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Dhiban Archaeological Field School in Jordan

Location: Dhiban, Jordan

June 28, 2013 to August 9, 2013

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 15, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of California, Berkeley

Project Director:

Benjamin Porter, University of California, Berkeley, Katherine Adelsberger, Knox College, Danielle Fatkin, Knox College, and Bruce Routledge, University of Liverpool

Project Description

A durable and persistent attachment to place is readily observed at Dhiban, located approximately 70 kilometers south of 'Amman, Jordan's capital city. Over the last five millennia, Dhiban has seen repeated attempts to organize large sedentary populations in unique configurations, only to see these efforts languish after only a few centuries.  Physical evidence for these trials are found throughout Dhiban's vicinity, but are most concentrated in a 12.5-hectare tall adjacent to the modern settlement. Here, physical evidence from the Early Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic settlements can be recovered using archaeological research methods.

The Dhiban Archaeological Field School in Jordan introduces students to contemporary archaeological and environmental field research through hand-on learning experiences.  Students also receive an overview of Jordan’s history through readings, lectures, and visits to key archaeological sites.  By the course’s completion, students will understand the basic excavation and site-survey techniques, including data collection and recording.  Instruction occurs in the classroom seminars, field sites, and laboratories.  Students take guided field trips on some weekends to Petra, Jerash, Amman, and other archaeological and cultural sites in the region. 

This field school is the educational component of the Dhiban Excavation and Development Project (DEDP). Started in 2004, the DEDP is a collaborative project involving scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and North America. For more information on the Dhiban Project, visit  The DEDP's research design reflects its multi-disciplinary approach that spans history, geology, anthropology, environmental studies, tourism studies, and the materials sciences.

Students work on the site for six weeks from Sunday-Thursday approximately eight hours per day. Over the six-week period, students rotate each week in groups of three or four through set stations designed to teach them different aspects of field research.  Simultaneously, there is a weekly theme in which students receive more formal instruction from the instructor or a staff specialist. 

Weekends are Friday and Saturday. On most breaks, students have the freedom to explore Jordan, leaving on their own from the tourist hub of Madaba.  Most weekends students will travel on organized field trips to Petra, Jerash, ‘Amman, the Dead Sea, Karak, and the Early Islamic Desert Castles.

Research during the 2013 field season will focus on the excavation of an Iron Age Moabite monumental building, a Late Roman and Byzantine residency, a Mamluk-era agro-pastoralist village, and a large water reservoir used in both the Iron Age and Classical Period.     

Period(s) of Occupation: Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic

This project combines archaeological and geological field science techniques.

Project size: 
25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Six-weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
None, but interests in archaeology, geology, environmental sciences, and history are recommended

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will stay in a hotel in nearby Madaba and will be provided with 3 meals/day.  Cost also includes weekend field trips to archaeological and cultural sites including Petra, Jerash, 'Amman, the Dead Sea, and more.
See the Dhiban Project blog ( for first-hand impressions from past student archaeologists.


Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
University of California, Berkeley
Number of credits offered 6
$2,436 for CA state resident; $2,580 for non-CA state residents


Contact Information
Jessica Bauer
1995 University Avenue, Suite 130
Recommended Bibliography: 

Porter, Benjamin, Bruce Routledge, Danielle Steen, and Firas al-Kawamlha. "The power of place: The Dhiban community through the ages." Pp. 315-322 in Crossing Jordan: North American Contributions to the Archaeology of Jordan, eds. T. Levy, P. M. Daviau, R. Younker and M. Shaer. 2007. London: Equinox.