This listing expired on July 1, 2014. Please contact for any updated information.
Marj Rabba - Galilee Prehistory Project

Location: Israel

July 28, 2014 to August 18, 2014

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, June 1, 2014

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Program Type


RPA certified



University of Chicago - The Oriental Institute

Project Director:

Yorke Rowan (U Chicago) and Morag Kersel (DePaul University)

Project Description

The Chalcolithic period, a key transitional time between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, witnessed the first metallurgy, the first pottery formed on a wheel, and dramatically new burial practices for the dead. Yet in contrast to regions such as the Negev or Jordan Valley, our knowledge of life in the Galilee during the Chalcolithic period (c. 4500-3600 B.C.) is very limited. For example, we have no radiocarbon dates for a Chalcolithic settlement in the Galilee, nor do we have an architectural plan. The research initiative launched by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is designed to examine the dramatic changes in the relationship of villages, ritual sites and mortuary practices during this poorly understood period. The goals for the inaugural investigations in 2009 were threefold: to explore the site for intact sub-surface architecture and features; to collect material culture, botanical and faunal samples; and to determine the depth of anthropogenic strata and the degree of human and animal disturbance to these layers. Based on the good state of preservation of architectural features and faunal remains, Marj Rabba shows great promise for expanded, intensive investigation to offer fresh insights into this key transitional era. For the 2014 season the team will focus on one particularly well-preserved area to expose the earliest floors, wall foundations and associated early features. In addition, we will obtain samples for botanical, faunal, and geomorphological analyses for theses earliest, well preserved strata of the site.

Period(s) of Occupation: Chalcolithic (c. 4500-3600 B.C.)

Excavations of this single-period, Chalcolithic (4500-3600 BC) village in the Galilee hills have revealed evidence for silos, feasting and well preserved floors and walls.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Dormitory rooms to share with 1-2 others, with shared common areas includes sink, refrigerator, small burner. Room and board included in fee ($1250 USD). Tuition is not required.

$1250 for 3 weeks

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Yorke Rowan
The Oriental Institute, 1155 East 58th Street
Recommended Bibliography: 

Rowan, Y. and Golden, J. The Chalcolithic Period of the Southern Levant, Journal of World Prehistory, 22: 1-92, 2009.
Rowan, Y.M., Urban, T.M., and Kersel, M.M. 2012. Recent ground penetrating radar discoveries at Marj Rabba, Israel. Antiquity 86/334. December.

Levy, T.E., Cult, Metallurgy and Rank Societies - Chalcolithic Period, In: The archaeology of Society in the Holy Land,, 1998, London