Volunteering in Israel

Archaeoligical Digs in Israel


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. All charges listed are in US dollars. 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)
Note: This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.

Ein Gedi January 6 - 31
Bethsaida May 18 - June 6; June 15 - July 4
Megiddo June 15 - July 3; July 5-31
Tel Hazor June 22 - August 1
Tel Rehov June 29 - July 18
Tel Dor  June 29 - August 1
Hippos (Sussita) June 29 - July 24
Tell es-Safi/Gath July 6 - August 1
Yavneh Yam July 13 - August 8
Ramat Rahel July 20 - August 15
Note: The Zeitah excavations will conduct an on-site study season during the summer of 2008 and will return to the field for further excavation in June, 2009.


Ein Gedi is an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, more then 400 m. below sea level. Fresh water springs flow there and have made permanent settlement that lived on irrigation agriculture. Archeological excavations have revealed a Chacolithic Temple (4th millennium BCE), Iron Age settlement (Biblical period), and a Roman-Byzantine period village. Current excavations focus on wall a site 200 metres northwest of the Byzantine period synagogue and village, where ash, pottery and stone vessels typical of the Second Temple period have been found. The expedition also intends to continue looking for the magnificent Hasmonean or Herodian palace awaiting discovery somewhere in Ein Gedi.

Director:  Dr. Gideon Hadas, Kibbutz Ein Gedi. The expedition operates under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Dates:  Jan 6-31, 2008

Accommodation: Ein Gedi youth hostel, 5 people per room.
Those wishing to set up their own tent will participate in the cost of meals +.
Accommodation can also be arranged at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Guest House - eg@ein-gedi.org.il,
Tel: 972-8-6594222; Fax: 972-8-6584328
The Kibbutz Guest House is some distance from the excavation site and from the evening activities in the youth hostel. Transport is not normally provided.

Work hours: Fieldwork is conducted from Mondays through Thursdays, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Evening lectures and slide shows about the history and archaeology of the area.

Cost: Youth hostel: $280 room and board per 5-day week (Sunday afternoon 14.00, till Friday morning, 10.00)
Registration fee: $30 (non-refundable). Returning volunteers exempt.
Minimum participation:  One week

Application deadline:  Dec 1, 2007

Work hours: Mon-Thurs 06:00-13:30

Recreation: Touring in Ein Gedi nature reserve, swimming in the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi hot spring spa.
Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.

Contact:  Dr. Gideon Hadas, Fax 972-8-6584384; E-mail: gideonhadas@yahoo.com

Website: For more information and application form see: http://planetnana.co.il/ghadas


Bethsaida , situated on the north Sea of Galilee was founded in the10th century BCE as the capital city of the biblical kingdom of Geshur. During the Time of Jesus Bethsaida served as the birthplace of three Apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip and a place where Jesus performed many miracles, it is one of the most frequently mentioned towns in the New Testament.

Directors: Prof. Rami Arav, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Prof. Richard Freund, University of Hartford 

Dates:  The excavation is divided into two sessions:
May 18 - June 6 and June 15 - July 4

Accommodation: Ginosar Inn on Kibbutz Ginosar, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee

Cost:  From $476 to $884 per week, according to type of accommodation.
Registration fee: $200 deposit
Minimum participation:  One week

Application  deadline:  TBA

Academic credit: 3-6 undergraduate ($131.25 per credit hour); University of Nebraska at Omaha

Work days: Monday-Friday
5:30am - 12:30 pm: Fieldwork
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm: Lab work and pottery
8:00pm - 9:00pmL Lecture
Recreation: Kibbutz Ginosar is located right on the Sea of Galilee, and there is also a swimming pool on the kibbutz. Weekend tours are arranged throughout the season (for an additional charge). 

Insurance: All participants must have health insurance that covers international travel to Israel. Volunteers are encouraged to seek additional traveler's and flight insurance.

Contact:  Bethsaida Excavations Project
University of Nebraska at Omaha
International Studies and Programs
Omaha , NE 68182-0227
Tel. 402/554-4986; 402/554-3108
Fax: 402/554-3681
Email: rarav@mail.unomaha.edu or streynolds@mail.unomaha.edu
Website: For more information and application form see: http://www.unomaha.edu/bethsaida/


Strategically perched above the most important land route in the ancient Near East, the city of Megiddo dominated international traffic for over 6,000 years - from ca. 7,000 BCE to biblical times. As civilizations came and went, succeeding settlements at ancient Megiddo were built on the ruins of their predecessors, creating a multi-layered archaeological legacy that abounds in unparalleled treasures that include monumental temples, lavish palaces, mighty fortifications, and remarkably-engineered water systems. Megiddo's location explains its longevity: it controlled a bottleneck on the Via Maris, the "Way of the Sea," and with it long-distance trade and traffic. The Book of Revelation accords Megiddo a crucial role in the future, promising an eschatological battle there, where the children of light triumph over the forces of evil. Armageddon is literally "the hill of Megiddo."

Directors: Directed by Israel Finkelstein and David Ussishkin (Tel Aviv University), with Eric Cline (George Washington University) serving as Associate Director (USA). The Megiddo Expedition is undertaken under the auspices of Tel Aviv University. Consortium institutions are: George Washington University, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and the University of Bern.
Dates:  June 15 - July 3; and July 5-31

Accommodation: Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet. All rooms have private facilities with up to 4 people per room. A limited amount of more basic youth hostel style accommodation at a reduced price suitable for short term participants may be available. Full room and board during workdays (Sunday-Thursday). You are free to stay on the kibbutz for the weekend or take day trips - meals not provided.
Cost:  Both sessions (7 weeks): $2280
Session 1 (3 weeks): $1140
Session 2 (4 weeks): $1515
Discounts for returnees and Consortium students.

Academic credit: A student can earn up to 6 credits in any one session or 9 credits if attending both sessions. Each course carries 3 credits from Tel Aviv University. Tuition fees are $125 per credit point ($375 per course) - $330 per course for consortium students. Responsibility for the transfer of credit to the home institution rests with the student. For full course information see website.
Study tours to other archaeological sites currently being excavated for all those enrolled in the education program.
Registration fee: $40 by check or money order made out to the Israel Exploration Society.

Work hours: Sun.-Thurs. 05:00-13:00; afternoon and evening activities include pottery washing (required) and reading and lectures.

Recreation: Swimming pool and sports facilites on kibbutz. Weekends at leisure.
nsurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.
Contact:  Norma Franklin - megexc@post.tau.ac.il 

Website: For more information and application form see: http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/megiddo/

Hazor is a major site in the Galilee, located approximately 5 km. north of Rosh Pina.
The population of Hazor in the second millennium BCE is estimated to have been about 20,000, making it the largest and most important city in the entire region, located strategically on the route connecting Egypt and Babylon. Hazor's conquest by the Israelites opened the way to the conquest and settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. The city was rebuilt and fortified by King Solomon and prospered in the days of Ahab and Jeroboam II, until its final destruction by the Assyrians in 732 BCE.
In this season the levels of the Israelite and Canaanite period will be explored.

Director: Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University
Dates:  June 22 - August 1. The season is divided into two 3-week sessions: June 22 - July 11; July 13 -  August 1. Preference will be given to those who apply for the entire 6-week season. 

Accommodation: Kibbutz Mahanyim. All rooms (2-3 people per room) equipped with air-conditioning, TV and a kitchenette.

Cost:  $1050 per session ($350 per week x 3) or $1900 for those who register for the entire period.
Registration fee: $25 (non-refundable) by check or money order payable only to: The Israel Exploration Society.

Credit courses: Students may arrange to receive academic credit (undergraduate or graduate level) through the Rothberg International School. These credit points can be transferred to the students home institution. This entails additional fee of 110$ for 1 academic credit point, each equals 1 week of participation (students can get up to 6 credit points for the whole season).
Students opting to receive academic credit  should state their intent upon registration, and directions for application to the credit program will be sent by mail.

Work hours:  Monday through Friday: 5:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. - excavation. 14:00 - pottery washing.

Lectures: A series of lectures during the week will provide training in field archaeology and the interpretation of finds.

