The Bible frequently mentions the Philistine port city of Ashkelon. Samson went there in a rage and killed 30 men (Judges 14:19); David referred to Ashkelon in his poignant elegy for Saul and Jonathan, when he learned they had been slain by the Philistines at the Battle of Gilboa (2 Samuel 1:20); and the seventh-century B.C. prophet Zephaniah predicted that “Ashkelon shall become a desolation” (Zephaniah 2:4).
Past seasons have uncovered a vast array of remains, including Canaanite and Philistine buildings, Persian period (539–332 B.C.) warehouses, a huge and mysterious dog cemetery, a Roman and Byzantine bath-house and bordello, and Islamic houses and streets. This year, work will continue in the areas listed above. In addition, excavation will begin along the quayside of what is thought to be the Philistine harbor.
Volunteers may choose between two sessions: the first is from April 17 through May 31, with a cost of $1,000 plus airfare. This covers room, board and field trips. The second session is from June 12 through July 28, with a cost of $1,300 plus airfare. This covers room, board, field trips, lectures and workshops. Those who wish to participate in both sessions will get a combined rate of $2,000. A few three-week ($600) and four-week ($750) stays are available during both sessions. Students may receive academic credit during the second session only. Six to eight semester hours or one to two graduate units are available, by arrangement, through the volunteer’s own institution. Accommodations are at a four-star hotel on the beach.
Contact: Prof. Lawrence E. Stager, Harvard University, The Semitic Museum, 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: (617) 495–5756.
Located in Jerusalem’s Rephaim Valley, where King David defeated the Philistines (2 Samuel 5), Ein Yael was a major agricultural area during Biblical times. A terraced farm at the site dates to the Iron II period (1000–586 B.C.) or earlier. Excavation of a Roman villa from the mid-third century A.D. has revealed beautiful mosaic floors and frescoed walls. A Roman bath-house and an ancient water system with irrigation channels have also been uncovered.
The aim of the 1988 season, from May through August, will be to excavate and restore the Roman bath-house, including a frescoed wall. A general restoration of the site will also begin, and further experiments in ancient technology will be made. The Ein Yael “Living Museum” offers the public hands-on experience with ancient crafts, such as spinning, dyeing, weaving, pottery-making and metallurgy. The site is open to visitors, by appointment, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. Guided tours are also available.
Volunteers pay only a $25 registration fee, but they must arrange for room and board at their own expense at one of the many hostels and hotels in the Jerusalem area. Daily transportation to the site, from central pick-up points in the city, will be provided. On-site camping with meals included, available only to groups of 20 or more persons, costs $100 per week (Sunday through Thursday), with weekend accommodations by special arrangement.
Contact: Gershon Edelstein Israel Dept. of Antiquities, P.O. Box 586, Jerusalem, Israel. Tel: (02) 278–601/2/3, or after March, call Sara Aurant, (02) 668–678.
Banias (Caesarea Philippi)
Lying at the foot of Mt. Hermon, Banias overlooks the Jordan Valley’s fertile north end. A source of the Jordan River flows from a cave nearby, where the Greeks dedicated a shrine “to Pan and the Nymphs,” according to an inscription. As Polybius tells, Antiochus the Great defeated Egypt in an important battle here in about 200 B.C. Josephus records that Herod the Great erected a temple to Augustus here, and that Herod’s son Philip beautified and enlarged the city, which he renamed Caesarea Philippi. While visiting the district, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” (Matthew 16:13; Mark 8:27).
From May 13 through June 15, volunteers will have the unique opportunity to participate in the first systematic excavation of this site. The goal of this first season will be to identify the city’s archaeological periods and its public and private sectors. The dig will be operated as a field school, with lectures and instruction in archaeological field-methods and field trips to selected archaeological sites.
Volunteers are expected to stay for the full season. Students will receive three to six credits and may enroll through Averett College, Pepperdine University, or Hardin-Simmons University at a cost of $700 for room and board, plus tuition ranging from $450 to $900. The cost to non-students is $1,000; students will be given priority in the selection. The site is open to visitors year around; guided tours are available.
Contact: Dr. John Laughlin, Averett College, Danville, VA 24541. Tel: (804) 791–5600.
Violent conflagrations destroyed two of the 17 architectural phases uncovered so far in the two seasons of excavation at Tell el-Hammah, located at the southern entrance to the Beth Shean valley. The tell is identified with ancient Hamat, a city recorded in Egyptian texts that commemorate a military campaign conducted by Pharaoh Seti I (1306–1290 B.C.). Surveys of the tell have indeed revealed fragments of Egyptian or Egyptian-like pottery from the New Kingdom period (1550–1070 B.C.), but both destruction layers date to later times.
The earlier destruction is attributed to Pharaoh Shishak (Sheshonk I, 945–924 B.C.), who plundered Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign (I Kings 14:25–26; 2 Chronicles 12:2–4) and also invaded Israel according to Egyptian sources. In addition to a large number of complete ceramic vessels, many still holding their carbonized contents, this destruction layer has yielded stone vessels, iron tools, seals, a bulla (a clay seal impression), a cache of over 100 beads and more. The later destruction layer, dated to the ninth century B.C., includes a large building complex containing dozens of clay loomweights.
From May 16 through June 24, volunteers will assist in the further exploration of the Iron Age levels and in 024the excavation of the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 B.C.) strata. Costs range from $140 for the two-week minimum stay to $360 for the six-week maximum stay. (Discounts are available for organized groups of ten or more persons.) There is also a $25, non-refundable, application fee. Room and board provided at Moshav Mehola (Sunday evening through Friday noon), but costs do not include weekend meals or lodging. Academic credit will be offered through the Hebrew University, Rothberg School of Overseas Students.
Contact: Jane Cahill, 1607 Pearl St, Austin, TX 78701. Tel (512) 472–0543.
A marvel of ancient engineering, the harbor at Caesarea was a major Mediterranean port for over 1,000 years. Herod the Great built the city of Caesarea and its gigantic harbor, which was large enough to hold an entire Roman fleet, in the first century B.C. Constructed over the remains of a Hellenistic settlement known as Strato’s Tower, the city would later become the Roman and Byzantine provincial capital of Israel. Pontius Pilate maintained his official residence in Caesarea, and an inscription bearing his name has been found there. Caesarea was also the scene of St. Peter’s conversion of Cornelius, a Roman centurion (Acts 10:1–48), and of Paul’s brief imprisonment before he traveled to Rome in an effort to have his case tried before the emperor (Acts 23–25).
Investigations of two breakwaters in past seasons have greatly expanded our knowledge of how ancient harbors were built, particularly of how concrete was laid under water. A Roman shipwreck was discovered in 1983.
In the upcoming season, further excavations will be made along the north breakwater and in the mouth of the harbor, where indications of another shipwreck were discovered last year. Land excavations will focus on harbor installations and on the remains of a synagogue.
The excavation season comprises two sessions of three weeks each, May 22 through June 10 and June 12 through July 1. Each session costs $1150 for work underwater, or $800 for work on land. There is also a $30 pre-registration fee and a $100, non-refundable, cancellation payment. Three to six hours of academic credit will be offered through the University of Colorado, the University of Maryland, Haifa University and Rutgers. Boarding will be at the Hapoel Sports Centre in Kibbutz Sdot Yam (one mile south of the site), with two or three persons to each room. Fieldwork will occupy the weekdays, but guided tours of Jerusalem, Massada, Jericho and other places will be offered on the first two weekends of each session. Other attractions include tennis and basketball courts, a members bar with video, free coffee and cakes, and Israeli folk-dancing twice a week. Visitors may tour the site by appointment, Sunday through Thursday.
Diving volunteers are expected to have a valid diving certificate and to bring their own gear (excluding weights and tanks). All volunteers must present documents of their state of health, medical insurance and personal insurance against accidents.
Contact: Lindley Vann, School of Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
Tel Nizzana (Nessana)
Tel Nizzana stands on the road to the Biblical site of Kadesh-Barnea (Numbers 34:4; Deuteronomy 1:2; Joshua 15:3), near the junction of two ancient routes: “the way to Shur,” leading to Egypt, and a branch of the Via Maris, running from the Mediterranean shore at Gaza to the Gulf of Elath. Founded by the Nabateans in the second half of the second century B.C., the settlement flourished in the first century B.C. and in the first century A.D. During the second to fourth centuries A.D., the city suffered a decline when trade with Elath was diverted from the Gaza route to a new route to Damascus. A new settlement on the site, built at the foot of a large fort in the first quarter of the fifth century A.D., thrived until the Arab conquest and continued to exist until the beginning of the eighth century.
