July 20 – August 15, 2019

An Important Biblical Stronghold

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 five seasons, from 2012–2016. Following a rest year to work on our Azekah I report, we are ready to continue our field efforts in 2019!

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 five years, we are now more focused as an excavation than ever. To date we have sampled eight areas for excavation, and have learned a great deal more about this site’s impressive and complex history. As we look to 2019, our goals are to develop our detailed understanding of Late Bronze Age Azekah, continue our insights into the sites role during the Iron Age, and develop our current radiocarbon, residue analysis, petrography, ceramic, forensic anthropology, and zooarchaeology studies.

You can also find out more about us at azekah.org or through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LautenschlaegerAzekahExpedition.


How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. Learn more >>


Geographic Location

Shephelah, south-central Israel

Periods of Occupation

Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, Persian, Hasmonean, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine

Dates of the Dig

July 20 – August 15, 2019

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

May 30, 2019

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

3 credits; awarded by Tel Aviv University


Participants of the 2019 Lautenschläger Azekah Archaeological Expedition will stay at the Zafit School in Kfar Menahem, which is conveniently situated a few minutes’ drive from Tel Azekah. Rooms are designed to room four people and is fully equipped with air conditioning 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.

Open For Tours

Yes - by appointment


$500/$450 per week — airfare not included


Oded Lipschits

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

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

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.


Excavation Administrator
Institute of Archaeology
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv POB 39040
Tel Aviv 61390
Phone: 011.972.3.6409952
[email protected]