Jezreel Valley Regional Project Archaeology and History of a Regional Landscape

2017 Program Details


Excavation Dates

June 24 - July 21 (4 weeks)

Saturday, June 24: Volunteers arrive

Sunday, June 25: First day of excavation

Thursday, July 20: Last day of excavation

Friday, July 21: Volunteers depart


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



The Castra of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion

The JVRP excavations at Legio is a major research endeavor of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.

One of the most important Roman period sites in the fertile Jezreel Valley, Legio was established as the headquarters of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion in Palestine within the context of continued agitation among the subjected local population following the First Jewish Revolt (67-70 CE). The castra, or “camp” in the sense of a permanent military base, was well-situated to control imperial roads, with direct access to the Galilee and inland valleys of northern Palestine—important centers of the local, occasionally uproarious, Jewish population. Until recently, the exact location of the castra of the Sixth Legion had not been confirmed, but textual evidence places it in the Jezreel Valley along the road from Caesarea to Beth Shean in the vicinity of Megiddo. In the Ottoman Period, the village and caravanserai of el-Lajjun preserved the Latin nickname “Legio,” providing strong evidence for the location of the castra nearby. Consequently, the broad area south of Tel Megiddo has been known in modern archaeological circles as “Legio.” Historical sources of the Roman and Byzantine eras indicate that three different settlements existed in this vicinity: the Jewish village of Kefar ‘Othnay (Caparcotna), a Roman military camp (Legio) and a later Byzantine polis of the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. (Maximianopolis).

See the story of the discovery of the camp onBible History DailyIn 2010 and 2011, the JVRP conducted a remote sensing survey of the area based on earlier traditional archaeological surveys. This research provided strong clues for the location of the long-lost castra, and in 2013 ten days of excavation tested a hypothesis about the location of the camp at Legio. Over the course of only ten full excavation days, the team dug a series of test trenches across 100 meters that revealed clear evidence of the camp. At the north end of this line, we found that the depressions evident in aerial photography were in fact part of a Roman camp’s typical defensive trenching earthworks, the fosse. Next to this 6.5-foot-deep ditch was the foundation of a great wall nearly 6 meters wide, evidently the main fortification wall of the camp. Inside of that wall in the remaining 80 meters of test trenches, the team exposed rooms likely belonging to one of the barracks areas of the camp. Much of the architectural remains had long been stripped away, but within the rooms were numerous ceramic roof tiles with the legion’s mark, coins, fragments of scale armor, lead ingots and a stone table leg sculpted with the three-dimensional visage of a panther. Near the southern extent of our excavation, the putative barracks were bounded by a wide street carved in bedrock and flanked by drainage channels. Crossing the camp at about one-third of the length of the north-south walls, as estimated via aerial photography, this important street was probably the camp’s Via Principalis, “Main Street,” a typical feature of such castra. Considering the regular structure of Roman camps, the Porta Principalis Dextra, the main eastern gate of the camp, should lie just outside of our excavation area.

The excavation of a Roman military headquarters with clear ties to major political and cultural events in the formative years of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity is exciting in itself, but Legio also provides an incredible new window into the Roman military occupation of the eastern provinces. No military headquarters of this type for this particular period had yet been excavated in the entire Eastern Empire. Additionally, it proves to be the closest parallel to the inaccessible camp of Legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem. Not only will continued excavations at Legio illuminate this important camp in its own right, but its revelations may also be used as a proxy for the study of the Roman military’s occupation of the ancient Jewish capital.

In the 2017 season, the JVRP will continue its exploration of castra, focusing on several new areas that have never been investigated before, including areas outside the camp where Jewish and early Christian occupation is suspected.


This season we are running a 4-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!


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

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


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



Volunteer Rates


4 Week Volunteer: June 24 – July 21 $2115                (Early Bird: $1999; pay in full by March 1, 2017)



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 June 24, 2017 departing July 21, 2017. Also included are your daily weekday meals. Airfare is not included. 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.



Pre-season Introductory Tour of Sites in Northern Israel

Pre-season Introductory Tour of Sites in Northern Israel:     $1500


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 a bed-and-breakfast at Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, just a short ride from the excavation site. Team members stay in air-conditioned guest rooms with bathrooms and refrigerator. The kibbutz boasts a grocery store, swimming pool, pub, free wi-fi, and sports 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


Copyright Jezreel Valley Regional Project © 2017

All essays appearing on this website are authored by members of the JVRP.

Authorship credit is given where appropriate, as is credit for revisions and additions.

When citing from any of this material, please cite the credited authors

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