Israel - Tel Beth Shemesh


Since the beginning of modern explorations of the ancient Near East, Tel Beth Shemesh attracted great interest. Its long sequence of occupational history has yielded significant data about local cultural histories, trade and the evolution of local agricultural practices.  During the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, Tel Beth-Shemesh was located at the geographic meeting point of three different ethnic and cultural groups (Philistines, Canaanites and Israelites), making it an ideal site to investigate ancient geopolitical, social, and cultural dynamics at a border zone. This summer our excavation team will concentrate in the northern area of the site in order to explore cultural diversity, continuity, and changes from Level 4 (10th Century BCE) down to Level 9 (13th Century BCE). We reached the very top of the Late Bronze Age destruction layer at the end of last season (2014) so this year will be especially exciting. Within and under this 13th Century BCE destruction layer we expect to find fired mudbricks, complete ceramic vessels, some of which will likely contain charred plant remains, and many artifacts still preserved in their primary context. We will be excavating in an area of the site where we discovered a very large palace from the el-Amarna Period (14th Century BCE), which may have been the seat of a (female!) monarch who ruled the walled Canaanite city and its environs. 

Israel - Tel Beth Shemesh - Institute for Field Research Field Schools Israel - Tel Beth Shemesh 18-35 2014-06-20

Course Dates: May 31 - June 27, 2015
Payment Deadline: April 18, 2015
Enrollment Status: OPEN 
Total Cost: $ 4,900
Course Type: Field Archaeology
Instructors: Dr. Shawn Bubel, Dr. Zvi Lederman, Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz



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Dr. Shawn Bubel

Dr. Buble ( is Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Lethbridge (Canada).  For more information, click here.
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Dr. Zvi Lederman

Dr. Lederman ( is Project Director at the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University (Israel).  For more information, click here.
Shlomo Bunimovitz

Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz

Prof. Bunimovitz ( is a Professor at the Department of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University (Israel).  For more information, click here.


"Excavating at Tel Beth-Shemesh was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever been a part of. The opportunity to dig at Beth-Shemesh included long hours, hot days, and back-breaking work, yet it was the highlight of my undergraduate degree. Any hardships of the field school are easily leveled with an incredible attainment of knowledge, wondrous travel and bonding with fellow students. The capable directors inspired students through lectures, pottery washing and their own thriving passion for the field of archaeology. Tel Beth-Shemesh was a unique field school, with a cooperative collaboration of the most amazing professors. The electric atmosphere is an opportunity every student should be able to take advantage of; it enables one to learn at a quick and easy nature. The hands-on experience of Tel Beth-Shemesh simply cannot be beat."

-Kali Wade, University of Lethbridge (2012)

"Choosing to attend the field school at Tel Beth-Shemesh was one of the greatest and most life changing experiences I have ever made. Having been my first field school, I was immersed into the world of archaeology and never looked back. With hands-on experience you are able to take part in all parts of the excavation, learning pivotal field practices and getting to excavate with some of your closest friends. I made some amazing friends and memories excavating at TBS. Being surrounded by such a rich history and getting to learn from professors that are passionate about what they do was such a rewarding experience. Israel is an incredibly beautiful country and I loved being able to spend my weekends participating on field trips that took you everywhere; from the Sea of Galilee to the imposing site of Masada, I was thrilled to be able to visit these awe-inspiring locations. Do not hesitate to take part in this amazing field school, I guarantee you will not regret it!"

-Tara Collett, University of Lethbridge (2012)

"My work done at Tel Beth-Shemesh is by far one of my greatest accomplishments to this day. The field school is highly intensive, very dirty, and always challenging. My involvement in the project was a turning point in my academic career. I was able to learn about geoarchaeology and stratigraphy in a way that really brought the story to life. It provided me with hands on experience, and the ability to add to the archaeological history of the site instead of reading about it in a textbook. There is nothing more fulfilling than the team discovering an artifact or new area of the site, and feeling the energy among your colleges. Dig directors Zvi Lederman, Shlomo Bunimovitz, and Shawn Bubel are great sources of knowledge, and love discussing the history of Tel Beth-Shemesh. I highly recommend Tel Beth-Shemesh: if it is your first dig or your 10th, there is always much to be learned."

-Ariel Pollard-Belsheim, Memorial University (2011)

"One of the top five experiences of my life. The instructional staff was very friendly and knowledgeable, offering decades of experience for students to access. While the dig itself was very educational and enriching, I found the lab work the most interesting. The chance to visit Israel and see many of the sites of the Levant made this a well-rounded experience. I would recommend this dig to any student even remotely serious about Archaeology."

-Marcus Dostie, University of Lethbridge (2012)

"I excavated at Tel Beth-Shemesh during my third year of studies. It was amazing to actually see the artifacts and sites I had been learning about in my classes. The dig leaders were great and always available to answer your questions. While it was hard work, it was very rewarding. It’s a very intense feeling when you uncover an artifact and realize that no one has seen or touched it for thousands of years. It’s even better when you can understand what it was used for in antiquity. My experience was very rewarding and I would go back at any chance I got."

-Samantha Workman, University of Lethbridge (2012)

"The excavation at Tel Beth-Shemesh was and still is one of the best experiences of my life. Not only is it an incredible chance to see Israel, and its amazing culture, but it also provides you with the chance to physically apply the knowledge you have been fostering throughout your university career. It is great to be able to look at the complex stratigraphy found at Beth-Shemesh and interact with it, and to work with the materials you have been learning about for the past few years. Here we learned how to approach excavations in the Near East, how to work with the materials we had unearthed, and how to carry out analysis of the material culture. It is an incredible experience where you can appreciate the work associated with archaeology, and see the world while you're at it."

-Corey Davis, University of Lethbridge (2012)

"I'm not a science student, but I enjoyed my whole experience in Israel just as much as the students actually studying archaeology. While it's not my area at all, I learned a lot and I didn't feel like it was above my head at all. It was such an amazing opportunity to go across the world and work for a month, and I would love to go back!"

-Kenzie Ferguson, University of Lethbridge (2012)




Student Fees

Payment by Cashier or Personal Check 

Deposit: 500 USD
Tuition: 4,400 USD
TOTAL: 4,900 USD
  • A 2% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments

  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by April 18, 2015.


During the week, students and staff stay in the modest but comfortable guest-house at kibbutz Nativ HaLamed-heh – which is just a few miles from the site. Each room accommodates 3-4 people, is air-conditioned, and has an adjoining bathroom. Bedding and towels are provided by the guest-house.  

MEALS:  All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious, basic food in the tradition of local cuisine. Lunch and dinner are served in the central meeting room on the kibbutz. A variety of dishes will be prepared, each of which will have a protein, vegetables, and a starch (rice, potatoes, bread, etc.). Israel is known for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so students will have lots of opportunities to try these. Breakfast is served on site (second breakfast) and normally includes cucumbers, tomatoes, and other fresh vegetables, eggs, bread, cereal, fresh milk, and yoghurt. Food treats on the weekends would be falafel and shawarma dishes. The meals are kosher. Special dietary needs cannot be guaranteed but vegetable dishes are always served. Other, more specific dietary needs cannot be accommodated. Tap water at the kibbutz and throughout Israel is safe to drink.