09 5244139 [email protected]

Dig Deep - Archaeology Expedition to Israel

Jan - Feb 2019| Israel
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About the dig

Unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

2 or 3 week trip with 10-15 days of organised activities, including:

  • Five days of lectures and excursions organised by the Hebrew University to set the scene
  • Five-day dig in the Judean hills, at a virgin site, untouched possibly for thousands of years
  • Free time to visit friends and family, travel or explore

Anyone with a sincere interest is welcome to join.

What we will do

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Macquarie University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority will jointly excavation the site of Khirbet el Rai located in the Shephelah region of Israel, about 2 km west of Tel Lachish and approximately 60 kms SW of Jerusalem. It is a small site ca. 1.8 ha, but of critical importance.

The excavation will run for three weeks from 27 Jan – 14 Feb, 2019. It will be co-directed by Professor Yossi Garfinkel, Dr Kyle Keimer (Macquarie University) and Saar Ganor. Kyle has worked with Yossi previously at Khiret Qeiyafa and lectures in the archaeology of Ancient Israel. Students will be drawn from Macquarie and other Australian and New Zealand universities, and high school teachers. Dr Gil Davis (Macquarie) will co-organise the logistics, and piggy-back the excavation directly onto the intensive summer course held at Hebrew University on Biblical Archaeology (run by Professor Wayne Horowitz and Gil). It will be a training dig for all students using the latest scientific archaeological equipment, including recording the dig for viewing with VR.

Dig Deep Schedule

This is valid at 31 May 2018, and will be updated as the time approaches.

Week One

Sunday am
Check-in and Orientation


Sunday pm
Two Lectures

The Bible and The Land of Israel, History, Geography, and Narrative

Monday am
Two Lectures

Jerusalem of the Patriarchs, Jerusalem of King David and Solomon

Monday pm
Study Trip

Visit The City of David and Davidson Center

Tuesday am
Two Lectures

The Archaeology of The First Temple Period, A Miracle or Surrender: Competing Judean and Assyrian Views of Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah of 701 BCE

Tuesday pm
Study trip


Full Day Study Trip to the Ashqelon, Tel Lachish, and the Land of David and Goliath

Thursday am
Two lectures


The Fall of Jerusalem: The Archaeological Remains, Jerusalem by the Euphrates: The Beginnings of Diaspora

Thursday pm
Informal visit

Visit to the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

Friday and Shabbat (Sat)
Free time

not included in the costs of the trip

Week Two

5-day stay at Kibbutz Neta, in the Judean hills, about an hour’s drive South from Jerusalem. Includes accommodation at the Kibbutz guesthouse, all meals and snacks at the accommodation and on-site, transport, and access to the lecture program and off-site trips for participants.
Friday and Shabbat free time (not included in the costs of the trip).

Week Three (optional)

Remain on for an extra week (5 days) at the Dig, while continuing to stay at Kibbutz Neta


and organisers

Professor Yossi Garfinkel
Professor Yossi Garfinkel

professor of Prehistoric Archaeology and of Archaeology of the Biblical Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Yosef (Yossi) Garfinkel was born in 1956 in Haifa, Israel. He is a curator of the museum of Yarmukian Culture at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaGolan. Garfinkel specializes in the Protohistoric era of the Near East, the period of time when the world’s earliest village communities were established and the beginning of agriculture took place. He has excavated numerous Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites, including GesherYiftahelNeolithic AshkelonSha’ar HaGolanTel ‘Ali and Tel Tsaf. Garfinkel is the author of 12 books and over 100 articles on ancient architecture, farming, water sources, pottery, art, religion and dance.

In 2007, he began conducting excavations at the fortified city of Khirbet Qeiyafa. This site is dated to the early 10th century BC, the period of the biblical King David. In the 2008 season an inscription was discovered written in ink on a pottery shard in a script which is probably Early Alphabetic/Proto Phoenician.This might be the earliest Hebrew inscription ever found, although the actual language of the inscription is still under debate.[4][5]

He is currently digging at Tel Lachish in search of Iron Age fortifications.

Dr Kyle Keimer
Dr Kyle Keimer

Lecturer in the Archaeology, History and Language of Ancient Israel, Department of Ancient History, Maquarie University

Dr Keimer is a Lecturer in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel. He received a B.A. in anthropology from the Ohio State University, an M.A. from Wheaton College in Biblical Archaeology, and a Ph.D. from UCLA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, with a specialization in the archaeology of the southern Levant. He was both the George A. Barton Fellow and an E.C.A. Fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Dr Keimer has excavated remains from the Middle Bronze Age to the Ottoman period in Israel and Cyprus, digging at: Hazor, Beersheba, Jaffa, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Caesarea Maritima, and Idalion. In addition to excavating, he has led numerous study tours in Israel with a focus on the historical geography of the land. His research interests include ancient Near Eastern warfare and its relationship to geopolitical and socioeconomic developments, historical geography, state formation in the ancient Near East, and the Hebrew Bible, in particular the Pentateuch and the book of Isaiah

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Dr Gil Davis
Dr Gil Davis

Director, Program for Ancient Mediterranean Studies Macquarie University

He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Sydney University and Ancient History at Macquarie University where he completed his doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr David Phillips. He taught Greek history at Adelaide University before taking up the post at Macquarie. Prior to undertaking his PhD, he had 25 years business experience as a top-selling real estate agent, author, and real-estate journalist. He has been the Managing Editor of the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia (the peak numismatic body in the country) from 2011 to the present.

Gil has established the Program for the Archaeology of Ancient Israel. It has raised funds from the community to support the appointment of a lecturer, excavate at the important site of Tel Azekah in Israel with Tel Aviv University, send students annually to Israel for the excavations and study, and bring leading scholars to Australia to lecture publically and work with MQ students.

Gil’s fields of research are Greek history and numismatics, especially the study of Athens in the late Archaic Period. He teaches Greek history. His current research projects are:

  • The Early Attic Coin project with A/Prof. Kenneth Sheedy, which is assembling a complete die-linked corpus of Athenian coinage pre-479 BC
  • An ARC-supported project which is analysing the chemical composition of early Attic coinage with A/Prof. Damian Gore and A/Prof. Kenneth Sheedy
  • Revising and publishing his PhD on the transformation of Athens in the 6th century BC


Indicative cost for 2 weeks: NZD $3,680 p.p. excl airfares for the University programme and dig,
based on a conversion rate of NZD $1 = USD 70 cents.

Optional third week: (5 days) at the dig for an extra NZD $1,000.

Note: The trip will be subject to achieving a minimum number of participants.
An up-front deposit of NZD $500 is refundable only if the trip is cancelled by the organisers.

Get in Touch

Contact: Ezra (027) 645 1909
For further information and to express your interest

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