Recreation: The expedition will organize tours (conducted or otherwise) to sites of your choice, provided enough participants are interested, at extra cost.

Minimum age: 18

Minimum participation: 3 weeks.

Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.

Contact: Mail the application form + registration fee to:      
Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor
Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University
Mount Scopus Jerusalem 91905 Israel
Tel. 972-2-5882403/4 Fax: 972-2-5825548
For information contact: Dr. Sharon Zuckerman
Email: hazor@mscc.huji.ac.il
Website: For registration details and application form see website.

Excavation at Tel Rehov, the location of the largest ancient Canaanite and Israelite site in the Beth-Shean Valley, began in 1997. The first seven seasons of excavations revealed successive occupational layers from the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age I (12th-11th centuries BCE). Large and well-preserved buildings from three occupation layers were dated to the 10th-9th centuries BCE (United Monarchy of David and Solomon and the Divided Monarchy under Omri and Ahab).
In this year's short three-week season, work will focus on exposing more of the beehive area in Area C. Only a limited number of volunteers will be accepted - academic credit will not be offered this season. 
Directors: Professor Amihai Mazar, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Dates:  June 29 - July 18
Accommodation: Volunteers will live at Kibbutz Nir David, located about eight kilometers from the site, or alternatively, at another nearby kibbutz. At Nir David, accommodation is in air-conditioned wooden cabins that accommodate up to five people.
Cost:  To be announced.
Minimum stay: Three weeks
Work hours: Workdays Monday-Friday: Excavation - 5:15-12:30; pottery washing - 16:30. Lectures twice a week - 20:00.

Recreation: Swimming in the walking distance Sahne springs or in the kibbutz swimming pool, parties and barbeques. Weekends free.

Registration fee and deposit: Registration will be finalized with the receipt of a $300 deposit, in a personal or travellers check made out to Kibbutz Nir David Toursim. Of this sum, $25 is a non-refundable registration fee. 

Application deadline:  April 1, 2008

Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.

Contact:  For general information: rehov@mscc.huji.ac.il 

Website: For more information and application form see:
Tel Dor is a major Canaanite-Phoenician-Hellenistic-Roman port on the Mediterranean coast, located in present day Israel between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site was excavated between 1980 and 2000 by a team directed by Ephraim Stern of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with several other institutions worldwide. Starting on the summer of 2004, a new consortium reopened the excavation.
Our objectives for this season: Digging the elite section of the settlement, including the investigation of large complex (possibly a palace or administrative building) in the southern part o the Hellenistic city and large Iron Age Phoenician public structures; excavating area D5 on the southern slope of the acropolis, aiming to reach the Bronze Age city, never before exposed at Dor.
General Information

Dates: June 29 - August 1
**Divided into two sessions: June 29 - July 16 and July 16 - August 1
Director:  Dr. Ilan Sharon, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University

Accommodation: Nahsholim Seaside Resort Hotel; air-conditioned rooms, up to four per unit.

Cost:  Full season: 1900 Euro (or the equivalent); half season: 1200 Euro (or the equivalent). For North American participants: about $2700 and $1700 respectively - includes full (7-days/week) room & board.
Registration deposit: 100 Euro

Work hours:  Excavation: 5:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, sorting finds, office work in the afternoon, lectures. Saturday and Sunday free. Weekend field trips at additional cost. 

Academic credit: Academic credit will be available through the participating academic institutions. Fees vary by institution.

Recreation: Sports facilities, diving, boating & sailing, trips are available at the resort and/or adjacent beach.

Minimum age: 18

Minimum participation: Two weeks.

Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.

Contact: Yiftah Shalev, Tel Dor project, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905

E-mail: dor-proj@mscc.huji.ac.il

In the USA:
Prof Sarah Stroup, Department of Classics, Box 353110 , University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3110; tel. (206) 543-2276; fax (206) 543-2267; E-mail: scstroup@u.washington.edu or
Prof Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, Villanova University and St. Joseph's University; tel. (610) 664-7829;
E-mail bloch-smith@msn.com
Website: If you wish to register from North America as part of Prof. Bloch-Smith's group please click here.

