The Centre of Prehistoric Archaeology in the Near East (PANE) is a young institution. PANE was founded in 2009 by archaeologist Inna Mateiciucová and cultural anthropologist Maximilian Wilding. The school’s design is inspired by the job-practical experiences gathered during archaeological fieldwork of at the Neolithic site Tell Arbid Abyad (Syria), from 2006 till 2010. PANE is currently conducting prehistoric research at a vanished lake in the mountainous hinterland of northern Oman. Another research project at a Neolithic site in Jordan is in preparation.
PANE’s main focus in teaching and research on the prehistoric periods of the Near East is unique in Europe. The courses, nonetheless, encompass also the older part of the Ancient history (approx. until the emergence of Persian Empire), including the language basics of Assyriology (Sumerian and Akkadian). In order to allow the students to gain as comprehensive knowledge as possible, the topic of prehistory and Ancient history in the Near East is studied in a wider culture-historical, anthropological, and natural scientific context.
The study program is specifically tailored for applied research. It has the following unique features:
1)focus on archaeological field practice and the gaining of new experiences (in the fore: applicability of the academic training)
2)cultivation of inter/national contacts (courses are held by seasoned experts as well as up-start researchers with fresh views, possibilities to participate in excavations / internships / conferences abroad)
3)enhanced coaching of theses and first projects by the involvement of expert in their field
4)supporting a multi-linguistic platform for Czech and foreign researchers and students (for international congress attendance, internships, cooperation with projects abroad etc.)
5)embracing development, interdisciplinary cooperation and novel scientific trends
6)student-oriented (individual coaching, offering juniors the possibility to actively take part in the management of PANE)
7)considering stakeholders beyond archaeology proper (other scientific disciplines, the educational environment, public, media, communities, etc.) by making acquainted with ongoing intellectual/societal discourses
The study of archaeology at PANE is interlinked with cultural anthropology, as the aim is to study humankind in its complexity including the socio-cultural expressions of the local communities that prehistorians actually get in touch with during excavating. Firsthand experience with current Near-Eastern groups and their cultural identity is a great part of that and requires that students acquire also the basics of Arabic and optionally one other language (e.g. Turkish, Russian). The study plan is often complemented by courses reflecting contemporary topics and new trends in the field while supporting the students in interdisciplinary cooperation and their further development. The study program is designed to allow for an individual career path with the emphasis on a professional, active and responsible attitude. In line with this students are offered the possibility to take part in running the centre and the library (science administration) or to take part in organizing public lectures, workshops and other activities. All is based on mutual trust, or rather the direct relationship between lecturers and students within one team (good starting point for challenging field research abroad). The approach constantly nourishes the self-trust, focus, interactive skill and adaptability that facilitates the integration of MU junior students in field-archaeological teams operating in various part of SW Asia.
A successful graduate is able to…
●orient him/herself well in the problematics of prehistoric archaeology of the Near East (from the Palaeolithic to the end of the 4th mill. BC);
●get an overview of the region‘s history, religion, culture, and former languages of the ancient Near East (mainly in the Bronze and Iron Age);
●use the helpful basics from applied culture anthropology and ethnographic field research;
●engage, communicate, and behave adequately in culturally different environments (content focused on intercultural communication, manifold contact and cooperation with international researchers during the study, intensive courses in Arabic and basics in Turkish)
PANE’s main goal is to educate practice-oriented specialists with an impetus to contribute to prehistorical archaeology with their own research and specific skills that allow them to be competitive at the global job market for archaeologists. Already during their bachelor and master studies, the students are invited to take part in various activities involving a lot of team building exercise, and from the start they are involved in organization of events such as workshops, public lectures, and excursions where they learn how to cooperate and communicate. These and other skills are tested in compulsory field projects each year. We specifically expect our students to obtain practical experience in archaeology and actively support them doing so. Beyond the necessary knowledge of prehistoric archaeology the training of PANE at the Philosophical Faculty builds above-average language skills, familiarity with different academic/cultural backgrounds, work precision, resourcefulness and orientational skill in social situations that makes their graduates especially fit to participate in challenging science undertakings with an expedition-character. The “PANE package” involves also courses in cultural anthropology and ethnoarchaeology that broaden the student’s view of the world and contribute to the balancing and open-minded attitude, free from bias, which is at the heart of all university achievement and singly shapes alumni.
Thus the students are well-prepared for practice in archaeological fields or in other culturally active organizations, such as museums, publishing houses, non-profit organizations, likewise for niche jobs in education, trade, media and diplomatic service. Through the practice-experience and general education acquired during the Bachelor degree studies is a particularly good starting point for a job hunt in the tourist industry as well as other branches that place a high value on joint solution-finding, adaptability, vigor and authentic communication experience.
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