Hundreds of volunteers from countries worldwide visit the Near East and Egypt each year in order to take part in excavations sponsored by various universities and institutions. Some are college students looking to combine degree credit with a new experience. Others are keenly interested amateurs of all ages seeking to “get their hands dirty” in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East.
In the rapidly developing nations of the region, each possessing a millennia-old archaeological heritage, the task of excavation is vast, and volunteers are now regarded as an indispensible part of many dig directors’ excavation strategies.
Expeditions currently looking for assistance are listed below (by country and in alphabetical order) with a brief summary. In many cases, for more detailed information or for the results of past seasons, follow the links or click on the site / excavation name. General information and advice for volunteers can also be found on this page.
(picture at left) Volunteers at work, Tel Rehov, 1999.
host countries / excavations
NB: A convenient annual summary of information regarding volunteer excavation opportunities in Israel is published online by the Israel Foreign Ministry.
28 June 2005 – 6 August 2005
Application deadline: 15 April 2005
In June, 2005, an international consortium will resume excavation at one of the richest and most spectacular sites in coastal Israel. King Solomon’s principal harbor, a major Caananite, Sea Peoples, Phoenician, Jewish, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman city, and a Crusader fortress, Tel Dor offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to learn the techniques of modern field archaeology from experienced excavators. In 2005 the consortium will resume excavation and scientific sampling of the Roman, Hellenistic, Persian, and Iron Age levels on the south side of the site, paying specific attention to its urban development, monumental buildings, dwelling houses, and palaeoenvironment; will continue to investigate the impact upon the city’s native Phoenician-Israelite culture of contact with/conquest by outside powers, especially Persians, Athenians, Macedonians, and Romans; will continue the conservation of the Roman houses and temple approaches on the west side of the site; and will continue to prepare previously-excavated areas for publication. Volunteers are welcome. No previous archaeological training is necessary; a field school is offered for academic credit.
The dig is directed by Dr Ilan Sharon (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), assisted by Ayelet Gilboa (University of Haifa / Stephen Weiner Weizmann Institute of Science, Andrew Stewart University of California at Berkeley), Aaron Brody (Graduate Theological Union/Pacific School of Religion), Sarah Stroup (University of Washington at Seattle) and Elizabeth Bloch-Smith (Gratz College).
The minimum length of stay for volunteers is 2 weeks and no previous experience is required. Excavation housing is provided in multi-room cabins, three persons per room, at Nahsholim Seaside Resort (http://www.nahsholim.co.il), a 5 minute walk from the site and beach. Each room has a private bath/shower, unequipped kitchenette, air conditioning, TV, and shared patio with shaded picnic tables and chairs. Fees include room and board (excellent hotel food) for seven days per week. Hotel amenities available; mini-market, restaurants, and snack bars close by. Costs are to be finalised but should be around $3,000 for the full season, shorter periods pro-rated; student discounts are available. Academic credit (2-4 credits) is offered by the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington and Gratz College (fees to be determined). Contact: Professor Andrew Stewart, Department of History of Art, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6020, USA, tel +1 510-642-9040, +1 510-643-2185, email: email@example.com