For the University of Washington Tel Dor field school (cost includes 12 UW credits, open to students and non students), contact scstroup@u.washington.edu

For the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) click here.
Elsewhere: http://dor.huji.ac.il/registration.html

Hippos (Sussita) is located on the eastern shore of Tiberias Lake, a short distance from Kibbutz Ein-Gev. The site, one of two cities of the Decapolis located in Israel, which is situated on the top of a flat diamond shaped mountain, 350 m. above the Sea of Galilee, was entirely surrounded by a wall.
In this season we plan to: Continue the excavation of the Hellenistic Compound and unearthing the Roman Temple, reveal public buildings adjacent to the forum, complete the excavation and preservation of two churches, continue to expose the Roman fortification wall and marble bathhouse at the south city wall. 

Director: Prof. Arthur Segal, University of Haifa

Dates:  June 29 - July 24. The season is divided into 4 weekly sessions. Preference will be given to those who apply for the entire season. 

Accommodation: Youth hostel and flats, Kibbutz Ein Gev; 2-4 people per room.

Cost:  $410 (316 Euro) per full week (Sun-Sat) or $1450 (1117 Euro) for all the 4 weeks season (including weekends).

Registration fee: $100 (nonrefundable) in personal or bank check. Fee will be deducted from total cost of participants.

Work hours:  Excavation (Sunday-Thursday): 05:00-12:00, with additional work assignments and lectures in the afternoon and evenings. 

Recreation: On weekends participants may relax or travel on their own or enjoy on the shore of the Tiberias Lake.

Minimum age: 16

Minimum participation: One working week (Sunday-Thursday). Preference will be given to those who apply for the entire season.

Insurance: Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance and offer proof of doing so.

Contact: Mr. Michael Eisenberg, Assistante to Project Director, Hippos (Sussita) Project, Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Tel. 972-4-8249392; Fax: 972-4-8249876
E-mail: hippos@research.haifa.ac.il

Website: For registration details and application form http://hippos.haifa.ac.il/

Tell es-Safi, which is identified by most scholars as the biblical city of "Gath of the Philistines" (the home of Goliath!), is one of the largest tells (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th millennium BCE until modern times. Continuous excavations are planned for at least the next decade. Major finds from the first few seasons include the discoveries of a 9th century BCE destruction layer with extraordinarily rich remains and of a siege trench surrounding the site, whose date has yet to be determined.

Director: Prof. Aren Maeir

Dates: July 6 - Aug 1

Accommodation: Kibbutz Revadim. Air-conditioned rooms, 6 per room; single and double rooms available at extra charge, subject to availability.

Cost for volunteers: US$350 per week, or US$1350 for entire 4 weeks. Includes room and board (kosher food), including weekends, transportation to and from the site during excavation, and various dig-related activities.
Registration fee: US$25 (non-refundable). 

Application deadline:  May 1, 2008

Academic program: Students participating in 2 week program can earn 3 university credits from Bar-Ilan University (cost $500). Students participating in entire 4 week program can earn 6 university credits from Bar-Ilan University (cost $1000). 

Work hours: Excavation - 6:00-1:00; afternoon - various excavation related processes (such as pottery reading) and occasional tours and lectures.
Workdays: Sunday afternoon - Friday afternoon.

Minimum age: 16. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have the consent of their parents/legal guardians.

Minimum stay:  2 weeks

Recreation: Field trips; kibbutz pool.

Lecture/class: Twice a week, in evenings.

Insurance: Applicants must have medical authorization and health insurance (valid in Israel!) and complete medical form.

Contact: Prof. Aren M. Maeir, The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
TEL: +972-3-531-8299; FAX: +972-3-635-4941
E-mail: maeira@mail.biu.ac.il; aren@maeir.com
Website: For more information and registration package see: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~maeira or http://www.dig-gath.org

The coastal site of Yavneh-Yam (Jamneia-on-the-Sea) is located approximately equidistant between Jaffa and Ashdod. It was occupied from the Late Bronze Period till the Middle Ages. Current excavations deal with the Late Iron Age, Persian, Hellenistic, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.

Director: Prof. Moshe Fischer, Department of Classical Studies, Tel Aviv University 

Dates: July 13 - Aug 8

Accommodation: Ayanot Youth Village; air-conditioned rooms, 3-4 persons to a room. 

Cost for volunteers: One week: $450. Two weeks: $900. Three weeks: $1280. Four weeks: $1710 (full season).
Includes full board accommodation, on-the-job training, evening lectures and organized weekend excursions.
Registration fee: US$50 (non-refundable).

Work hours: Excavation Monday-Friday 5:00-12:00. Treatment of finds (mainly pottery washing) 16:30-18:30. Evening lectures & other activities 20:00-21:30. Saturday-Sunday free.

Minimum stay:  One week, preferably two consecutive weeks.

Minimum age: 16

Recreation: Swimming in the Mediterranean and youth village pool. There will be organized excursions to places of interest in Israel on two or three of the intermediate Sundays.

Insurance:  Volunteers must arrange their own medical and accident insurance in advance, which will be checked on arrival.

Contact: Ilan Shachar, Coordinator of the Yavneh-Yam Project, 17 Basel Street, Herzliya 46660
E-mail: ilansh@netvision.net.il
Website: For more details and application form see http://www.tau.ac.il/~yavneyam

Kibbutz Ramat Rahel is located on a hilltop (818 m above sea level), about midway between the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Previous excavations at the site unearthed a large scale citadel with a royal palace from the time of the last kings of Judah - the only royal palace ever found from the kingdom of Judah. Our main goals in this fourth excavation season will be to unearth more parts of the water system, the gardens around it, and the fortifications of the citadel. Other goals include defining the nature and the limits of the site during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. We will also search for evidence from the eighth century BCE.

Directors: Dr. Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University) and Prof. Dr. Manfred Oeming (Heidelberg University)

Dates: July 29 - Aug 26, divided into four week-long periods.
Accommodation: Full room and board at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel; choice of hostel or hotel facilities.

Cost for volunteers: Weekly fee for hostel (without private bathrooms), 2 persons per room, $475 per person / $650 for a single.
Hotel (4-star), 2 persons per room, $580 per person / $825 for a single.
Price includes: participation in the dig, full room and board, two academic lectures, evening tours of Jerusalem (including city museums), afternoons archaeological programs and social activities, use of the hotel pool. Price does not include: flights to and from Israel, transportation within Israel, insurance, weekend tours, up to $50 per person
Academic program: The Ramat Rahel Archaeological Project allows students participating in the seasonal excavations to gain academic credits by attending the project educational program. Each course is two weeks long, 3 credits each. The price for each academic credit is $100. Responsibility for arranging credit with the home institution rests with the student. For more information see Tel Aviv University website. 

Work hours: Workdays: Monday-Friday. Excavation - 5:30-12:45. Afternoons will include pottery washing, followed by academic lectures and weekly summary tours of the site.

Minimum age: 14 (minors with written parental consent)

Minimum stay:  One week

Recreation: Kibbutz pool. Evenings - social, cultural and academic activities. Weekend tours in Israel, some requiring payment for transportation and entrance fees. Students enrolled for academic credit will be required to attend all lectures and tours.

Lecture/class: Twice a week, in evenings.

Insurance: Applicants must have medical authorization and health insurance (valid in Israel!) and complete medical form.

Contact: For further information about program content, contact: omertelaviv@gmail.com.

For registration please fill the application form and than e-mail to: excavations@ramat-rachel.org.il for hotel reservation.

Tel Aviv University - http://www.tau.ac.il/~rmtrachl/

Israel Antiquities Authority

The Israel Antiquities Authority's Department of Education and Information is responsible for educational programs in archaeology and heritage preservation. The department runs three centers for archaeology, offering tours, workshops, activities, enrichment courses and opportunities to participate in excavations.

For information on volunteer opportunities available at the IAA, contact Mrs. Meyrav Shay, tel. 972-2-6204679, 972-52-4284408.

Volunteers from abroad should also prepare a photocopy of their insurance policy.

- Download IAA volunteer form

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