A country home to a vast expanse of human history, Israel is a land rich in opportunities for archaeological excavations. Yet while there are opportunities to dig from the north to the south, none quite rival the untapped potential of Azekah. The team at Tel Azekah have successfully completed eight seasons, from 2012–2020 and now we’re ready to take on our ninth season at Azekah 2021!
The Biblical text references the area around Azekah as the arena for the battle between boy David and the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1). Beyond its significance as a central Judean town, the site gains archaeological and historical importance from its destruction by the Assyrian King Sennacherib. Referenced in Assyrian texts, Sennacherib described the site as an “eagle’s nest…with towers that project to the sky like swords.” Such evocative imagery, combined with the context of the text, constructs the site as a significant Judahite border-stronghold. Azekah is also referenced in Jeremiah 34:7, as one of the remaining fortified cities of Judah. Nehemiah 11:30 writes that Azekah was resettled by Judeans in the Persian period, and remained part of the Province of Judah during the Ptolemaic period.
Working to document, preserve, and publish the material that we have excavated over the past eight years, we are now more focused as an excavation than ever. To date, we have established twelve areas for excavation, and have learned a great deal more about this site’s impressive and complex history. As we look to 2021, we aim to further develop our understanding of the Middle and Late Bronze Age city, and continue to gain further insight into the role of Azekah during the Iron Age by using modern excavation techniques, radiocarbon, residue analysis, petrography, ceramic, forensic anthropology, and zooarchaeology studies.
Shephelah, south-central Israel
Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, Persian, Hasmonean, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine
July 11—August 6, 2021
Sunday May 30, 2021
3 credits; awarded by Tel Aviv University
Participants of the 2021 Lautenschläger Azekah Archaeological Expedition will stay at Netiv Ha-Lamed-He, a serene oasis a mere 10-minute drive away from the site. Rooms are designed to house four people, and come equipped with an ensuite bathroom, storage and air conditioning. A communal kitchen is also available for that morning coffee or afternoon snack! There are two room types available for volunteers. Shared room of four people (with en suite shower and toilet): 2,500 NIS per week. Shared room of four people (with communal shower and toilet between several rooms) [Limited Availability]: 2,200 NIS per week.
Yes - by appointment
Oded Lipschits codirects the Azekah excavation. He is senior lecturer in the department of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, as well as a professor in the Jewish history department. In 2004 Dr. Lipschits published The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem (Eisenbrauns), for which he received the Zehavah and Eliyahu Eilat Prize. In 2005 he was awarded the Ish-Shalom Prize for Best Book in the Research of the History of Israel. His most recent book, Judah and the Judeans in the Persian Period, was published in January 2006 (Eisenbrauns).
Manfred Oeming is codirector of the Azekah excavation. He is a professor of Old Testament theology and Jewish history at the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Oeming has contributed to and written several books, including Contemporary Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction (Ashgate, 2006).
Yuval Gadot earned a Ph.D. in archaeology from Tel Aviv University, and is currently a research fellow at the Hebrew Union College, as well as a lecturer at the Open University in Israel.
Institute of Archaeology
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv POB 39040
Tel Aviv 61390
To learn how you can get involved, visit Azekah.org and check out our social media!