Abel Beth Maacah

Israel’s Gateway to the Aramean World

Though the site is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and surveys have indicated 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 there after calling for revolt against King David. Joab’s negotiations with a “wise woman” of the city resulted in Sheba’s beheading. The Bible also describes the city as conquered by Ben Hadad of Aram-Damascus (1 Kings 15:20) and by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/732 B.C.E. (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 strategically positioned 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 10:6, 8). The excavation at this 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 and Hebrew University of Jerusalem scholars for a chance to peer into the past of this intriguing Biblical site. Since the first season in 2013, archaeologists have uncovered a large administrative building and 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! Significant remains from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages have also been exposed. In 2015, a new field was opened on the slope of the acropolis, where we found a major Persian period structure sitting on remains of another large building from Iron Age II. Join us in the search for Arameans, Israelites and Phoenicians at Abel Beth Maacah!

Robert Mullins

Robert MullinsRobert 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.

Naama Yahalom-Mack

Naama Yahalom-MackNaama Yahalom-Mack of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem specializes in archaeometallurgy. She is also the Director of excavations at Tel Zeror.

Nava Panitz-Cohen

Nava Panitz-CohenNava 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
Naama Yahalom-Mack
Nava Panitz-Cohen

Geographic Location

Northern Israel

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval through Modern times

Dates of the Dig

June 24 – July 20, 2018

Minimum Stay

2 weeks for volunteers; full 4 weeks for credit students

Application Due

April 20, 2018 for credit students; June 10, 2018 for all other volunteers


$4,495 for credit students, all-inclusive (room and board and tuition). $550/week for all other volunteers (room and board). Airfare not included in either option.

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

8 semester credit units; $4,495 for the Field School; awarded by Institute for Field Research/Connecticut College


We will stay 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 free 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

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment