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Excavating the Base of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion in Israel

Location: Legio, Israel

June 24, 2017 to July 21, 2017

Application Deadline: 
Monday, May 1, 2017

Deadline Type: 

Flyer: PDF icon jvrp2017fliersmall.pdf

Discount for AIA members: 
$100 discount for AIA Members

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and University of Hawai'i

Project Director:

Matthew J. Adams, Yotam Tepper, and Jonathan David

Project Description

During the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 A.D.), two imperial legions were stationed in the consular province of Judea: Legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem and Legio VI Ferrata in the north at a place called Caparcotna. The latter legion was deployed more than three decades after the First Jewish Revolt (67-70 A.D.) and sometime before the Bar-Kokhba rebellion (132-136 A.D.), and it remained stationed in Judea through most of the 3rd century A.D.

Based in the Jezreel Valley somewhere near Tel Megiddo, the Legio VI Ferrata, or the Sixth Ironclad Legion, was well-situated to control imperial roads, with direct access to the Galilee and inland valleys of northern Palestine—important centers of the local, occasionally uproarious, Jewish population. Until recently, the exact location of the castra (“camp” in the sense of a permanent military base) of the Sixth Legion had not been confirmed, but textual evidence places it in the Jezreel Valley along the road from Caesarea to Beth Shean in the vicinity of Megiddo.

The 2013 and 2015 seasons confirmed the location of the Legion’s base, marking the first time a military base of this type for this particular period had been excavated in the entire Eastern Empire. Excavations revealed remains of the fortification wall and moat, barracks, headquarters building, and commander’s residence. The excavation of a Roman military headquarters with clear ties to major political and cultural events in the formative years of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity is exciting in itself, but Legio also provides an incredible new window into the Roman military occupation of the eastern provinces.

For the 2017 season, the Jezreel Valley Regional Project will dedicate 4 weeks to investigating the camp, its fortifications, and the Legion headquarters, as well as the contemporary road network and adjacent Roman, Christian and Jewish settlement.

Join us this summer for what promises to be an exciting revelation of a Roman military base with clear ties to major political and cultural events in the formative years of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman (2nd-3rd centuries A.D.), Byzantine (4th-7th centuries A.D.)

Optional Pre-Season Tour of Sites in Northern Israel (17-22 June, 2017). This 5-day pre-season tour is intended to provide participants with a regional overview of archaeological material in northern Israel. The tour includes visits to numerous sites which represent a broad chronological range from the the Early Bronze Age to the Early Islamic and Crusader eras. Visits to the sites are accompanied by historical, archaeological, and geographical lectures given by JVRP staff members. This program will provide an enriching experience for all participants and contextualize the excavations at Megiddo and Legio within the regional and chronological framework of the area.

Project size: 
50+ participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Any

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

The excavation team will be housed at Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, a bed-and-breakfast located just a short ride from the excavation site. Team members stay in air-conditioned guest rooms with bathrooms, a kitchenette, refrigerator and television. The kibbutz features a grocery store, swimming pool, pub, free wi-fi, sports facilities and BBQ facilities. The kibbutz is also centrally located within the country.

$2115 for full 4 weeks (not included Pre-Season Tour)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
University of Hawai’i
Number of credits offered 3 to 6 credits
For Field School Credit: $600-$1200 for Tuition $1500 for enrollment in study tour (required)


Contact Information
Matthew J. Adams
712 Franklin St
State College
PA - Pennsylvania
United States
Recommended Bibliography: 

M.J. Adams, J. David, and Y. Tepper, “Excavations at the Camp of the Roman Sixth Ferrata Legion in Israel,” Biblical Archaeology Society, Bible History Daily website. 17 October 2013.

Y. Tepper , J. David, and M.J. Adams, “The Legionary Base of the Roman Sixth Ferrata Legion at Legio, Israel,” Popular Archaeology Magazine 18, Spring 2015,