddish, so I thought I would learn German. But my grandmother and I used to speak Yiddish together , and she passed away. I miss her, and have no one to speak Yiddish with regularly now.

AK: How are you fitting in socially in a much broader environment than your home town and your home, and without old friends who are sharing your dreams and studies?

GK: I was concerned about that when I came. After a short while I found myself with many new friends and well integrated. It is wonderful.

AK: How is the dig going?

GK: I absolutely love it, I am thrilled to be digging in Azekah.

AK: Gili, a bi gezundt! Your enthusiam is contagious.


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