Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa

May 26 – June 23, 2019

Biblical Ataroth, an Administrative Center

One of the most vexing issues in Biblical archaeology today has to do with the nature and extent of the early Kingdom of Judah—or the “United Kingdom” of Israel—and the days of Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Was it a kingdom at all? Did it have a centralized administration or government? Were there fortified cities associated with it? The discovery and excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa, in the Elah Valley, was the earliest fortified city uncovered in the territory of the Kingdom of Judah that dates to the period of Kings Saul and David. To the east, in the southern Jordan Valley, another such site is Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa, a fortified town located on a prominent hill controlling the ‘Auja spring and overlooking the Jericho Valley.

The survey of Manasseh has already shown that this is a fortified site that dates to the Iron Age II (1000–586 B.C.E.) and that it has at least two phases of occupation, with structures standing up to 2 m high. It contains dozens of structures and is encircled by a casemate wall. It may be identified with the site of Ataroth, mentioned in the description of the Manasseh-Ephraim boundary in Joshua 16:5, and may have served as a regional administrative center for the Kingdom of Judah.

Join dig directors David Ben-Shlomo and Ralph Hawkins in this exciting project to investigate the site, its date, and its material culture, as well as the question of whether it may be linked to the Israelite settlement of the region in Biblical times.


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

2 km west of Yitav

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age II

Dates of the Dig

May 26 – June 23, 2019

Minimum Stay

Two weeks

Application Due

February 22, 2019

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

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


he New Metropole Hotel, 2–3 per room, with air-conditioning and three meals a day. The hotel is located just about a two-minute walk from the Old City Walls and provides an ideal base for daily strolls to and from the major historical and Biblical sites of the Holy City. 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.

Open For Tours



$2,700 for the full four week season (airfare not included), or $1,350 for the two-week half-season (airfare not included)


David Ben-Shlomo

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.

Ralph Hawkins

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]