Archaeological Excavations in Israel 2004

Archaeological Excavations in Israel 2004




This list of archaeological expeditions which accept volunteers is compiled by the Israel Foreign Ministry as a service to the public. The excavation details below been contributed by the archaeologists in charge of the individual expeditions, who bear responsibility for their contents.

NOTE: Any questions, comments or requests for additional information must be directed to the contact person indicated for each project, and not to the Israel Foreign Ministry.


Many archaeologists enlist volunteer help on their digs, as volunteers are highly motivated and wish to learn and gain experience, although the work is often difficult and tedious. Usually, no previous experience is necessary. The work includes digging, shovelling, hauling baskets of earth and sherds, cleaning pottery sherds and more. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Israel.


Accommodations for volunteers can range from sleeping bags in the field, to rooms in hostels or kibbutzim, to 3-star hotels near a site. Each expedition has its own accommodation arrangements.

There is usually a charge for food and lodging, although on some excavations these are free. All charges listed are in US dollars. Volunteers who require kosher food should inquire in advance. Excavations conducted in or near a city often require volunteers to find their own accommodations.


Volunteers should have comfortable, sturdy clothes for heavy work. Sunhats are absolutely compulsory in summer; warm clothing is suggested for summer evenings as the weather can be cool. Winters are wet and cold; warm clothes and water-proof boots are necessary.

Equipment that may be useful - depending on the conditions at the site and the type of accommodation available - includes work-gloves, sleeping bag, canteen, towels and sunscreen lotion.


The work schedule at an excavation is organized according to the conditions at the site. A day on an average dig begins before dawn and ends after noon. There is normally a rest period after lunch. The afternoons and early evenings may be devoted to lectures, additional excavation work, cleaning and sorting of pottery and other finds, or they may be free.


Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions. Details concering subjects, conditions and cost may be obtained by contacting the expedition director.


Most expedition directors (or other staff members) offer informal lectures covering the history and archaeology of the site and discussion of the type of work involved. Volunteers should feel free to request information regarding an excavation in order to be able to appreciate all aspects of the work.


Recreational facilities (swimming pools, beaches and sporting grounds) may be available, depending on the location of the site. Most expeditions organize sightseeing and field trips to sites in the area and to neighboring museums.


In most cases, volunteers must arrange for medical and accident insurance in advance. Even in instances when accident insurance is provided, it is strongly advised that volunteers come fully insured as the insurance offered is minimal.


When applying to the director of an excavation you should indicate any previous studies you may have in archaeology or related fields, such as anthropology, architecture, geography, surveying, graphic arts; or experience in excavation work, pottery restoration or photography.

For registration, please contact the persons listed in the individual entries. Please note that a registration fee is often required.

Note: Israel Ministry of Interior regulations require that passports of all volunteers (other than Israeli) be stamped with a volunteer visa (B4). This request should be made by the volunteer at the point of entry into Israel.

Israel Antiquities Authority - Programs for organized groups


(Listed by starting date)

Note: This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.
While links to excavation websites are provided below, not all have
been updated with information for the 2004 digs.

Tiberias March 7 - April 1
Omrit late May - late June
Megiddo June 6 - July 22
Zeitah June 11 - July 17
Tel Hazor June 22 - August 3
Tel Dor June 29 - July 31
Sha'ar Hagolan July 4 - August 13
Tell es-Safi July 11 August 6
Ramat Hanadiv June 27 - July 22
Kinneret Regional Project August 1-27
Hippos (Sussita) September 5 - October 8

Note: There will be no excavations at Yavneh-Yam and Tel Rehov in 2004. The next field excavations at these sites are scheduled for 2005.

TIBERIAS Tiberias was the major city of the Jeiwsh people in the Roman and Byzantine periods (2nd-7th centuries AD). It is here that the Palestinian Talmud was compiled and edited. The city's association with the life of Jesus contributed to its major role in the Christian world. Because of its rich history, Tierias has long been considered an exciting place for archaeological work, and many hoards and remarkable artifacts have been found at the site.
The upcoming excavation - the first season of a long-term project - will serve as a complement to our past excavations in Ein Gedi, where we uncovered part of a Jewish village from the same period.
Director: Prof. Yizhar Hirschfield, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Assoc.Dir.: Prof. Katharina Galor, Brown Univeristy, Providence, Rhode Island
Dates: March 7 - April 1
Accommodation: Kibbutz Maagan resort, 2 to 3 people per 2-room unit, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee., double rooms at extra cost. Full room and board (kosher) during workdays (Sunday-Thursday). Multi-week participants must make own arrangements if they wish to stay at kibbutz over the weekend.
Cost: $60-$95 per night, room and board for 5-day work week, depending on type of accommodation.
Registration fee: $30 (non-refundable). Returning volunteers exempt.
Minimum participation: One week
Work hours: Mon.-Thurs. 06:00-13:30.
Recreation: Swimming in pool or Sea of Galilee, resort bar, movies and concerts at nearby Beit Gavriel, Tiberias hot spa. Weekends at leisure.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905. Tel: 972-2-5881512; fax: 972-2-582-5548.
Viviana Moscovich - E-mail:
OMRIT Located in the northeast Huleh Valley at the base of Mount Hermon, Omrit was discovered when a 1998 fire in the northeastern Galilee revealed an ancient building complex not far from Kiryat Shmona, with ornate Corinthian capitals and other massive architectural elements were strewn on the ground. Excavations have revealed two successive temples on the same spot as well as an imperial public building which may be the temple Herod erected in honor of the Roman emperor Augustus in the area of Banias.
Directors: Prof. J. Andrew Overman from Macalester College, St. Paul, USA and Gaby Mazor, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem
Dates: Late May - late June
Accommodation: Kibbutz Kfar Szold, hotel-style rooms with air conditioning and kitchenettes.
Cost: $50 per day for room and board.
Application deadline: March 15
Work hours: Excavation - 5:00-12:00; pottery washing and reading - 13:30-18:00. Lecture - 20:00.
Workdays: Monday-Saturday morning.
Minimum stay: Two weeks.
Recreation: Swimming pool, basketball courts, and an on site night club. Horse riding.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance, and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Andy Overman, Dept. of Classics, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105; Fax: 651-696-6498; E-mail:
Website: For more information and application form see:
MEGIDDO Megiddo was inhabited continuously for six millennia (ca. 7000-500 BCE) and sporadically occupied for another millennium. Its location explains its longevity: nearby, a road emerged into the Jezreel Valley from the coastal plain, linking Egypt in the south with Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia in the north and east. This was the Via Maris, the "Way of the Sea". Megiddo controlled a bottleneck on this road, and with it long-distance trade and traffic. The Book of Revelation accords Megiddo a crucial role in the future, promising an eschatological battle there, where the children of light triumph over the forces of evil. Armageddon is literally "the hill of Megiddo".
Directors: Israel Finkelstein and David Ussishkin, Tel Aviv University.
The Megiddo Expedition operates under the auspices of Tel Aviv University. Senior American partner: Pennsylvania State University. The 2004 Season will operate under the auspices of TAU only.
Dates: June 6 - July 22.
See website for available sessions.
Accommodation: Kibbutz Megiddo. 3 to 4 people per room, double rooms at extra cost. Full room and board (kosher) during workdays (Sunday-Thursday). You are free to stay on the kibbutz for the entire weekend or to take day trips - meals not provided.
Cost: To be announced.
Academic credit: Each course carries 3 credits, from The Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University. Tuition fees are $100 per credit. Responsibility for arranging credit with the home institution rests with the student. For full course information see website. Study tours to other archaeological sites currently being excavated for all those enrolled in the education program.
Work hours: Sun.-Thurs. 05:00-13:00; afternoon and evening activities include pottery washing (required) and reading. Those not registered in the credit courses will be required to attend certain lectures in order to learn how to handle finds properly.
Recreation: Swimming pool and sports facilites on kibbutz. Kibbutz tour available. Weekends at leisure.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Norma Franklin -
Website: For more information and application form see:
