Jezreel Valley Regional Project Archaeology and History of a Regional Landscape

2013 Program Details


The Site

One of the most important sites in the fertile Jezreel Valley, Megiddo was setttled as early as the Chalcolithic period (ca. 4500 BCE). For much of the Bronze Age, it was one of the most powerful city-states in northern Canaan - it was here that kings far and wide assembled to do battle against the Egyptian Pharaoh, Thutmose III. A failure in this venture, Megiddo and the other Canaanite city-states fell under the control of the Egyptian Empire, but continued to flourish under this vassalage. In the Iron Age, Megiddo was vital royal city of the Israelites - home to numerous palaces and base for the kings' chariot army. The mighty Assyrian army of Tiglath-Pileser III conquered the city in 732 BCE, and Megiddo became the capital of an Assyrian province. Centuries later, the Megiddo became the home of the Roman VIth Legion, garrisoned here in a massive camp to protect the interests of Rome against unruly Jewish rebels. These rebels pined for the day when the armies of their god would expel the Romans from their homeland for good. The Book of Revelation preserves this sentiment in locating the final battle between good and evil at Armageddon, "The hill of Megiddo".

The acropolis of Tel Megiddo is currently under excavation by the Megiddo Expedition, directed by I. Finkelstein and D. Ussishkin. In 2010, the JVRP, under the direction of M.J. Adams, J. David, and M. Cohen, began exploring the vast Early Bronze Age settlement known as Tel Megiddo East. Together, both excavation teams are making startling new discoveries about the nature of the Early Bronze Age city of Megiddo. On the acropolis - a massive monumental temple larger than anything previously known. To the east - a vast unexplored city.

The Early Bronze Age City

This season we are running a 6-week excavation program, offering academic credit through the University of Hawai'i, and introducing a new 5-day pre-season tour of sites in northern Israel! Don't miss it!


Centuries before the pyramids of Egypt rose along the Nile, the inhabitants of Megiddo organized themselves into a massive city and began construction on a monumental home for their revered god. This temple would be one of the most ambitious construction projects in the Levant, and the city responsible for it would be the earliest and largest urban formation for hundreds of miles.

This 5,000-year-old temple has now been revealed through excavations at Tel Megiddo. The temple complex consists of an artificial platform supported by a 4m-wide stone wall. This platform elevates the largest single edifice of the period in the entire Levant, the “Great Temple.” This massive broad-room temple is some 50 meters wide and more than 30 meters long. The structure features 3.5-meter-thick walls enclosing hallways stacked high with the bone refuse from animal sacrifices. The sanctuary is stunningly appointed with twelve 1-ton basalt slabs carved into rectangular and circular shapes which appear to have been used as ritual tables. Perhaps most amazing is the perfection with which the temple was planned, engineered, and constructed. Its plan is meticulously laid out such that the thicknesses of walls and their distance from each other are exact in every dimension. This is strong evidence for the birth of the disciplines of architecture and engineering, intellectual pursuits supported by a well-organized government.

The magnificent temple is now well-known but the larger urban landscape, the home of its builders, has never been explored. Archaeological survey, 2010 excavations, and GPR survey by the JVRP indicated that a large and contemporaneous settlement lies across the modern highway from the remarkable remains of the Megiddo temple. It is the concentration of human resources in this city that led directly or indirectly to the extraordinary architectural florescence on the tel.

In the 2011 Season, the JVRP began full-scale excavations of the EB city revealing houses, grain storage facilities, and large terrace walls supporting major structures contemporary with the Great Temple. In the 2012 Season, the JVRP continued its exploration of the city of the Great Temple Builders, focusing on several new areas. The 2013 Season is planned as the JVRP's largest and final season at Tel Megiddo East, in which we hope to expose a large portion of the City of the Great Temple Builders and explore areas that have never been investigated before!

Join us this summer for what promises to be an exciting revelation of the nature of one of the earliest cities in the Levant! With Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman material excavated in the vicinity, who knows what else we'll encounter?!


