Category Archives: excavation

Join a Dig This Summer: Registration will Open soon for 2016 Tel Azekah Archaeological Season

Student discovers ancient vessel at Tel Azekah.

Student discovers ancient vessel at Tel Azekah.

Looking for something fun to do this summer?

Ever wanted to be an archaeologist?

Want to get a great tan, get fit, lose some weight and spend a summer touring the Holy Land?

Want to get college credits for learning about real archaeology?

Then come join the international coalition of universities and colleges excavating this summer at Tel Azekah!

Registration is now open for the 2014 Season at Tel Azekah. (See tab at top of page for details.)

As recently featured on the History channel, Tel Azekah is the newest, biggest, and most centrally located excavation in Israel.

And this year, we have a new base camp at Kibutz Gal On, only minutes away from the tel.

So register today for the 2014 Season at Tel Azekah.

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Archaeology is Hard Work

Be sure to sign up for the 2014 Tel Azekah Excavation Season.

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Registration for the 2014 Azekah Season Coming Soon…

Final Day at Tel Azekah 2013

Final Day at Tel Azekah 2013

The 2014 Tel Azekah archaeological excavation season is just around the corner, and registration will open soon.

Please watch this space for information about the 2014 dig season, registration, costs, exciting weekend travel, course credit, midweek lectures by some of the world’s leading scholars, and much more.

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Images of Effort and Discovery

Some images have been cleared by the staff from independent pictures and those posted on Facebook. Enjoy!

Matt focuses and finds

How does it feel to find an ancient pot?

pot in a destruction layer- snapshot of life the moment before

Sanna Miller in her element


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Nearing the End

Dear Readers,

The amount of finds has made the excavators concerned about publishing pictures before items go through scientific analysis and review. If they have not, anyone can publish a scientific paper about it before the editio princeps is prepared. And mistakes are often made in early assumption. Therefore this blog went through an edit before posting – and the delay was necessary.

Since writing this I have completed my month on site and brought the Mermelstein family of Los Angeles to dig with us. I hope some of the many who promised to write to the blog will, but the intensity of the effort in the closing weeks means single minded focus – and exhaustion! Reports will continue to filter in…


A month in, it seems we have always been here. Discoveries every day, working down to floor levels, discoveries of material items and structures that it is to early to tell of, and an absolutely wonderful esprit de corps between people from many walks of life and many countries. Who can think of it ending?

Photos are coming to give you a taste of the discovery, intensity of focus, and smiles in the working environment.
As there is one real week of digging left, the general approach will be to expand existing layers, finish up promising areas, and only in certain points make a surgical incision to go deeper.
I spent an hour this morning cleaning animal bones with Curator Leora, which will go to the lab for identification, and yesterday observed pottery reading from the top of the hill, Ido’s layer, where there is enough material found in “good context” that many pots will go to be reconstructed. Leora came over this morning out of the office to show a beautiful clay jar stopper, somewhere between 3000-4000 years old. It was placed over a material and laid on the storage jar as wet clay, thus making a very tight fit.
The weekly roundup tour took place this morning and you can see the pictures on facebook, together with contributions from various volunteers, including my son Nachliel who came for two days. Look them up!
Dr. Dudu Cohen, a master guide in Israel and an historical geographer, has not worked in a dig for 30 years, but moved several tons of earth personally from the dig site to the dump site. Everyone enjoyed his humour, erudition, and may have accepted his suggestion that a certain wall is an agricultural terrace. It was great having him.
I have completed my study month at the dig, I hope to visit in the coming two weeks and keep reports and interviews coming to you.

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Meet Our Volunteers: Graham Walker, England

Graham Walker

Age 64

Aldershot, Hampshire, England

Profession: Builder, Food Distributor

AZK: What have you been doing in the excavation and how did you get here?

GW: Digging holes in the ground,  moving buckets of earth! This is my first dig. Two years ago I was talking to Ronnie McCracken about his Ramat Rachel excavation experience. He said he was going again now, wanna come? I said I’d love to, and here I am.

AZK: How would you define your experience?

GW: Exhilarating. Hard work, well worth it. It supports Israel, Jews, and involves the bible and history. I looked up all the scriptures before I came.

AZK: What do feel when you are attaching the earth and moving out the layers you do so well?

GW: I feel association with Israel. Digging for history. That is the key. Exciting.  If my wife lets me out, I’ll be here again. I was lucky to be in on the very start of this. It will progress and everyone will see it; I want to see the progress too. It’s a shame I am only here for 2 weeks.

AZK: What have you found?

GW: Well, we’re seeing a wall appear, it seems the first stones on the top. It is built with the slope, a support wall (currently, week 4, we associate it with  the fortress excavated on the top of the hill by Bliss and Macalister). Tomorrow I will move to the next square over to see if I can find the continuation of that wall. There’s a mud brick wall on one side, and a stone wall. Now, today’s pottery came up totally different than before; a thinner finer pottery. I dug only 10 cm. down today and it is a complete change of pottery.

AZK: As a builder do you have a different view in any way?

GW: When I approach how to dig my experience stands me in good stead. Keep it level, that’s the easiest route to dig. Fill in the buckets. pull ’em and stand ’em up, expend the least energy. Tracking the difference in soil levels- I’m used to doing that – filling in land before foundations; making marker posts.

AZK: Have you been here before?

GW: This is my third time to Israel. It is well worth coming. The first time I came, I had a fantastic feeling when being in the land,  in the bible. You can begin walking in areas where Jesus walked.- albeit a lot higher than that historical level….

AZK: What are your thoughts about the experience of excavating at Tel Azekah with this group?

I am sorry to leave and go home. It would be nice to stay longer but I miss the family. I belong to Tongham Christian Fellowship, .a non denominational church started 15 years ago; now with 80 people. I plan to encourage the teenagers of our church to come out – it will do them a lot of good.

I enjoy hearing the bible from Jewish perspective. We have a debt to Jews for keeping the bible intact for us. Those who bless the Jews get blessed, those who curse get cursed. Rome lost its empire, for example.

It is a very precious time to be here.

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Week 4 new pics

Sunday starts off with a group tour. Oded is constantly visiting the five areas with Manfred Oeming and Yuval Gadot, CoDirectors, and snapping away at us. He posts them to facebook-

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