Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can you dig it? Volunteer Archeological Opportunities in Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists opportunities for lay people to participate in archeological digs in Israel  

From the MFA website (More information on the nature of the excavations is also available through the MFA)

 The excavation details have been published by the archaeologists in charge of the individual expeditions. This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.

Cleaning the mosaic floor in the prayer hall of a Byzantine monastery in the northern Negev
  Cleaning the mosaic floor in the prayer hall of a Byzantine monastery in the northern Negev
Copyright: Assaf Peretz, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

This list of archaeological expeditions which accept volunteers is compiled by the Israel Foreign Ministry as a service to the public, and is not an endorsement of any of the projects listed. The excavation details below been published by the archaeologists in charge of the individual expeditions, who bear responsibility for their contents.

NOTE: Any questions, comments or requests for additional information must be directed to the contact person indicated for each project, and not to the Israel Foreign Ministry.

Many archaeologists enlist volunteer help on their digs, as volunteers are highly motivated and wish to learn and gain experience, although the work is often difficult and tedious. Usually, no previous experience is necessary. The work includes digging, shovelling, hauling baskets of earth and sherds, cleaning pottery sherds and more. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Israel.
Accommodations for volunteers can range from sleeping bags in the field, to rooms in hostels or kibbutzim, to 3-star hotels near a site. Each expedition has its own accommodation arrangements.
There is usually a charge for food and lodging, although on some excavations these are free. Volunteers who require kosher food should inquire in advance. Excavations conducted in or near a city often require volunteers to find their own accommodations.
Volunteers should have comfortable, sturdy clothes for heavy work. Sunhats are absolutely compulsory in summer; warm clothing is suggested for summer evenings as the weather can be cool. Winters are wet and cold; warm clothes and water-proof boots are necessary.
Equipment that may be useful - depending on the conditions at the site and the type of accommodation available - includes work-gloves, sleeping bag, canteen, towels and sunscreen lotion.
The work schedule at an excavation is organized according to the conditions at the site. A day on an average dig begins before dawn and ends after noon. There is normally a rest period after lunch. The afternoons and early evenings may be devoted to lectures, additional excavation work, cleaning and sorting of pottery and other finds, or they may be free.
Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions. Details concering subjects, conditions and cost may be obtained by contacting the expedition director.
Most expedition directors (or other staff members) offer informal lectures covering the history and archaeology of the site and discussion of the type of work involved. Volunteers should feel free to request information regarding an excavation in order to be able to appreciate all aspects of the work.
Recreational facilities (swimming pools, beaches and sporting grounds) may be available, depending on the location of the site. Most expeditions organize sightseeing and field trips to sites in the area and to neighboring museums.
In most cases, volunteers must arrange for medical and accident insurance in advance. Even in instances when accident insurance is provided, it is strongly advised that volunteers come fully insured as the insurance offered is minimal.
When applying to the director of an excavation you should indicate any previous studies you may have in archaeology or related fields, such as anthropology, architecture, geography, surveying, graphic arts; or experience in excavation work, pottery restoration or photography.
For registration, please contact the persons listed in the individual entries. Please note that a registration fee is often required.
Note: Israel Ministry of Interior regulations require that passports of all volunteers (other than Israeli) be stamped with a volunteer visa (B4). This request should be made by the volunteer at the point of entry into Israel.


(Listed by starting date)
This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.
Central Timna Valley Feb 1-13
Khirbet el-Maqatir May 24 - June 13
Gezer Water System Expedition May 24 - June 12
Beshsaida May 25 - June 6
Tel Burna June 7 - July 3
Tel Hazor June 21 - July 31
Tel Kabri June 21 - July 31
Tell es-Safi/Gath June 28 - July 24
Hippos - Sussita July 19 - Aug 13
Ashdod-Yam July 19 - Aug 22
Ashkelon TBA

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