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.
2 km west of Yitav
Iron Age II
March 30, 2021
Yes, through Averett University. For more information, call Averett University’s IDEAL Program office at 1-800-283-7388, ext. 14949.
Is the site open to visitors: Yes
Do you offer guided tours of the site: Yes
Is an appointment necessary: Yes
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 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.