Jezreel Expedition, Tel Abel Beth Maacah Provide Excavation Opportunities for Undergraduates

April 11, 2014

For the first time ever, the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies is partnering with two archaeological excavations in Israel, The Jezreel Expedition and Tel Abel Beth Maacah Excavation. Each dig provides students with one-of-a-kind experiences that help bring classroom studies to life and add another dimension to the rich curriculum of Judaic Studies.The Jezreel Expedition is co-directed by Dr. Jennie Ebeling of the University of Evansville and Dr. Norma Franklin of the University of Haifa. Located south of Nazareth, the site of Jezreel is in the beautiful Jezreel Valley.  Its strategic location and ideal agricultural conditions has made it hospitable to settlements from early antiquity until modern times. Jezreel is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament because of its importance in the riveting story about King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.  Tel Jezreel was first excavated from 1990-1996, by a team from Tel Aviv University. In 2012, Ebeling and Franklin formed the Jezreel Expedition in order to focus both on the tel and on greater Jezreel, the area that surrounds it. Their ground survey has already identified over 350 previously unexamined installations such as tombs, water cisterns, and olive and wine presses. This summer, students can dig at Jezreel from May 18-June 20, and earn academic credit. In addition to fieldwork, the program includes lectures and field trips, including a tour of archaeological sites in Israel and Jordan! UA students receive priority status when registering, and a reduced participation fee.  For more information, visit Tel Abel Beth Maacah, located on Israel’s northern border not far from Lebanon, is a 26-acre site that has not been previously excavated. The new project, begun in 2012, is co-directed by Dr. Robert Mullins of Azusa Pacific University and Nava Panitz-Cohen of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  The site was occupied from the Early Bronze Age II through Iron Age IIB, and is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. There are few excavated sites in this part of Israel, so the ABM excavation will fill the gap in knowledge about Israel’s northernmost region, and about connections with the Phoenicians and Aramaeans farther north. UA students may also be interested in the “Gender Agenda,” which focuses on microarchaeology as a tool for reconstructing daily life and women’s lives.  For summer 2014, students can dig from June 24-July 22, with a minimum 2 week commitment. For more information on Tel Abel Beth Maacah, visit two Judaic Studies affiliations will extend into future excavation seasons, so students who might wish to join the Jezreel or Abel Beth Maacah projects in the future will be able to do so.  For further information on campus, contact Prof. Beth Alpert Nakhai in the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies (