Current Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology curator Melissa Cradic and former Badè curator Sam Pfister have been recognized by The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) for their work on a multi-platform project and web exhibition, Unsilencing the Archives: The Laborers of the Tell en-Nasbeh Excavations (1926-1935). They were awarded the inaugural Community Engagement and Public Outreach Award given at ASOR’s 2022 Annual Meeting held in Boston, MA in November.
The Community Engagement and Public Outreach Award recognizes individuals, teams, and organizations who have initiated outstanding educational, informational, or practical projects with the goal of making subjects and information about the ancient world accessible to wider (particularly non-academic) audiences.
Unsilencing the Archives: The Laborers of the Tell en-Nasbeh Excavations (1926-1935) showcases unpublished archival documents, photographs, and film held by the Badè Museum that illustrate the untold stories of local laborers, landowners, and Egyptian foremen who contributed to the excavations at Nasbeh in British Mandate Palestine.
This born-digital, open-access, and multi-platform project offers community-oriented resources that address equity, diversity, and inclusion in archaeology. The project focuses on the history of the archaeological collections from the Iron Age site of Tell en-Nasbeh (El Bireh, Palestine) housed at PSR’s Badè Museum. It weaves together historical photographs, film, and documents to tell the stories of the unnamed local laborers who dug the site, hauled dirt, and washed pottery.
As of November 2022, the interactive web exhibition has been viewed over 7,000 times. The YouTube-hosted programming has attracted 3,200 viewers, including descendant communities of individuals who were featured in the web exhibition and/or in the public lectures, fostering a direct connection between the Badè Museum’s archival collections and the communities that it represents.
The exhibit was developed with support from the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology and the Palestine Exploration Fund, a U.K.-based cultural heritage organization.
Melissa Cradic is an archaeologist and curator at the Badè Museum of Archaeology. She also holds appointments as Lecturer in History & Judaic Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY and as Lecturer in Anthropology at Sonoma State University. Her research and curatorial work have been supported by the Palestine Exploration Fund, American Schools of Oriental Research, U.S. Department of State/Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, University of Pennsylvania, National Endowment for the Humanities-Getty Research Institute, and German Archaeological Institute-Berlin. She holds a Ph.D. in Ancient History & Mediterranean Archaeology from University of California, Berkeley.
Sam Pfister was the Collections Manager at the Badè Museum from 2019 to 2021 and is co-curator of Unsilencing the Archives. Sam studied History and Anthropology at The George Washington University with a focus in Near Eastern Studies and currently works in marketing and event/convention planning in the tabletop gaming industry.
The American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to initiate, encourage, and support research into, and public understanding of, the history and cultures of the Near East and wider Mediterranean world, from the earliest times