Excavation Dates

May 25 - July 5 (6 weeks)

Saturday, May 25: Volunteers arrive

Sunday, May 26: First day of excavation

Thursday, July 4: Last day of excavation

Friday, July 5: Volunteers depart


The work week is Sunday through Thursday with Friday and Saturdays off for relaxation or travel.


Participants may come for shorter periods, particularly the first 3 weeks, during which a bulk of the educational program will take place.


Education Program and Academic Credit Rates (University of Hawai'i)

The JVRP includes a detailed educational program for all participants. Now, participants can earn academic credit for the program from the University of Hawai'i!


3 Credits (ANTH 381/LLEA 399 Archaeological Field Techniques):     $600

(cost subject to change pending final approval in October, 2012)

6 Credits (ANTH 381/LLEA 399 Archaeological Field Techniques):    $1200

(cost subject to change pending final approval in October, 2012)


Credit course consists of Lecture Presentations, Field & Lab Tutorials, and Field Trips. Credit course requires enrollment as either 3-Week Volunteer (3 credits) or 6-Week Volunteer (6 credits) and enrollment in the Pre-season Tour (see below).



Volunteer Rates


3 Week Volunteer: May 25 – June 14 $1700                (Early Bird: $1600; pay in full by Feb 1, 2013)

6 Week Volunteer: May 25 – July 5 $2500                    (Early Bird: $2350; pay in full by Feb 1, 2013)



Interested in working with us but can't stay for the full time?

Contact us for rates based on your schedule:


These costs cover your stay at the Kibbutz from May 25, 2013 departing July 5, 2013. Also included are your daily weekday meals. Airfare is not included. $100 non-refundable registration deposit required with your application. The above prices are subject to adjustment if there is a significant change in the shekel/dollar rate. Please confirm the total before sending your check.



Optional Pre-season Introductory Tour of Sites in Northern Israel

Pre-season Introductory Tour of Sites in Northern Israel:     $900

(cost subject to change pending final approval in October, 2012)


5-day tour of sites in northern Israel with accompanying lectures by the director and staff of the JVRP. Sites include: Tel Dan (Bronze and Iron Ages), Baniyas (Graeco-Roman), Hazor (Bronze and Iron Ages), Capernum (New Testament), Bellevoir (Crusader), Sepphoris (Graeco-Roman), Nazareth (New Testament), Beth Shean (Bronze age to Byzantine), Jezreel (Iron Age). Includes room, board, and transportation. Required for all credit course participants.


Funding Opportunities

The JVRP is unable to offer scholarships or other types of funding for volunteers. However, there are a number of organizations who offer competitive merit and need-based funding for participation in archaeological excavations. See the following:

American Schools of Oriental Research Fellowships

Biblical Archaeology Society Scholarships

Archaeological Institute of America Scholarship

American Archaeology Abroad Scholarships

Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society Grants




Our excavation team is housed at Mul HaCarmel, a bed-and-breakfast at Kibbutz Ramat HaShofet, just a short ride from the excavation site. Team members stay in air-conditioned guest rooms with bathrooms, kitchenette, refrigerator, and television. The kibbutz boasts a grocery store, swimming pool, pub, free wi-fi, sports facilities, and BBQ facilities. The kibbutz is also centrally located within the country - weekend trips to almost anywhere are manageable.


Daily Work Schedule

Our work week begins Sunday morning and ends Thursday afternoon. Fridays and Saturdays are free--relax, sleep in, go to the pool, have a BBQ, travel! Friday and Saturday accommodation provided, but meals are not.


4:45 AM

5:00 AM - 8:30 AM

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

11:15 AM - 1:00 PM

1:00 PM

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

8:00 PM -

Bus departs for the site

Excavation work on site

Breakfast on site

Excavation work on site


Excavation work on site

Bus departs for the Kibbutz


Leisure time

Processing work at Kibbutz

Special programming (eg, lectures)


Rest and relaxation



Educational Program Schedule


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