ZEITAH One of the major goals of the Zeitah excavations is to clarifying our understanding of life in a local, town setting in ancient Israel. A strategically located "outlying" town, Zeitah (Hebrew "Zayit") lies in the Beth Guvrin Valley, roughly halfway between the Israelite city of Lachish and Tell es Safi (Philistine Gath).
During the three excavations seasons, volunteers discovered a large Late Bronze Age public building or palace and have studied a massive destruction level also dating to the Late Bronze Age. There is also significant destruction at the Iron Age II (ninth century BCE) level that is thought to be associated with an invasion by Arameans.
In 2003 attention will be focused on two areas of excavation: 1) a large, public building (possibly constructed by the Egyptians) that dates to the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1300 BCE) and that lies smothered beneath 4.5 meters of destruction debris;
2) later destruction level dating from the early Iron Age II (Old Testament period) and involving another building, which the Aramaeans from Damascus likely destroyed during a ninth century BCE incursion into southern Palestine.
Director: Ron E. Tappy, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Dates: June 11 - July 17
Accommodation: Kibbutz Gal'on - hostel-style rooms, A/C.
Cost for volunteers: Room and board: $1,400 for full five weeks; $1,200 for four weeks; and $960 for three weeks.
Registration fee: US $25 (non-refundable). Spplied toward the total cost charged to volunteers accepted for the excavation.
Application deadline: April 9 (group flight participants) or May 14 (independent travelers).
Academic program: Students are encouraged to arrange for credit through their home institution. Credit may also be earned through Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Course description. Tuition through PTS costs $500 for three quarter units or $1,000 for six quarter units.
Work hours: Excavation - 5:00-13:00; pottery washing and scheduled lectures in the afternoon and evening.
Workdays: Monday-Friday.
Minimum stay: 3 weeks (preference to full 5-week session).
Recreation: Overnight field trips (optional for those not taking field school credit through Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) will take place on two mid-season weekends ($125 apiece).
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance, and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Dr. Ron E. Tappy, The Zeitah Excavations, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206-2596
Tel: 412-441-3304 x2126; Fax: 412-486-0776
Website: For more information and application form see:
TEL HAZOR Hazor is a major site in the Galilee. In this season the levels of the Israelite and Canaanite period will be explored.
Director: Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University
Dates: June 22 - August 3. The season is divided into two 3 week sessions. Preference will be given to those who apply for the entire 6-week season.
Accommodation: ETAP Hotel Galilee
Cost: $810 per session ($270 per week x 3) or $1500 for those who register for the entire period (full board).
Registration fee: $25.
Credit courses: Participants who wish to receive academic credit must make the appropriate arrangements with their own educational institutions. At the end of the season each participant will receive a certificate attesting to his/her participation in the excavations, lectures and field trips.
Work hours: Excavation: 5:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with additional work assignments in the afternoon and the evenings.
Lectures: A series of lectures during the week will provide training in field archaeology and the interpretation of finds.
Recreation: The expedition will organize tours (conducted or otherwise) to sites of your choice, provided enough participants are interested, at extra cost.
Minimum age: 18
Minimum participation: 3 weeks.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel
Tel. 972-2-5882403/4; Fax. 972-2-5825548.
Website: For registration details and application form see:
TEL DOR Tel Dor is a major Canaanite-Phoenician-Hellenistic-Roman port on the Mediterranean coast, located in present day Israel between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site was excavated between 1980 and 2000 by a team directed by Ephraim Stern of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with several other institutions worldwide. Starting on the summer of 2004, a new consortium, consisting of three Israeli and four American universities, as well as a large multi-disciplinary and multi-national team of scholars and experts, has reopened the excavation. The Dor consortium will focus upon the Roman, Hellenistic, and Persian remains on the south side of the site, paying specific attention to its urban development, monumental buildings, and dwelling houses; will undertake limited excavation and scientific sampling of the Iron Age remains at the center of the site; and will continue preparing previously-excavated areas for publication.
Dates: June 29 - July 31
Director: Dr. Ilan Sharon, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University)
Accommodation: Nahsholim Seaside Resort Hotel; air-conditioned rooms, up to four per unit. Includes full board: breakfast & dinner at the hotel + light lunch on site.
