Abel Beth Maacah

Israel’s Gateway to the Aramean World

Though the site features into several Hebrew Bible narratives and surveys have indicated an extensive pre-Biblical Bronze Age occupation, Abel Beth Maacah had never been excavated before 2013. In the Bible, the city figures prominently in 2 Samuel 20:14-22 when Sheba son of Bichri took refuge after calling for revolt against King David. Joab’s negotiations with a “wise woman” of the city resulted in Sheba’s beheading. The city was later conquered by Ben Hadad of Aram-Damascus (1 Kings 15:20) and by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/32 BCE (2 Kings 15:29).

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

Located at the meeting point of Israel, Phoenicia and Syria and between Dan and Hazor, the northern site of Abel Beth Maacah is possibly the capital of the Aramean kingdom of Maacah (Joshua 12:5; 2 Samuel 10:8). The excavation at this a cultural crossroads will expose more than the Biblical past; scholars hope to examine cultural exchange and urban interaction during the second and first millennia B.C.E.
Join Azusa Pacific University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Cornell University, and Trinity International University scholars for a chance to peer into the past of this intriguing Biblical site. In 2013, archaeologists uncovered houses from the Iron I period (the time of the Judges), when the site was presumably an Aramean city; a mystery that still needs to be explored! In 2014, the plans are to open fields in the area of the city gate and on the acropolis of the tel. Join us in the search for Arameans, Israelites, and Phoenicians at Abel Beth Maacah!

Robert Mullins

Robert A. Mullins, Azusa Pacific University, has worked on several archaeological excavations, most notably at Beth-Shean (1 Samuel 31:10; 1 Kings 4:12) and Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley. Mullins serves on the ASOR Board of Trustees and the editorial board of Antigue Oriente.

Nava Panitz-Cohen

Nava Panitz-Cohen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as an area supervisor for excavations at Tel Rehov with Amihai Mazar, and has published reports on Tel Batash and Beth Shean.

Dig Directors

Robert A. Mullins
Nava Panitz-Cohen

Geographic Location

In the Hula Valley in Israel’s Northern District, 1.2 mi south of Metulla on the border of Lebanon.

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval through Modern times

Dates of the Dig

June 24 – July 22, 2014

Minimum Stay

2 weeks non-credit volunteers; full 4 weeks for credit students

Application Due

May 15, 2014


$480 per week

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

4 credits - $80 application fee + $120 - credit hour - Hebrew University of Jerusalem


We will be staying at Kibbutz Kfar Szold. Rooms accommodate four people and are equipped with air conditioning, television, kitchenette, and a full bathroom. Linens and towels are provided. There is also a swimming pool and access to wi-fi. Bus transportation is provided to and from the site each working day.


Robert Mullins
Azusa Pacific University
701 East Foothill Boulevard
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
Phone: 909-638-4291