When embarking upon an archaeological expedition in Israel, volunteers often have a number of questions that relate to travel dates, airport arrival, payments, our cancellation policy, their time in Israel, and departure.
To make this information more freely available, we have answered a number frequently asked questions. If however, you are unable to find your answer here or elsewhere on the website, feel free to email Alex or Limor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning your arrival in Israel
Q: When should I book my flights?
A: Each new week of the excavation begins on a Saturday afternoon. As such, we strongly recommend that you plan your arrival in Israel for the Friday morning before your scheduled Saturday start date. This affords you some time to adjust to any time zone changes, settle in, and ensures that you will be able to meet the Saturday bus before it departs for the excavation.
In Israel, from sundown Friday until Saturday evening, the country rests for Shabbat. As such, from late afternoon on Friday until sun down Saturday night, travel around Israel can be difficult. Many public transport services do not operate on Saturday. However if you do arrive during Shabbat, taxis still run from the airport to major city centres.
2016 Weekly Schedule:
Week 1: July 16-21
Week 2: July 23- 28
Week 3: July 30 – August 4
Week 4: August 6 – August 11
Q: Do you have a shuttle service to the airport? Can someone pick me up from the airport?
A: The excavation does not have a shuttle service, nor do we provide airport pick up. Once you arrive in Israel, you are able to take a train or a taxi to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
We currently have a 2016 Azekah excavation event that you are welcome to join (through our Facebook). Feel free to post your travel details to the event page to see if there are other volunteers on your flight. Often volunteers travel on similar flights and can share taxis or the train journey from the airport together.
The only transportation that the excavation provides is the bus journey to the site from Tel Aviv/Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon/Thursday afternoon. There are more details regarding this service in the 2016 Information Pack.
Q: Do I need any documents to enter Israel?
A: Once your payment for the excavation is complete and your registration finalised, you will receive a formal letter that invites you to join the excavation. This letter will include your full name and will be signed by Professor Oded Lipschits. Be sure to print this letter and present it to immigration when you arrive in Israel.
Payments and Cancellations
Q: When do I have to pay for the excavation?
A: Volunteers who register before March 15 are required to pay April 1 2016.
Volunteers who register after April 1 will have ten business days after receiving their invoice to submit payment to the excavation. Any (unexplained) delays in the payment may unfortunately compromise an individual’s registration.
Q: What does my payment fee cover the cost of?
A: The excavation fee at Azekah accounts for the
- Accommodation at Kibbutz Gal’on Saturday night through to Thursday afternoon (for the duration of your registration),
- Food (3 meals a day, Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea, Weekly Barbecue),
- Weekly tours to neighbouring archaeological sites (every Tuesday),
- Access to on-site guest lectures,
- Transport from TLV/Jerusalem to the excavation accommodation each Saturday and Thursday,
- Transport to and from the archaeological site, Sunday through to Thursday,
- A 2016 excavation t-shirt.
Q: Do I incur a fee if I cancel my registration?
A: Volunteers who cancel their registration before March 15 will receive a full refund minus a $50 USD cancellation fee.
Alternatively, cancellations from March 15 to May 30th receive a full refund, minus a $100 cancellation fee for each week, and a $50 USD registration and banking fee.
Cancellations after July 1 receive a full refund, minus a $200 cancellation fee for each week, and a $50 USD registration and banking fee.
Cancellation after July 1 until the beginning of the dig: A full refund, minus a $300 cancellation fee for each week, and a $50 USD registration and banking fee.
Cancellation during the season or without announcement: no refund.
Q: Who has to pay for the tax associated with the bank transfer?
A: Volunteers are responsible for accounting for the cost of any tax generated by their preferred form of payment.
Q: Can I connect to other volunteers prior to the excavation start date?
A: Definitely! Head to our Facebook page and join our 2016 Azekah event. We invite you to post, chat, and share travel details in the event to network with other volunteers.
Q: When will I receive an equipment list and the details for the Saturday afternoon bus?
A: Information regarding equipment, transport, and the excavation schedule will be sent to all registered volunteers in June 2016.
Q: Can people volunteer who are under the age of 18?
A: We do accept volunteers of many ages, a legal guardian must accompany volunteers aged between 12-15. Volunteers who are 16-17 must submit a signed form of consent by a legal guardian alongside a photocopy of their guardian’s passport.
Q: Can I request roommates?
A: Absolutely! Attach to your registration your roommate preferences. Alternatively, feel free to email us at email@example.com with your request. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but in some cases it may not be possible.
Q: If I have excavated at Azekah in the past, can I request to dig in the same area in 2016?
A: If you’re past excavation area is active in 2016, than you definitely can submit your preference. It would be ideal if you include this request in your registration, but feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but in some cases it may not be possible.
Q: What is the weekly schedule at Azekah?
Q: Where do I stay on the weekends?
A: Across the weekend (Thursday evening until Saturday afternoon), volunteers are required to vacate the Kibbutz. Buses depart from the Kibbutz to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon, where volunteers are invited to organize their own weekend accommodation.
A break from the site affords volunteers with the opportunity to explore Israel’s many sites and customize their weekend experience.
If you would like to stay at the Kibbutz over the weekend, please organize your accommodation directly with Kibbutz Gal’on. The excavation assumes no responsibility for any plans arraigned outside of the excavation working week.
Planning your departure from Israel
Q: When should I book my flights back home?
A: As with any arrivals in Israel, the excavation does not provide any transport to the airport. The bus will return you to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem (your preference) on the Thursday afternoon of your final registered week at the dig.
The bus returns to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem late in the afternoon on a Thursday, and can sometimes be caught in traffic.
So if you choose to leave Israel on the your final Thursday, we strongly recommend you fly later at night. This way you can ensure that you will be able to arrive at the airport and travel through security with time to make your flight.
Q: How early before my flight should I arrive at the airport?
A: Airport security in Israel is rigorous, so we recommend that you arrive at the airport three to three and half hours, before your flight.