"We have great faculty who are not just great at teaching archaeology and teaching the Bible, but they are great archaeologists."

Cameron Coyle, 2013 Field Archaeologist


Volunteer Information


Download: Gezer Student Handbook

Dear Prospective Volunteer,

I would like to invite you to join Sam and me as fellow excavators at Tel Gezer. All that is required of volunteers is the desire to work hard and participate in new experiences. No previous excavation experience is required; in fact, a majority of excavation volunteers are not even archaeology students.

The Project consists of three components. The main component is the actual field excavation. This process involves several tasks such as hauling buckets of dirt, using picks and hoes, and small detailed work with trowels, brushes, and dental tools. It is important that you be in excellent health and able to work in hot weather. The work is dusty and you will sweat. Each volunteer works with an excavation team under the direction of an area supervisor, so the tasks are equally shared. Each area supervisor assists in the daily teaching and demonstration of archaeological method and theory. Other components include academic lectures and weekend study tours.

Daily Schedule
Most excavations in Israel start at daylight and excavate until the early afternoon to avoid the hot afternoons. Excavations at the site will occur early morning (about 5:00 am) until 12:30 pm. Students and staff will have a wake up call in camp. There will be a light breakfast available before travel to the site (coffee, tea, bread, jam). After the morning excavation session there will be a large break for the main breakfast (8:30 am). Excavations will continue with a fruit break at 11:00 am. Excavations will resume until 12:30.

At the hotel volunteers will have lunch, shower and free time. In the afternoon, the academic session will continue with lab work in camp (pottery washing, processing of material culture, etc.), and a lecture by a member of our staff or a guest scholar. Dinner and free time will follow the afternoon lecture. Our work week will be from Monday morning through Friday afternoon. The weekends (Friday p.m.-Sunday) will consist of field trips (mandatory for those taking academic credit).

Accommodations and Meals
The excavation camp is located at the Neve Shalom hotel. It is ideally situated in in the heartland of Israel, within easy access of the Ben Gurion International Airport, Jerusalem, the coastal plain and scenic and historical sites. Neve Shalom is only 15 minutes from Tel Gezer. Volunteers sleep in air-conditioned suites, four to a suite. Each suite is self-contained with its own bathroom, television, telephone. Clean linens and towels will be provided daily. Two breakfasts will be provided on the Tel and at base camp. Lunch and dinner meals will be prepared by the hotel and served in the hotel dining room. There is free wireless internet available in the hotel lobby and rooms.

Length of Stay/Room and Board/Costs
Volunteers are encouraged to join the project for the full four weeks of the excavation season. There are a limited number of spots available, and these will be reserved for those students who can participate for the full season. However it is possible to arrange for a minimum two week stay upon approval by the project directors. The cost for the full four weeks is $2400.00. Additional costs include round trip airfare to Israel, tuition, and a $800 field trip fee.

Airline Flight:
If you desire to use a travel agent, we have used Jerusalem Tours International. You do not have to use our project travel agent, many participants use their own sources. The project will provide transport from the airport to the hotel for a nominal fee ($10.00 each way).

Sara Chay
Jerusalem Tours International
5085 East Main Street
Columbus, OH 43213
Phone: 1-888-373-8687
Fax: 614-501-6739
Website: www.jerusalemtours.com

Academic Credit
Academic credit is available for participating in the project. There are two courses (3 units each) of graduate or undergraduate credit offered through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, several of our consortium schools also offer credit through their institutions. Tuition is $500 for each three unit course.

Application Deadlines and Payment Schedule

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 15th, 2017 (deadline has been extended)

Safety in Israel/Foreign Travel
As with any foreign travel, students should be concerned with their safety and protection. Students on the project are almost always in a group setting. Recent events illustrate the tensions that are present in the region, unfortunately, media reports usually focus on the violence distorting the day to day living of most of the inhabitants. Neve Shalom and Tel Gezer are located in safe regions. Foreigners in Israel are not the prime targets for acts of terrorism. The project does not assume a 'hands off' approach to the political situation but takes every necessary precaution for the safety of the project particpants.

Details of the project can be found throughout the webpage. Please do not hesitate to contact either of the project directors for additional information or inquiries. We look forward to having you join us this summer.

Steve Ortiz and Sam Wolff