Cost: The cost for a full season is 2200 Euro / $2625 (or the equivalent); the cost for a half season is 1500 Euro / $1855 (or the equivalent).
Registration deposit: 100 Euro / $200.
Work hours: Excavation: 5:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, sorting finds, office work in the afternoon, lectures. Saturday and Sunday free. Weekend field trips at additional cost.
Academic credit: Academic credit will be available through the participating academic institutions.
Recreation: Sports facilities, diving, boating & sailing, trips are available at the resort and/or adjacent beach.
Minimum age: 18
Minimum participation: Two weeks.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Talia Goldman, Tel Dor project, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905 Israel
In the USA, please contact Prof. Andrew Stewart:
Website: For information on site & project see:
For registration details and application forms:
In North America:
SHA'AR HAGOLAN The Neolithic village of Sha'ar Hagolan (ca. 8000-7500 years ago) is the largest and most important prehistoric art center in Israel. Over 150 art objects were collected from its surface over the course of many years. In the past it was not possible to conduct large scale excavations at the site, since it was covered by fish-ponds and olive trees.
Lately, on economic grounds, the fish ponds and the olives grove fell into disuse. As a result, it has become possible to conduct excavations at the largest prehistoric art center in Israel.
Directors: Dr. Yosef Garfinkel, Hebrew University and Michele A. Miller, Boston University
Dates: July 4 - August 13
Accommodation: Kibbutz Sha'ar Hagolan Guest House; air-conditioned rooms, four persons to a room.
Cost: $225 per week room and board, including the weekend ($1200 for 6 weeks).
Registration fee: $50.
Academic program: Academic credit is provided by the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: 3 undergraduate credits for three weeks and 6 undergraduate credits for six weeks ($100 per credit + $50 registration fee).
Work hours: 05:15-13:00 in field; 16:30-18:00: laboratory work.
Recreation: The kibbutz has an Olympic size swimming pool, free of charge during opening hours when a lifeguard is present.
Minimum age: 18
Minimum participation: Two weeks.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance, and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Dr. Yosef Garfinkel, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91905 Jerusalem, Israel
Tel. 972-2-5854591; Fax: 972-2-5825548.
Website: For registration details and application form see:
TELL ES-SAFI/GATH Tell es-Safi (Hebrew Tel Tsafit), Israel, is a commanding mound located on the border between the Judean foothills (the Shephelah) and the coastal plain, approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon. At about 100 acres in size, it is one of the largest and most important pre-Classical period archaeological sites in Israel. Tell es-Safi is identified as Canaanite and Philistine Gath (known from the Bible as the home of Goliath and Achish) and Crusader Blanche Garde. The site was inhabited continuously from the Chalcolithic period (5th millennium BCE) until 1948 CE.
Major finds from the first few seasons include: a 9th century BCE destruction layer with extraordinarily rich remains; a unique siege trench dating to the Iron Age surrounding the site, apparent evidence of an Aramaic siege; and a rich stratigraphic sequence covering the Early Bronze through Iron Ages (ca. 28th-8th centuries BCE).
Director: Dr. Aren Maeir
Dates: July 11 - Aug 6
Accommodation: Kibbutz Kfar Menahem. Rooms (air-conditioned - 3-4 per room; single and double rooms available at extra charge).
Cost for volunteers: US$300 per week, 2 week minimum, or US$1150 for entire 4 weeks. Includes room and board (kosher food), including weekends, transportation to and from the site during excavation, and various dig-related activities.
Does not include medical and accident insurance; travel to and from Israel; travel to and from airport to base camp (Kibbutz Kfar Menahem) and travel to and from base camp on weekends.
Registration fee: US$25 (non-refundable).
Application deadline: May 1
Academic program: Students participating in the entire program can earn 6 university credits from Bar-Ilan University. Total cost: US$2250
Work hours: Excavation - 6:00-1:00; afternoon - various excavation related processes (such as pottery reading) and occasional tours.
Workdays: Sunday-Friday.
Minimum age: 18
Minimum stay: For volunteers - 2 weeks; for students in academic program - entire 4 weeks.
Recreation: Field trips (twice weekly); kibbutz pool; Thursday evening, Argentinean-style Bar-B-Que.
Lecture/class: Twice a week, in evenings.
Minimum age: Volunteers under the age of 18 must have the written consent of their parents/legal guardians.
Insurance: Applicants must have medical authorization and health insurance (which is valid in Israel!) and complete medical form.
Contact: Dr. Aren M. Maeir, The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900 Israel
TEL: (972) 3 531-8299/8350; FAX: (972) 3 535-1233
E-mail: or
Website: For more information and registration package see: or
