Abila of the Decapolis

City of an Ancient League

Located among the well-watered fields of northern Jordan, the ancient city of Abila was once part of the Decapolis—a league of ten cities that formed a Hellenistic or Greco-Roman confederation located south of the Sea of Galilee in the Transjordan. Occupied from the Early Bronze Age down into the Middle Islamic periods, Abila was located on a strategic route from Nabataea to Damascus and became a very important city in antiquity.

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.

Volunteers to our excavation will find five Byzantine churches, a Roman bath, an early Islamic period monastic complex, beautifully painted tombs, Bronze and Iron Age occupation areas and miles of underground water tunnels.
Students serve as square supervisors, working side by side with experienced excavators as they uncover the exciting past of our Decapolis city. Work this season will focus on finishing the excavation of two Byzantine churches and then continuing the excavation of the Bronze and Iron Age strata.
Volunteers will be housed at the Hartha Girls Secondary School, where classrooms are converted into living and work areas. Rooms have screened windows and ceiling fans. Wireless internet is available throughout. An advantage of the simple accommodations is the regular and significant contact with the local Jordanian culture, and sharing meals and tea in the homes of local families is a common occurrence. Weekend trips take students to the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, Petra, Jerash and camping in Wadi Rum, among other excursions.

Dig Directors

David Vila

Geographic Location

Northern Jordan, 15 km north of Irbid

Periods of Occupation

Early Bronze through Middle Islamic periods

Dates of the Dig

FIELD SEASON IN 2018

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

March 1, 2016

Cost

$1,600 for the season - airfare not included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Credits and cost varies. Awarded by John Brown University.

Accommodations

Excavation staff live at the Hartha Girls Secondary School where classrooms are converted into living and work areas. Rooms have screened windows and ceiling fans. Wireless internet is available throughout. A major benefit of living in a small village is that our students have the opportunity to develop significant friendships with local Jordanians.

Contact

Dr. David Vila
John Brown University
2000 West University Street
Siloam Springs, AR 72761
Phone: 1-479-524-7329
dvila@jbu.edu
Abila Archaeological Project

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment