Hyrcania Fortress

This listing expired on June 9, 2023. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Hyrcania, Judean Desert, Israel

Season: May 11, 2023 to June 9, 2023

Application Deadline: April 28, 2023

Deadline Type: Contact for Details

Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Carson-Newman University, and American Veterans Archaeological Recovery

Project Director:
Oren Gutfeld, Michal Haber, and Stephen Humphreys

Project Description:

Discover An Untouched Second Temple-period Fortress.  This summer, join the Hyrcania Fortress Excavation Project and take part in the first season of fieldwork at the magnificent site of Hyrcania-Kastellion! Located atop a scenic plateau between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, the site has never been scientifically excavated. The written sources reveal that the fortress was first constructed by the Hasmoneans towards the end of the 2nd/1st century BCE, and eventually destroyed by forces under famed Roman general Pompey Magnus in 57 BCE. It was later rebuilt and enlarged by Herod the Great (37 – 4 BCE), who famously used it to imprison and execute political enemies (as well as his son Antipater). In 492 CE Sabas, among the leaders of Judean Desert monasticism, established a Christian monastic community among the earlier ruins, with manuscripts found at the site demonstrating that it remained active well past the initial Islamic conquest of the region during the 7th century.

The first season will focus on strengthening our understanding of the site’s stratigraphy and phasing; i.e., we anticipate encountering Early Islamic, hour focus will be on providing a solid, safe educational experience for our participants.

The excavation will take place under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Academic credit will be available through Carson-Newman University, working in partnership with American Veterans Archaeological Recovery, a 501c3 nonprofit that provides American military veterans with a supported opportunity to excel in the field of archaeology.

Period(s) of Occupation: Hellenistic/Roman/Byzantine/Islamic

Cost is $690/week. Funding is available for American veterans and service members through American Veterans Archaeological Recovery, contact for information.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 Week

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
Volunteers will be housed at Kibbutz Guesthouse Kalia from 14-25 May, and at the Hotel Jericho Resort from 25 May-9 June. Volunteers will be housed in rooms with two roommates. Meals will be provided by the excavation and the resorts. Lodging has WiFi and air conditioning.

Academic Credit:
6 Credit hours are available through Carson-Newman University at a cost of $2,620

Contact Information:

Stephen Humphreys

1646 Russell Avenue

Jefferson City




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