Abila of the Decapolis


City of an Ancient League

Located among the well-watered fields of northwest Jordan, the ancient city of Abila was once part of the Decapolis—an informal league of cities located in Jordan, southern Syria, and northeast Israel. Abila was occupied from the Early Bronze periods down into the 10th-11th centuries CE, and was located on a strategic trade route from Nabataea to Damascus.

Volunteers with our excavation will find five Byzantine churches, a Roman bath complex, 8th century CE monastic complex, beautifully painted Roman and Byzantine tombs, Bronze and Iron Age occupation areas and miles of underground water tunnels.

Students serve as square supervisors, working side by side with experienced excavators as they uncover the exciting past of our Decapolis city. Work this season will focus on finishing the excavation of two Byzantine churches and then continuing the excavation of the Bronze and Iron Age strata on the north tel, and an 8th century CE market located beside a Byzantine plaza.


Geographic Location

Northwest Jordan, 15 km north of Irbid

Periods of Occupation

Early Bronze through Middle Islamic periods

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Academic credit is available awarded by John Brown University. Cost varies.



$1600 for the season. Room, board and group transportation within Jordan included. Airfare to Jordan not included.


Dr. David Vila
John Brown University
2000 West University Street
Siloam Springs, AR 72761
Phone: 1-479-524-7329
[email protected]
Abila Archaeological Project