Tel Abel Beth Maacah

July 4—July 23, 2021

Israel’s Gateway to the Aramean World

In the Bible, Abel Beth Maacah figures prominently in 2 Samuel 20:14–22 when Sheba son of Bichri took refuge there after calling for revolt against King David. Joab’s negotiations with the “wise woman” of the city resulted in Sheba’s beheading. The Bible also describes the city as conquered by Ben Hadad of Aram-Damascus (1 Kings 15:20) and by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/732 B.C.E. (2 Kings 15:29).

Located at the meeting point of Israel, Phoenicia and Syria and strategically positioned between Dan and Hazor, the northern site of Abel Beth Maacah is possibly the capital of the Aramean kingdom of Maacah (Joshua 12:5; 2 Samuel 10:6, 8). Excavations at this cultural crossroads will expose more than the Biblical past; scholars hope to examine cultural exchange and urban interaction during the second and first millennia B.C.E.

Join Azusa Pacific University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem scholars for a chance to peer into the past of this intriguing Biblical site. Since the first season in 2013, archaeologists have uncovered an Iron Age administrative complex, cultic areas, and houses from the time of the Judges through the first century of the Divided Monarchy. Significant remains from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages have also been exposed. In 2015, a new field was opened on the slope of the acropolis, where another large building (possibly a citadel) was uncovered from Iron Age II. Inside one of the rooms of this building in 2017, team members found the small faience head of a bearded man that some think could have belonged to a biblical king. In 2019, a 9th century or early 8th century BCE storage jar was found bearing the Yahwistic name – Benayo. This is the northern Israelite equivalent of the Judean name – Benaiah.

Join us in the search for Arameans, Israelites, and Phoenicians at Abel Beth Maacah!


Geographic Location

Northern Israel

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval through Modern times

Dates of the Dig

July 4—July 23, 2021

Minimum Stay

Two weeks

Application Due

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

No Academic Credit


We will stay at Kibbutz Kfar Szold. Room arrangements will depend on recommendations from the Israeli Ministry of Health. We will follow all health advisories. Three meals per day will be provided. Transportation to and from the tel is also included. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television, kitchenette and a full bathroom. Linens and towels are provided. There is also a swimming pool and access to free wi-fi.

Open For Tours



$570/week for volunteers (room and board). Airfare not included in either option.


Robert Mullins

Robert A. Mullins, Azusa Pacific University, has worked on several archaeological excavations, most notably at Beth-Shean (1 Samuel 31:10; 1 Kings 4:12) and Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley.

Naama Yahalom-Mack

Naama Yahalom-Mack of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem specializes in archaeometallurgy. She is also the Director of excavations at Tel Zeror.

Nava Panitz-Cohen

Nava Panitz-Cohen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as an area supervisor for excavations at Tel Rehov with Amihai Mazar, and has published reports on Tel Batash and Beth Shean. She also serves as the editor of the Qedem Monograph Series of the Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Robert Mullins
Azusa Pacific University
701 East Foothill Boulevard
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
Phone: 909-638-4291
[email protected]


Update: The new dates are tentative since no one knows what will be the state of the Coronavirus at this time. As a result, please do not purchase plane tickets or make deposits until closer to the start of the season when we will know for sure that the dig can proceed based on advisories from the Israeli government. Check our website for updates.