Tel Burna

June 18 - July 14, 2023

An Iron Age Mystery

The site of Tel Burna is located in the Shephelah region, which served as a border between the kingdoms of Judah and Philistia in the Iron Age. A fertile area that supported agricultural production, the region became known as the breadbasket of the south and is believed by some scholars to be a candidate for biblical Libnah, a Canaanite town that was conquered by Joshua who allotted it to the tribe of Judah.

The tell’s prominence is notable in its flat-topped shape, extensive size, and fortifications, which are still visible today. Survey finds indicate the city was important throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. Excavations have revealed a Late Bronze Age (Canaanite) public building with a large assemblage of cultic finds (masks, figurines, feasting vessels, etc.). In addition, a few strata dating to the ninth, eighth, and seventh centuries BCE have been exposed, including a fortification wall that enclosed the summit of the tell.


Geographic Location

Shephelah, South-Central Israel

Dates of the Dig

June 18 - July 14, 2023

Minimum Stay

1 Week

Application Due

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Contact for more details


During the week, the team stays in the beautiful guesthouse at Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Heh. The guesthouse is situated right beside biblical Socoh in the Elah Valley, where the biblical text indicates that David fought Goliath (1 Sam 17:1-2). The kibbutz is a short drive away from Beth Shemesh and about a half-an-hour drive from Jerusalem.


$550 per week. Does not include weekends. In addition, there is a non-refundable $50 application fee.


Itzick Shai: Ariel University

Steven Ortiz: Lipscomb University


Dr. Itzick Shai
[email protected]

To learn how you can get involved, visit their website.