Archaeological projects

The AAA partakes in many projects around Israel. Survey them and learn more below.

     Research and excavation are carried out by credentialed members who have active legal projects in foreign countries. Teams consist of American volunteers from the general public and college students, and are often conducted in collaboration with representatives of the country in which the work is carried out. Our on-site programming includes educating public and student volunteers about archaeology and the ancient human past through hands-on experience. Volunteers and students work side by side with professional archaeologists, attend regular instructional sessions and topical lectures, and participate in every aspect of the excavation. Additionally, volunteers have the opportunity to visit other archaeological sites on tours.

     Our goals for these programs are three-fold:

1) Advance scientific knowledge of the ancient past.

2) Educate the public both about the past and about how archaeologists and historians study the it.

3) Train not only the future generation of American archaeologists but also the general public in scientific pursuits of the ancient past.

 
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Your gift to American Archaeology Abroad helps support archaeological education and research.

AAA Projects

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The Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP) is a long-term, multi-disciplinary survey and excavation project investigating the longue durée of human activity in the Jezreel Valley, from the Paleolithic through the Ottoman period. This project strives for a total history of the Valley using the tools and theoretical approaches of such disciplines as archaeology, anthropology, geography, history, ethnography, and the natural sciences, within an organizational framework provided by landscape archaeology.

The JVRP is currently conducting excavations at Legio, the base of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion.

 

Director: Directors: Matthew J. Adams and Yotam Tepper

Assistant Margaret E. Cohen

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Megiddo is the jewel in the crown of biblical archaeology. Strategically perched above the most important land route in the ancient Near East, the city dominated international traffic for over 6,000 years — from ca. 7,000 B.C.E. through to biblical times. As civilizations came and went, succeeding settlements at ancient Megiddo were built on the ruins of their redecessors, creating a multi-layered archaeological legacy that abounds in unparalleled treasures that include monumental temples, lavish palaces, mighty fortifications, and remarkably-engineered water systems.

Directors: Donald B. Redford and Susan Redford

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The ruin mound of Tel er-Rub'a in the eastern Nile delta marks the site of the ancient city of Mendes, one of the largest cities in the ancient world. As the capital of ancient Egypt in the fourth century BCE, Mendes was a major trading center in contact with the eastern Mediterranean, Greece, and Rome. A riverine harbor is still in evidence, and the site boasts a temple to the Ram-god and a cemetery (ca. 2200 BCE) of nearly 9,000 interments. Although the city has been occupied from prehistoric times to the present, Mendes is largely unencumbered by modern dwellings and offers an excellent prospect for archaeological excavation with a view of studying ancient urbanism, demographics, burial practices, and trade. For the past 20 years (1991-2010), archaeologists and student volunteers have been excavating the site in a program combining cutting-edge research, discovery, and field training. A modern field institute building of twenty rooms was constructed on-site in 1992 that boasts living quarters, lab space, and a budding library.

Director: Donald B. Redford

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In 1988, the Akhenaten Temple Project was granted a concession of several tombs in the ancient Theban necropolis known as the Valley of the Nobles, located on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor. The tasks of the Theban Tomb Survey is to fully document and record the tombs’ reliefs, painted murals, and all artefacts found within their environs; also, to clear the halls and the burial shafts, along with their associated crypts, of all modern debris; and most importantly to repair some of the damage done by modern squatters and robbers thereby reinforcing and conserving the monuments for posterity. Since its inception, The Theban Tomb Survey has thus far carried out ten field seasons between 1994 and 2008, the majority of which focused on the tomb of Parennefer (Theban Tomb #188), the childhood friend and butler of the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten. Currently under investigation is T.T. 46, the tomb of Ramosi, a middle-ranking official who lived during the reign of Amenhotep III. It is likely that future work in the valley will involve a joint operation with Egyptian Antiquities authorities of the West Bank Inspectorate to clear and document a series of New Kingdom and Saite tombs in the area of the Assasif.

Director: Susan Redford

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Herodotus and Pindar, two of ancient Greece's most famous writers, praised the sanctuary of Ismenian Apollo at Thebes in their writing. This important site was partially excavated in the 1910s but has not been fully explored in nearly 100 years. Bucknell is literally making history by running the first joint Greek-American archaeological dig in the midst of Theban heroes and myth at this sanctuary.

Ancient Thebes, a major Greek city-state located halfway between Athens and Delphi, was the largest city in Boiotia, one of the main regions of ancient Greece. Thebes gave rise to great kings, legendary wars and timeless myths: Oedipus, Dionysus and Herakles, to name a few. The importance of the Ismenion hill as a site for exploration cannot be overestimated. Ancient sources from a wide range of chronological periods attest to the Ismenion's continued use as one of the main sanctuaries of ancient Thebes. Without question, the site is of monumental architectural, literary and cultic interest for periods from the second millennium B.C.E through the end of the second century A.D. Exploring the temple and its processional approach most likely also will reveal a repository of significant dedications from the height of the sanctuary's activity (the 7th-4th centuries B.C.E) when it served as a central Greek rival to the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.

This joint Greek-American excavation project operates under the aegis of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and is made possible through the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Directors: Vassilis Aravantinos, Kevin Daly, and Stephanie Larson

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Lycoming College Expedition to Idalion, Cyprus

The city kingdom of Idalion flourished as the most prominent of the ten city kingdoms on Cyprus during the 6th and 7th centuries BCE. The island of Cyprus was an important trade center and cultural 'crossroad' in antiquity, controlled and influenced in different periods by the Mycenaean civilization, the sea-faring Phoenicians and the Philistines of the Bible, Archaic Greece, the Persians in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Roman Empire, and even Christian Byzantium. Cyprus also influenced other cultures as well, as evidenced by the presence of Cypriot copper and pottery all over the Mediterranean world—including important sites like Bronze Age biblical Megiddo. The site of Idalion has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze/Iron Age; the village of Dhali sits in the same location today. The city was a center for the copper trade as well as the Cult of the Mother Goddess and her consort who later became Aphrodite and Adonis. The Lycoming College Expedition has recently reached Bronze Age levels in a few units; current excavation is being conducted at Bronze/Iron Age through Roman era levels in three areas of the site.

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Tell Timai, the ancient city of Thmouis, is a rare example of well-preserved Graeco-Roman City in the Nile Delta. The city exits nearly complete and offers an exceptional opportunity to study all aspects of life, business, religion, and administration during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Mudbrick architecture is rarely preserved in the Delta, making Tell Timai a unique piece of Egyptian history. Unfortunately the site is under considerable threat from encroachment, erosion, and looting. The Tell Timai Project of the University of Hawaii has embraced the concepts of Research, Conservation, and Education and has undertaken the tasks of studying the city and saving it as an important piece of Egyptian patrimony and world history. The ultimate goal is to create a site worthy of drawing tourism to the Eastern Delta and combining the site with neighboring Mendes to create a World Heritage Archaeological Zone.

Directors: Robert Littman and Jay Silverstein

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