The most important discovery ever made at Nessana was the papyri found by the Colt Expedition (1935–1937) in rooms near two churches. Among the papyri were a Greek dictionary of Virgil’s Aeneid, a fragment of the Aeneid, the life of Saint George and letters concerning church affairs.
During two sessions, May 29 through June 10 and July 3 through July 29, excavations will continue on part of the southern monastery and on the remains of a large private house from the Late Byzantine and Early Arab periods. The Late Roman fort will also be excavated. The cost is $150 per week, with a two-week minimum stay. Room and board will be provided in the Nizzana Educational Community, located one mile from the site. Six academic credits will be offered through Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at an additional cost of $50 per credit. The site is closed to visitors.
Contact: Dr. Dan Urman, Archaeological Division, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, POB 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel. Tel: (057) 79262.
An unusually well-preserved Israelite fortress, built in about 650 B.C. and re-used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, is the focus of the excavation at Horvat ‘Uza, in the eastern Negev. This fort may be one of those built by King Jotham, or King Jehosaphat (2 Chronicles 17 and 27). Horvat ‘Uza was probably the site of the Biblical city of Kinah, listed as one of the cities belonging to the people of Judah (Joshua 15:21–22). Twenty ostraca—eighteen Hebrew, one Edomite and one Greek—are among the most important discoveries made at this site.
The directors hope to complete the excavation this June, the sixth season of work at the site. The cost is $150 per week, with a two-week minimum stay. Volunteers will receive room and board at a three-star hotel in Arad. Three to six semester hours of academic credit through Baylor University will be offered, but the tuition has not been determined yet. The site is open to visitors, but inaccessible except with a special vehicle and guide.
Contact: Dr. Bruce C. Cresson, Baylor University, CSB 404, Waco, TX 76798.
Located on the border between Philistia and Israel, Timnah is best known in Biblical history as the center of Samson’s exploits. The Israelites captured the region during David’s reign, it reverted to Philistine control during the early Divided Monarchy and was controlled by the southern kingdom of Judah in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. Excavations have exposed strata from the town’s founding to its demise in the early fifth century B.C.
Past seasons have uncovered industrial complexes, military and administrative structures and an impressive defensive system. This season the director hopes to work on strata from the Middle Bronze Age (2200–1550 B.C.) and to examine the Iron Age city.
The dig will run from June 7 through July 7, with a minimum stay of four weeks. Volunteers will stay at the Shoresh Hotel, Judean Hills, with transportation to the site provided. Cost is unknown at press time. In addition to working at the dig site, volunteers will have the opportunity to take part in a six-day study tour in Turkey, with visits to Izmir, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Pamukkale, Laodicea and Ephesus, plus a stop in Athens and a comprehensive tour in Israel from May 28 to July 8. Field trips and lectures are included in the excavation program. For $100 tuition, students may receive four to six hours of credit through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The site is open, by appointment, to visitors only during the excavation period; guided tours are available.
Contact: Dr. George L. Kelm, Timnah Expedition, P.O. Box 22417, Fort Worth, TX 76122–0417. Tel: (817) 923–1921.
One of the largest Iron Age sites in Israel, Tel Miqne is identified with Biblical Ekron, the northernmost city of the Philistine Pentapolis. When the Philistines captured the ark, they carried it to a number of their cities, including Ekron (1 Samuel 5:10), where it gave them great trouble, causing the people to protest to the Philistine lords, saying “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not slay us and our people” (1 Samuel 5:11).
Recent excavations have uncovered the fortified city of Ekron, founded by the Philistines in the 12th century B.C., a unique Philistine palace with a shrine and the ancient Near East’s largest industrial production center for olive oil. Excavators have also uncovered a 22-foot-wide, mudbrick city-wall with an ashlar facing that may be the same as one depicted on the palace reliefs of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who conquered Ekron in 712 B.C.
From July 12 through July 22, archaeologists plan to concentrate their efforts on the Philistine shrine and on the olive-oil industrial district. The cost of the six-week session, including six credit hours, is $1,115. Airfare must be arranged separately. A limited number of three-week opportunities are available. An optional, pre-excavation, field trip is also available at extra cost. Participants will stay at the campsite at Kibbutz Revadim, which boasts a swimming pool and tennis and basketball courts. Excavation work occurs in the afternoon and early evening hours, leaving mornings free for lectures, workshops and material processing at the campsites.
Contact: Ernest S. Frerichs, Volunteer Director, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912–1826. Tel: (401) 863–3900.
Located on the Sharon coastal plain north of Tel Aviv, Tell el-Efshar—whose ancient name is unknown—was occupied from the Early Bronze Age until Byzantine times. The settlement stood astride the Via Maris, the Roman coastal road linking Egypt with Mesopotamia, and served as a river port. Although Tell el-Efshar has no sure Biblical association, early Middle Bronze Age II A levels have yielded pottery from Syria, Southern Turkey, and Egypt in private dwellings and public buildings—levels that are otherwise poorly documented in Israel.
The excavation season will run from June 15 through August 10, with a minimum stay of two weeks. The weekly cost of $125 covers room (dormitory style) and board. Up to ten credit hours are available through the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Contact: Samuel Paley, Chairman, Dept. of Classics, SUNY at Buffalo, 712 Clemens Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260. Tel (716) 636–2153.
Before the tribe of Dan conquered and settled it (Judges 18), the city of Dan was 026called Laish, and it is mentioned by that name in the Bible and in other ancient texts. King Jeroboam (924–903 B.C.) built a sanctuary at Dan to compete with the Temple in Jerusalem and erected one of two golden calves at the site (1 Kings 12:26–29), but no trace of the calf has been found. Many other interesting discoveries have been made, however, in some 20 years of digging at the site, including massive Canaanite ramparts; a standing Canaanite gate with three arches; a tomb with Mycenaean imports; a sacred precinct comprising a high place, chambers and altar room, and a Roman fountain house.
From June 19 through July 22, work will continue on the sacred precinct, including an underground construction found last year. An investigation of the industrial area will also be made.
The cost is $900 for room and board at the Tel Hai Youth Hostel, and volunteers are expected to stay a minimum of three weeks. Six credits are available, for $300 tuition, through Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. The site is open to visitors all year.
Contact: Dr. Paul M. Steinberg, HUC-JIR,1 Fourth St., New York, NY 10012; or, in Israel: Mrs. H. Hirsch, HUC-JIR, 13 King David Street, Jerusalem 94101.
Land of Geshur Regional Project
The Bible refers to the area east of the Sea of Galilee as Geshur, an Aramean kingdom (2 Samuel 15:8) that fell under the military control of David (2 Samuel 8:3–8). Absalom, David’s son by a Geshurite princess, fled to Geshur and spent three years there after having Amnon killed for the rape of his sister (2 Samuel 13:1–39).
The Land of Geshur Regional Project has excavated three sites in past seasons: the Leviah Enclosure, an Early Bronze Age site; Tel Afiq, a small site occupied for 2,000 years, but fortified only in the ninth century B.C., during a period of major conflict between Aram and Israel; and Tel Hadar, a fortified site on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. These are the first excavations of the Biblical period in the Golan.
This season’s expedition, from June 19 through July 30, will begin an excavation at Ein-Gev, the largest Iron Age (1200–586 B.C.) tell in the region, and will expand and deepen the digs at the other three sites. In order to join the excavation, volunteers must enroll for academic credit in the course offered by the sponsoring institutions, which are the New Jersey Archaeological Consortium (Ramapo College, Kean College, Jersey City State College and Montclair State College), Cornell University, Mount Union College (Alliance, Ohio), Tel Aviv University and The Finnish Bible Institute. Information regarding costs, length of stay, and credit hours is not available yet.
Contact: Dean Mary Lewis, School of Humanities, Kean College of New Jersey, Union, NJ 07083; tel: (201) 527–2641; Dr. Don Hobson, Dept. of Religion and Philosophy, Mount Union College, Alliance, OH 44601; Eero Junkkaala, The Finnish Bible Institute, Helsineintie 10, 02700, Kauniainen, Finland.
One of the cities of the Decapolis—a federation of about ten cities in eastern Palestine (Matthew 4:25; Mark 5:20, 7:31)—Abila appears in the works of several ancient writers such as Polybius, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy the Geographer. It is located about nine miles from Irbid, in northern Jordan.
Extensive excavation in past seasons has revealed evidence of human habitation during every period from the Neolithic (8300–4500 B.C.) onward. Recent work has uncovered three churches—two of them large Byzantine basilicas—an extensive Roman-Byzantine cemetery, three lengthy underground aqueducts and evidence of a theater and of a possible, early, bath complex.
During the 1988 season, volunteers will continue work on the two basilicas and on the theater site, as well as in the Roman Byzantine necropolis. They will also investigate possible Iron Age and Bronze Age cemeteries.
Volunteers must stay the entire time of the dig, from June 19 through August 6. The cost is $1,000 for room and board, not including transportation and off-site and weekend expenses. Four to five credit-hours are available through the individual sponsoring schools. The site is open to visitors all year; guided tours can be arranged through the Irbid office of the Jordanian Dept. of Antiquities.
Contact: Dr. W. Harold Mare, Director, Covenant Theological Seminary, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO 63141. Tel: (314) 434–4044
The traditional birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus, Sepphoris has been continuously occupied from the Iron Age to the present. During the Roman period, Sepphoris was rebuilt in grand style by Herod Antipas. Josephus, the first-century A.D. Jewish historian, testified to its beauty, calling it “the ornament of all Galilee.” After the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome in 132–135 A.D., Sepphoris, for a time, became the seat of the Sanhedrin, the central legal and spiritual council of the Jewish people. Sepphoris was also the place where, in about 200 A.D., Rabbi Judah Hanasi (Judah the Prince) compiled the collection of rabbinical legal rules called the Mishnah.
In the past few seasons, excavators have found bronze statuettes of Pan and Prometheus, underground cisterns, and, most recently, a large mosaic floor with mythological scenes and a female portrait dubbed the “Mona Lisa” of Roman Palestine (see “Prize Find: Mosaic Masterpiece Dazzles Sepphoris Volunteers”).
From June 21 through July 21, volunteers will complete excavation of the Roman villa 027where the mosaic was found; determine the connection between the villa and the nearby, recently uncovered, Roman theatre; and continue the excavation of the domestic quarter. The cost is $235 for 12 days, the minimum stay, or $625 for the season. Room and board will be provided in the dormitories and dining room of the agricultural high school at Nahalal. Amenities include swimming pools and tennis courts. A non-refundable deposit of $35 is required of all participants, and acceptance is contingent upon review of the applicant’s health examination form. Two courses totalling six credit-hours are offered through Duke University, at an additional cost of $870 per course. The site is open to visitors on weekdays, 5 a.m. to noon, with guided tours available for groups.
Contact: Carol Meyers, Dept. of Religion, P.O. Box 4735, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706.
Founded in the Early Bronze Age and occupied until the ninth century B.C., Tel Gerisa was a major Canaanite site at the mouth of the Yarkon river. It appears to have been adversely affected by the Philistine settlement at Tel Qasile, directly to the north across the river. A small Abbasid Arab occupation in the tenth century A.D. was the last settlement at Tel Gerisa until modern times.
Important finds in past seasons include a Middle Bronze Age II A fortification system with adjoining houses, a possible cult building and an impressive, Late Bronze Age cobblestone courtyard. An early Iron Age farming community was also discovered, complete with evidence of weaving, spinning and agricultural activities. Among the artifacts uncovered are an assortment of metal and clay figures from the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age and a number of Philistine stamp seals.
From June 26 through July 22, archaeologists hope to clear as much of the Late Bronze Age courtyard as possible, and to clear any surrounding buildings they may find, in order to discover the relationship between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements. It is also hoped that the relationship between the Middle Bronze Age buildings and the fortification system will be clarified, and that the extent of the Iron Age village will be defined.
Room and board will cost $100 per week and will consist of a fully equipped camp at the foot of the tell in Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv. Located near a beach and swimming pool, the camp includes tents, kitchen, toilets, showers, classrooms, offices, and shaded groves. Board includes three meals per day, seven days per week, for each of the four weeks. Two course-credits are available through Tel Aviv University, Institute of Archaeology. Tuition is $100. The minimum stay without credit is one week, and the minimum stay for credit is four weeks.
Contact: Dr. Fredric R. Brandfon, Philosophy Dept., College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29401. Tel: (803) 792–5956.
Tel Haror, in the western Negev desert, has been identified with Biblical Gerar, where Abraham and Isaac both tried the same ruse: pretending to the Philistine king Abimelech that their beautiful wives were really their sisters (Genesis 20 and 26).
Past digs have unearthed impressive remains from the Middle Bronze Age to Persian periods (17th to 5th centuries B.C.), including a Middle Bronze Age-Hyksos temple with a large collection of votive objects, Late Bronze Age architecture, a Philistine settlement with painted pottery, Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions and well-preserved, Assyrian fortifications from the late Iron Age.
From July 3 through July 22, excavators will explore the Canaanite (Middle Bronze Age-Hyksos) temple, Canaanite (Late Bronze Age) and Philistine strata and a large stone-lined well. Volunteers are expected to stay at least two weeks. Two hours each afternoon will be spent cleaning and recording the finds. Lectures and social activities, including swimming and other sports, will fill the evenings. Room and board at the Eshel Hanassi Agricultural School will cost $150 per week. A $25, non-refundable, registration fee is also required. Students may receive three to four credit hours through Ben-Gurion University for $50 per credit hour, if they remain for the entire season. The site is open to visitors, by appointment, during the season.
Contact: Prof. Eliezer D. Oren, Archaeology Division, Ben-Gurion University, P.O. Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel. Tel: (057) 664–672 (office), (057) 699–701 (home). Or, Overseas Student Programs, American Assoc. Of Ben-Gurion University, 342 Madison Ave., #1923, New York, NY 10173. Tel: (212) 687–7721.
Not to be confused with the city of Rehovot near Tel Aviv, Rehovot ba-Negev (Rehovot in the Negev) has a deep well, traditionally identified as a well that Isaac dug (Genesis 26:22). Although the site has so far yielded no remains from the Iron Age or earlier, it does offer volunteers the chance to excavate one of the best-preserved ancient cities.
The Nabateans, Arabs whose powerful kingdom surrounded the Jewish kingdom at the time of Herod the Great, founded the city in the first century B.C. The city flourished during the Byzantine period (fourth to seventh centuries A.D.), but declined and became depopulated during the seventh and eighth centuries.
In past seasons, volunteers have uncovered several Byzantine churches, caravanserai and dwellings. A large Byzantine cemetery yielded more than 30 well-preserved burials and many Greek and Arabic inscriptions. The 1988 season offers the volunteer a rich experience, for virtually the entire Byzantine city awaits excavation. Work will continue on the churches and cemeteries and on agricultural installations in the outlying area.
The season will run from July 3 through August 5. Volunteers are expected to stay at least two weeks. Cost, which covers room and board, ranges from $400 for two weeks up to $700 for five weeks. Tents, showers and a field kitchen are located on the site. The dig is open to visitors only during the excavation season, and appointments are necessary. Students may receive three credits for $335 tuition ($275 for Maryland residents) or six credits for $650 ($525) through the University of Maryland.
Contact: Kenneth G. Holum, Dept. of History, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
A major port city from the Bronze Age through the Roman period, Tel Dor played an important role in ancient Israel’s economy and was occupied, at various times, by Canaanites, the Sea Peoples, Israelites, Assyrians and Phoenicians. It served as one of Solomon’s administrative centers, governed by his son Ben-Abinadab (1 Kings 4:11), and became a major fortress in the Hellenistic Age. Trypho, king of Syria, took refuge in Dor and was besieged there in 137 B.C. by Antiochus VII, but managed to escape (1 Maccabees 15:10–14, 25, 37–39); the excavations have uncovered slingstones from this siege. A Crusader fortress in the 13th century was the last occupation of the site.
Previous seasons have uncovered the main street and forum of the Roman city, together with the main Roman sewer and the aqueduct that provided it with water. The gates and fortifications of the Hellenistic, Persian and Iron Age cities were also discovered, along with a Roman bath, mosaic, and the Roman marketplace.
From July 5 through August 12, archaeologists plan to explore further the Roman city and to excavate both outer gates and the Hellenistic, Persian and Iron Age cities. It is also hoped that the location of an administrative structure from the Iron Age and the major Phoenician public buildings will be discovered.
The minimum stay is three weeks. Volunteers will lodge in dormitory rooms at the Pardess Hanna Agricultural School, but the cost of room and board is not available at press time. In addition to work at the dig site, the program includes field trips, 041lectures, demonstrations, an orientation session in Jerusalem and free time for independent travel. Five to seven credit-hours are available through California State University at Sacramento.
The site is opened to visitors during the time of the dig, usually between 9 a.m. and noon. Guided tours will be available only if time permits.
Contact: (Eastern U.S.) Howard Goldfried, Anthropology Dept., California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 95819. Tel: (916) 278–6452. (Western U.S.) Dr. Andrew Stewart, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720. Tel: (415) 642–5510
Obeying Moses’ injunction, Joshua “built an altar on Mt. Ebal … an altar of unhewn stones upon which no man has lifted an iron tool … ” (Joshua 8:30–31). In recent seasons, a team of University of Haifa archaeologists, led by dig director Adam Zertal, has uncovered a large stone structure that Zertal identifies as an altar and cult center dating from the time of Joshua. Artifact finds include many pottery vessels and two Egyptian scarabs. (See Hershel Shanks’s “Two Early Israelite Cult Sites Now Questioned,” in this issue.)
From July 10 through August 6, volunteers will help expose a newly discovered store-house, similar to the one at Shiloh, containing numerous collar-rim jars. The $125-per-week fee covers room and board. Two credit-hours are available through Haifa University.
Contact: Dr. Adam Zertal, Dept. of Archaeology, Haifa University, Mt. Carmel 31999, Israel.
The excavation at Gilgal offers volunteers a rare opportunity: a pre-pottery, Neolithic A site dated about 8000 B.C., the only dig opportunity of such antiquity in this survey. Since its discovery in 1973, Gilgal has yielded an unprecedented number of seeds, along with flint tools and grinding tools, human figurines and other art objects. This season’s plans call for further excavation of the site and research on the discovered seeds.
The exact dates have not been set at press time, but they will probably be in November. Volunteers will stay at a nearby kibbutz for $250 per month. Minimum stay is two weeks, but one month is preferred. In addition to digging, volunteers will attend lectures concerning the excavation. No academic credits are offered.
Contact: Dr. Tamar Noy, Curator of Prehistoric Period, The Israel Museum, P.O. Box 1299, 91012 Jerusalem, Israel.
Dig for a Day
Dig for a Day offers a unique opportunity to those who would like to participate in an excavation but don’t have weeks to spare. For only $12.00 per person ($9.60 per student), participants in Dig for a Day receive lectures, guided tours of archaeological sites in Jerusalem, and the opportunity to dig for four hours at an important site. In past seasons, volunteers searched for the Essene Gate in Jerusalem, explored Herod’s retreat at Herodium in the Judean desert, and excavated under Jerusalem’s Citadel.
Contact: Archaeological Seminars, Inc., “Dig for a Day,” 11 Shonei Halachot, Jewish Quarter, P.O. Box 14002, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, Israel. Tel: (02) 273–515/272–660.
Located about 30 miles southeast of Haifa, Tel Yoqne’am stands at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. It was continuously occupied from the Early Bronze Age to the Crusades. In past seasons, volunteers succeeded in excavating the Late Bronze and Middle Bronze Age levels, an Islamic mosque and a Crusader church. This season, the excavation will penetrate Middle Bronze Age and Early Bronze Age strata.
The 1988 season will run from July 3 through August 5. The minimum stay is two weeks. The cost will be $120 per week, which includes accommodations at Yoqne’am Illit School, meals at the school’s dining hall, cots and blankets. (There is a slight possibility that accommodations will be at Tivon Youth Hostel, in which case the season will be June 26 through July 29.) Three hours of academic credit are available through the volunteer’s own institution. The site is open, by arrangement, only to archaeologists.
Contact: Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.
The Phoenician culture (tenth to seventh centuries B.C.) is gloriously represented at the southern site of Akhziv, overlooking the ancient harbor Minet e-ziv, three miles north of Nahariya on the Mediterranean shore. A limited number of volunteers are welcome to join the 1988 season, from April 24 through May 20. They must stay for at least two weeks and are encouraged to remain for the entire season. The cost is $140 per week, which covers full boarding, including weekends, at the Akhziv Youth Hostel. A $20 registration fee is also required.
Contact: Eilat Mazar, Director, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. Tel: (02) 818–286 (evenings).