An Important Biblical Stronghold

Perched high above the rolling hills of the Judean lowlands sits the mound of Azekah, an ancient Biblical stronghold overlooking the magnificent Valley of Elah where tradition holds that David battled with Goliath. For millennia, Azekah was an important border fortress and regional center that flourished due to its strategic location along one of the main routes leading from the coast to Jerusalem.

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.

This summer, join directors Oded Lipschits, Manfred Oeming and Yuval Gadot as they excavate this Judahite stronghold that the mighty Assyrian king Sennacherib called “an eagle’s nest with towers that project to the sky like swords.” And only a hundred years later, the fortress was mentioned again by the Judahite garrison station at Lachish, who famously wrote in one of their final letters, “We cannot see anymore the fire-signals of Azekah.” The site remained a strategic border post into the Hasmonean period, when John Hyrcanus I, the Hasmonean king, built a massive fortified citadel atop the mound, the remains of which are still visible.
Azekah volunteers will enjoy a pleasant dig season in the air-conditioned and Wi-Fi equipped cabins of the Nes-Harim guest house, located in the midst of a lush, green forest only a few miles from the site.

Oded Lipschits

Oded LipschitsOded Lipschits codirects the Azekah excavation. He is senior lecturer in the department of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, as well as a professor in the Jewish history department. In 2004 Dr. Lipschits published The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem (Eisenbrauns), for which he received the Zehavah and Eliyahu Eilat Prize. In 2005 he was awarded the Ish-Shalom Prize for Best Book in the Research of the History of Israel. His most recent book, Judah and the Judeans in the Persian Period, was published in January 2006 (Eisenbrauns).

Manfred Oeming

Manfred OemingManfred Oeming is codirector of the Azekah excavation. He is a professor of Old Testament theology and Jewish history at the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Oeming has contributed to and written several books, including Contemporary Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction (Ashgate, 2006).

Yuval Gadot

Yuval GadotYuval Gadot earned a Ph.D. in archaeology from Tel Aviv University, and is currently a research fellow at the Hebrew Union College, as well as a lecturer at the Open University in Israel.

Dig Directors

Oded Lipschits
Manfred Oeming
Yuval Gadot

Geographic Location

Judean foothills, 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age through Roman period

Dates of the Dig

July 12 - August 22, 2014

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

May 31, 2014


Please contact dig for details

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Up to 6 credits - $100 per credit - Tel Aviv University


Nes-Harim guesthouse


Ido Koch
Institute of Archaeology
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv POB 39040
Tel Aviv 61390
Phone: 011.972.3.6409952

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment