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.
Northwest Jordan, 15 km north of Irbid
Early Bronze through Middle Islamic periods
Academic credit is available awarded by John Brown University. Cost varies.
Volunteers are housed in the Hartha Secondary Girls School which is vacant during the summer. Classrooms are converted into living and work spaces. A local cook prepares all meals. Living conditions are somewhat more primitive compared to some excavations. But our location in the middle of the small village of Hartha means that volunteers are frequently invited into the homes of Jordanians in the evenings and to local cultural events such as weddings.