Tel Burna

June 13—July 9, 2021

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 tel’s prominence is notable in its flat-topped shape, extensive size and fortification, 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 B.C.E. have been exposed, including a fortification wall that enclosed the summit of the tel.


Geographic Location

The Judean Shephelah

Periods of Occupation

Late Bronze and Iron Ages

Dates of the Dig

June 13—July 9, 2021

Minimum Stay

1 week

Application Due

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

3 or 6 credits; $200/$400 per 2/4 weeks; awarded by Ariel University. Possible credit through Lipscomb University.


Volunteers will be provided with full room and board at Kibbutz Netiv Halemd Hay, which features a/c, private bathrooms and free wi-fi. Standard rooms are 4 people per room; however, double and single rooms are available at an additional cost.

Open For Tours

Yes - by appointment


$550.00 per week. Does not include airfare or weekends. In addition, there is a non-refundable $50 application fee.


Itzick Shai

Itzick Shai is a senior lecturer and the Head of the Institute of Archaeology at Ariel University. He has extensive experience in field archaeology from different periods. His published articles are concerned with Philistine material culture, place names and their importance in ethnic identification, the status of Jerusalem in the Iron Age and the political structure of Philistia.

Steven Ortiz

Steven Ortiz is the director of the Lanier Center for Archaeology at Lipscomb University. He is also professor of archaeology and biblical studies. His research focus is the Iron Age in the southern Levant. He specializes in the use of archeological methods and theory in the interpretation of the past. Specifically, how this enterprise can illuminate and reconstruct history relative to ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible.


Dr. Steve Ortiz
Lipscomb University
One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
United States
Phone: 817-739-4172
Email: [email protected]