Dhiban Excavation and Development Project, Jordan - Institute for Field Research

Location: Dhiban, Jordan

July 3, 2019 to August 6, 2019

Application Deadline: 
Friday, April 5, 2019

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Institute for Field Research, Connecticut College, University of Liverpool, Knox College, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Project Director:

Dr. Bruce Routledge, Dr. Katherine Adelsberger, Dr. Melissa Kutner

Project Description

This field school offers students the opportunity to excavate in one of Jordan’s most important historical sites. Tell Dhiban (also know as Tall Dhiban) is located 40 miles south of Amman and 12 miles east of the Dead Sea. A mound of more than 30 acres in area and 130 feet in height, Tell Dhiban contains a fascinating record of some 6,000 years of human occupation. The Dhiban Excavation and Development Project (DEDP) has been working since 2004 to both understand it’s rich and complex archaeological record while preserving and developing this record as an economic and heritage resource for the future. The story of Dhiban is one of “boom and bust”, of rapid settlement growth and equally rapid contraction.  Excavations in 2012-13 uncovered a large domestic structure from this period that had been burned with its contents in place.  In 2019 we will excavate this large house, and document the rich record it contains of life in the 6th-7th centuries CE.

Period(s) of Occupation: Iron Age

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Participants are required to stay for the full duration of the field school.

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No prior experience is required to participate in this field school.

Room and Board Arrangements

Our project base is in Madaba, a city of c. 80,000 (c. 1/3 Christian and 2/3 Muslim) 15 miles north of Dhiban with good tourist infrastructure, including restaurants, hotels, banks and a wide range of shops. Free WiFi is available in a number of cafes and internet USB dongles can be purchased in Madaba for your laptop or smartphone.  Team members will sleep 3-4 per room in gender segregated apartments that have electricity, running water, showers and western-style toilets.  Water is in short supply in Jordan, so all team members are expected to conserve water at all times.  Breakfast is provided on site and a large lunch will be prepared each weekday by our (excellent) cook.  Evening and week-end meals are less structured, with students free to eat food available in the project kitchen or purchase their own food in Madaba.  Meals will be provided during field trips where appropriate.  We can accommodate vegetarian diets as a matter of course. More strict dietary restrictions (vegan, kosher, allergies, lactose or gluten intolerance, etc.) are more difficult to accommodate and will need to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Dr. Routledge by email if you have any such dietary restrictions.

Room and board is included in the cost of the program.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 Semester Credits


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
2999 Overland Ave. Suite 103
Los Angeles
Recommended Bibliography: 

1. Routledge, Bruce. n.d. The Dhiban Excavation Manual.

2. The Idiot’s guide to the Dhiban Excavation Manual (i.e. a handy 2 page abbreviated version.  Laminated copies will be available in Jordan so that you can use one in the field).

3. Farahani, Alan, Adelsberger, Katherine, Lau, Hannah, n.d. Dhiban: Environmental archaeology sampling and processing protocols. A guide to how and why we collect and analyze organic (e.g. seeds, bones) and inorganic (e.g. soil, shells, plaster) materials from the site that are both visible and microscopic.

3. Kutner, Melissa, Fatkin, Danielle, Routledge, Bruce Dhiban field trip site guide (brief notes, maps and plans relevant to the sites we will visit on the weekends)

4. Jordan – Current Issues Reading Pack (a collection of brief UN, Jordanian government, NGO and news media internet sources providing basic data and perspectives on current issues in Jordan, esp. with the Syrian refugee crisis, Islam, government, environment, economy, and demography).

5. Archaeology of Jordan Reading pack – 1 brief article to accompany each week’s lecture.