Tel Kabri

Location: Kabri, IL

Season: June 16, 2019 to July 25, 2019

Session Dates: We have three and six week options available for those who wish to get academic credit for participating, and are open to negotiation for those who wish to come for a shorter period of time. First session: June 16 - July 4, 2019; Second session: July 7 - 25, 2019

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field school, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

The George Washington University and the University of Haifa

Project Director:
Eric H. Cline, The George Washington University; Assaf Yasur-Landau, the University of Haifa

Project Description:

Come dig with us at Tel Kabri this coming summer! When else will you have the opportunity to excavate in a Canaanite palace more than 3,500 years old, decorated with Minoan-style floor and wall paintings, and with the oldest and largest wine cellar ever found from the ancient Near East? 

Located in a quiet rural setting within the western Galilee of Israel, the site of Tel Kabri is only a ten minute ride from the modern resort town of Nahariya, and a bit further from historical Acco, with its Medieval and Ottoman old city, fishing harbor, and traditional market. Today the Tel and its surroundings are an agricultural land, with lush plantations of bananas and avocados overlying the ancient remains. 

Kabri represents one of the only possible opportunities available today in the Eastern Mediterranean to test some of the anthropological theories about the rise of archaic states and the nature of various political economies in the Aegean and the Near East. The readily available palace and settlement, with minimal overburden and with rather limited previous excavations, enables the use of modern methods such as residue analysis, petrographic analysis, detailed zooarchaeological study, neutron activation analysis, stable isotope analysis, and petrography to gain insights into some of the most important topics relevant to the understanding of complex human societies.  

During excavations conducted at the site from 1986-1993 by the late Professor Aharon Kempinski and Professor Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, a floor and wall frescoes painted in an Aegean manner—probably by Cycladic or Minoan artists—were discovered within a building that they identified as a palace. 

Our preliminary excavations in 2005 indicated that the palace, which dates to the Middle Bronze (MB) IIB period during the early second millennium BCE, is at least twice as large as previously thought, with much still remaining to be excavated. 

During the 2008 season of excavations we were able to retrieve data from the entire history of the MB palace, from a pre-palatial period through to final destruction. We also found approximately 45 more fragments of wall plaster, at least some of which appear to be painted, and additional evidence for red paint on one of the plaster floors in the palace. 

Our 2009 season saw the continued excavation of the palace, with the goal of investigating its life cycle, from humble beginnings to its destruction three centuries later. We were successful in doing so, and in the process found approximately 100 additional pieces of wall and floor plaster, including 60 which were painted. 

Our 2011 season yielded more painted fresco fragments and a large building adjacent to the palace, perhaps a temple. In this building, the rooms were lined with carved orthostat blocks still in place, so we are calling it the “Orthostat Building.” 

And, in 2013-2017, we found the oldest and largest wine cellar in the ancient Near East — 110 jars in a storage area of the palace, each holding more than 100 liters of wine — the equivalent of more than 15,000 bottles of wine!

During the 2019 dig season, we will be extending our excavations to the north, searching for the heart of the palace, so please come join us!

Period(s) of Occupation: Middle Bronze Age

Middle Bronze Age Canaanite Palace; Aegean-style wall and floor paintings; oldest and largest wine cellar in the ancient Near East!

Project Size: 50+ participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Five days

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None, although previous experience preferred

Room and Board Arrangements:
Tel Kabri is located in northern Israel, a short distance from Acco and Nahariyya; a longer drive from Haifa. We will be staying at the Western Galilee Field School, by Achziv beach just north of the town of Nahariyya. Rooms are air-conditioned; each has a kitchenette including refrigerator. Free Wi-Fi is available, as is the beach and a nearby swimming pool.  Cost: $800 per week ($600 for returnees and consortium members). Please note that airfare, the credit course, and food and travel on weekends are not included in the above costs.

Academic Credit:
3 credits offered by University of Haifa. Tuition is $750 per 3 units.

Contact Information:

Eric H. Cline

Dept of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 335 Phillips Hall, The George Washington University, 801 22nd St NW

Washington DC

District of Columbia


Phone: 202-994-0316

Fax: 202-994-2156

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