Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa

May—June 2022

Biblical Naarah

Since 2015, the Jordan Valley Excavation Project (JVEP) has been investigating the ancient history and archaeology of the southern Jordan Valley, with a particular focus on the Iron Age (1200-586 BC), sometimes referred to as the “Israelite period.” In 2019, JVEP began excavating the site of Khirbet ʿAuja el-Foqa, a well-preserved, fortified city on a high hill isolated by steep slopes. During the Iron Age II (1000-586 BC), the time of the Israelite kingdoms, it was probably an eastern administrative “capital” and the military center of the southern Jordan Valley, and likely played a role in the Ammonite wars that had been ongoing since the time of the judges. The site can probably be identified as biblical Naarah, mentioned in the Manasseh-Ephraim boundary description in Josh 16:6-7. This is a pioneering excavation that is producing completely new information about the administration of the northern kingdom of Israel in the southern Jordan Valley, a region that has been virtually unknown archaeologically until now.


Geographic Location

2 km west of Yitav

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age II

Dates of the Dig

May—June 2022

Minimum Stay

Two weeks

Application Due

March 30, 2021

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Yes, through Averett University. For more information, call Averett University’s IDEAL Program office at 1-800-283-7388, ext. 14949.


Open For Tours

Visitor Information:
Is the site open to visitors: Yes
Do you offer guided tours of the site: Yes
Is an appointment necessary: Yes


$2,700 for the full season of four weeks (airfare not included). Two week half-season is available for $1,350 (airfare not included). Except for airfare, the price is all-inclusive, and covers accommodations, three meals per day, transportation to and from the dig site, and a full program of tours each Saturday, including Capernaum, Nazareth, the Baptismal site, Qumran, Masada, the Mediterranean Sea, and others. Sundays are open, with guided walking tours of Jerusalem available.


Dr. David Ben-Shlomo

Dr. David Ben-Shlomo is co-director of the Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa excavation project. He serves as an associate professor of archaeology at Ariel University. He is co-editor of Judea and Samaria Research Studies.

Dr. Ralph Hawkins

Dr. Ralph Hawkins is co-director of the Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa excavation project. He serves as Director of the Program in Religion at Averett University in Danville, Virginia, where he is also Professor of Biblical and Archaeological Studies.


Dr. Ralph Hawkins
Averett University
420 West Main St.
Danville, VA 24541
Phone: (434) 773-3995
[email protected]