Our Team

WHO WE ARE


Below are the bios of Dig the Past’s senior staff. Our full cadre of archaeology instructors and assistants are based in various locations throughout North America and Israel.

Dr. Aaron Greener,
Director and Project Manager

Growing up in Jerusalem, Aaron Greener had always been intrigued by the history and archaeology of his city. Today, this fascination has turned into a profession as Aaron, co-founder of Dig the Past, integrates his archaeological knowledge and experience with his passion for teachingץ After winning first place in an IDF contest on the Land of Israel and Military History (on the subject of Jerusalem), Aaron completed a PhD at Bar-Ilan University’s Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology Department, and also holds an official Israeli excavator’s license. Through the years, Aaron has gained much experience as an excavator and guide at archaeological sites, including Tell-es-Safi (Gath), Maresha and Tell ‘Eton. In 2002, Aaron served as an archaeologist on a UNESCO mission documenting the Jewish community of Izmir, Turkey. In 2004, Aaron and fellow archaeologist Mechael Osband planned and managed the “Diggin’ Israel” archaeological program for Melitz and the Shalom Street Children’s Museum in Detroit. The overwhelming enthusiasm at Shalom Street led the pair to establish Dig the Past. Aside from directing Dig the Past, Aaron develops and teaches courses on archaeology, and participates in various digs. He serves as an archaeologist at the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Aaron lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two sons.

 

Dr. Mechael Osband,
Educational Director

Mechael has directed and participated in many excavations in Israel, including Tell-es-Safi (Gath), Khirbet Rasm, Tel Maresha, and the Golan. Besides being a field archaeologist, he works in Israel as a tour guide and educator.  Born in Boston, Mechael moved to Israel in 1995 and lives in the Golan with his family.


 

Melanie Takefman,
Director of Communication

Melanie Takefman has extensive experience in communication, including work in the nonprofit sector and print, broadcast and online journalism. A native of Montreal, Canada, her career has spanned four continents.

Most recently, Melanie served as the communication manager of the New Israel Fund’s New England regional office. While living in Israel, she was the North Africa correspondent for The Media Line, a multimedia news agency. At the same time, she worked as a copy and foreign editor at The Jerusalem Post. Earlier, she taught computer courses at Mujeres en Acción, a women’s organization in Tarija, Bolivia.

Melanie holds a master’s degree in communication from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree with great distinction from McGill University. In addition to English, Melanie is fluent in Hebrew, French and Spanish.


 

Owen Chesnut,
Instructor

Owen is a Ph.D. student in Biblical Archaeology at Andrews University. He is working on his dissertation about Tell Safut, a site 12 km north of Amman in Jordan. In addition he is teaching several classes at the undergrad level at Andrews. He has participated in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, excavated at Tell es-Safi, and is currently a staff member and undergrad field school coordinator for the sites of Tall Jalul and Tall Hisban. Owen earned his B.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Old Testament studies from Wheaton College, and his M.A. in Historical Geography from Jerusalem University College.

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