RAMAT HANADIV Ramat Hanadiv lies on the southern edge of Mt. Carmel, about 10 km. northeast of Caesarea. Past excavations have uncovered a palatial complex from the time of King Herod (end of 1st century BCE), which was in use until the Great Revolt in the second half of the 1st century CE. The site contains a rich assemblage of finds from the Early Roman period, including pottery vessels, glassware, coins and metal objects, reflecting many facets of daily life. The site is very well preserved, with many of the palance walls found standing to a height of over two meters.
This season will focus on the excavation of the palace's residential area.
Director: Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dates: June 27 - July 22
Accommodation: Kibbutz Ma'ayan Zvi
Cost: 70$ per day, Sunday afternoon until Friday morning. Cost includes full room and board, three per room, transportation to and from the site during excavation.
Registration fee: US$30 (non-refundable).
Application deadline: May 30, 2004
Work hours: Excavation - Monday-Thursday 5:30-1:00
Minimum stay: 1 week
Minimum age: High school
Recreation: Private access to the sea from the rooms.
Lectures: Lectures about the excavation will be offered in the evenings.
Insurance: All volunteers must carry proof of a valid health/accident insurance policy.
Contact: Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, Ramat Hanadiv Excavations, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905. Tel: 972-2-5881512; fax: 972-2-582-5548.
Prof. Galor - E-mail:
Website: For more information and application form see:
KINNERET REGIONAL PROJECT Tell el-'Oreimeh/Tel Kinrot (ancient Kinneret) is situated on the Northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee controlling the ancient route of the Via Maris. While previous work concentrated on the summit of the mound, where the remains of an Iron Age II fortress town were uncovered, the renewed excavations concentrate on the Eastern slope of the natural ridge. In this sector impressive remains of a large town of the Early Iron Age period have been discovered.
Directors: Stefan Muenger (Bern University/Fribourg University), Dr. Juha Pakkala (Helsinki University), Dr. Juergen Zangenberg (University of Wuppertal)
Dates: August 1-27
Accommodation: Full board and accommodation (5-6 pers./room, weekends included) in air-conditioned rooms with bathroom at the Karei Deshe Youth Hostel.
Minimum stay: Whole season.
Cost: 500 euros for students, 1000 euros for others. Returnees get a reduction of 100 euros.
Minimum age: 21
Recreation: Private access to the beach of the Sea of Galilee. Guided tours on weekends to other archaeological sites around the Sea of Galilee and elsewhere.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Dr. Juergen Zangenberg, Siegesstrasse 94, Wuppertal, D-42285, Germany
Tel: 49-(0)202-89 85 24
Website: Website:
HIPPOS (SUSSITA) Hippos (Sussita) is located on the eastern shore of Tiberias Lake, a short distance from Kibbutz Ein-Gev. The site, one of two cities of the Decapolis located in Israel, which is situated on the top of a flat diamond shaped mountain, 350 m. above the Sea of Galilee, was entirely surrounded by a wall.
In this season we plan to: Continue the excavation of the Temenos and the Hellenistic compound, continue revealing the forum and shops, the north-west and north-east churches, and the city's main gate.
Director: Prof. Arthur Segal, University of Haifa
Dates: September 5 - October 8. The season is divided into 5 weekly sessions. Preference will be given to those who apply for the entire season.
Accommodation: Youth hostel, Kibbutz Ein Gev; 3-5 people per room.
Cost: The cost of participation is $390 per week or $1600 for the entire 5 week season.
Registration fee: $100 (nonrefundable) in personal or bank check. Fee will be deducted from total cost of participants.
Work hours: Excavation (Sunday-Thursday): 05:00-12:30, with additional work assignments in the afternoon and the evenings.
Recreation: On weekends participants may relax or travel on their own or enjoy on the shore of the Tiberias Lake.
Minimum age: 16
Minimum participation: 5 working days (Sunday-Thursday).
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact: Mr. Michael Eisenberg, Assistante to Project Director, Hippos (Sussita) Project, Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Tel. 972-4-8249392; Fax: 972-4-8249876
Website: For registration details and application form

Israel Antiquities Authority - Programs for Organized Groups

The Israel Antiquities Authority's Department of Education and Information is responsible for educational programs in archaeology and heritage preservation. The department runs three centers for archaeology, offering tours, workshops, activities, enrichment courses and opportunities to participate in excavations - for organized groups only.

For further information, please contact:

    The Center for Archaeology in the Galilee
    Israel Antiquities Authority
    PO Box 35
    Nahalal 10600
    Tel./Fax.: 972-6-6415607,8

    The Center For Archaeology in Jerusalem
    POB 586
    91004 Jerusalem
    Tel.: 972-2-5602621, 972-050-512113
    Fax: 972-2-5602628, 972-2-6285054

    The Center for Archaeology in the Negev
    Israel Antiquities Authority
    HaTzav St. 1
    PO Box 271
    Omer 84965
    Tel./Fax: 972-7-6469940

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