An Important Biblical Stronghold

Perched high above the rolling hills of the Judean lowlands sits the mound of Azekah, an ancient Biblical stronghold overlooking the magnificent Valley of Elah, where tradition holds that David battled with Goliath. For millennia, Azekah was an important border fortress and regional center that flourished due to its strategic location along one of the main routes leading from the coast to Jerusalem.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

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. More information.

Join directors Oded Lipschits, Manfred Oeming and Yuval Gadot as they excavate this Judahite stronghold that the mighty Assyrian king Sennacherib called an eagle’s nest with towers that project to the sky like swords. And only a hundred years later, the fortress was mentioned again by the Judahite garrison station at Lachish, who famously wrote in one of their final letters, “We cannot see anymore the fire-signals of Azekah.” The site remained a strategic border post into the Hasmonean period, when John Hyrcanus I, the Hasmonean king, built a massive fortified citadel atop the mound, the remains of which are still visible.
Azekah has yielded exciting archaeological secrets across the 2012–2015 seasons. Now, as we ready for the fourth season of excavation in 2016, we hope that the site will continue to reveal exciting architecture, stunning pottery and rare evidence of the domestic and cultic lives of its inhabitants.
The team at Azekah includes archaeologists, historians and scientific specialists, ensuring that volunteers work across a range of interdisciplinary academic fields. Volunteers can also choose to come and excavate with the team and learn crucial fieldwork skills through the on-site Archaeological Fieldwork course. The daily schedule at Azekah is sure to make the most of the archaeological experience, with archaeology during the day and guest lectures, courses and site tours in the afternoon. Whether for fun, education, passion or simply general interest, volunteers can be sure to connect to the greater archaeology community and history of the land of the Bible at Azekah July–August 2016.
You can also find out more about us at or through our Facebook page at

Oded Lipschits

Oded LipschitsOded Lipschits codirects the Azekah excavation. He is senior lecturer in the department of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, as well as a professor in the Jewish history department. In 2004 Dr. Lipschits published The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem (Eisenbrauns), for which he received the Zehavah and Eliyahu Eilat Prize. In 2005 he was awarded the Ish-Shalom Prize for Best Book in the Research of the History of Israel. His most recent book, Judah and the Judeans in the Persian Period, was published in January 2006 (Eisenbrauns).

Manfred Oeming

Manfred OemingManfred Oeming is codirector of the Azekah excavation. He is a professor of Old Testament theology and Jewish history at the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Oeming has contributed to and written several books, including Contemporary Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction (Ashgate, 2006).

Yuval Gadot

Yuval GadotYuval Gadot earned a Ph.D. in archaeology from Tel Aviv University, and is currently a research fellow at the Hebrew Union College, as well as a lecturer at the Open University in Israel.

Dig Directors

Oded Lipschits
Manfred Oeming
Yuval Gadot

Geographic Location

Judean foothills, 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age through Roman period

Dates of the Dig

July 16 – August 11, 2016

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

May 31, 2016


2,500 NIS or $665 USD per week - airfare not included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Up to 6 credits - Tel Aviv University


Kibbutz Gal’on is the ideal location to unwind, relax and socialize at the end of a digging day. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, there are bushwalk opportunities for those with energy to burn. For those more inclined to revive and relax there is a bar, swimming pool and communal relaxation areas equipped with wi-fi. The air conditioned rooms are designed to house four people, and we can accept special bunkmate requests. Discover more at


Ms. Limor Torbatti
Institute of Archaeology
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv POB 39040
Tel Aviv 61390
Phone: 011.972.3.6409952

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment