Hurvat Eres

Jerusalem’s First Line of Defense

Biblical Jerusalem, like many ancient cities, was protected by not only by its mighty walls, but also an extensive network of fortifications built on surrounding hilltops and promontories. These smaller fortresses, in addition to housing royal garrisons, were primarily responsible for relaying fire signals lit by neighboring garrisons. Such fire signals, when passed from fort to fort, were used to warn Jerusalem’s defenders of impending dangers or invading armies.

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 Hebrew University archaeologists Amihai Mazar and Ido Wachtel as they begin their first season of excavation at the hilltop fortress of Hurvat Eres, located about 8 miles northwest of Jerusalem in the modern suburb of Abu Gosh. Although never excavated, survey of Hurvat Eres revealed a large, well-built fortress with 2-meter-thick walls and abundant evidence of military activity. The goals of the first season are to clean the structure’s visible walls of soil and overgrowth and to begin excavating the building’s interior rooms and main courtyard. The excavations should reveal important information about daily military life in the kingdom of Judah, as well as how such strategic outposts actually functioned.
Dig volunteers will stay at the well-appointed Yad Hashmona guesthouse in Abu Gosh.

Amihai Mazar

Amihai MazarAmihai Mazar is professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he holds the Eleazar Sukenik Chair in the Archaeology of Israel. He also directs the excavations at Tel Rehov.

Ido Wachtel

Ido WachtelIdo Wachtel is a graduate student in archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition to having excavated at the sites of Tel Rehov and Hazor, Wachtel specializes in the study of the Galilee during the Bronze Age.

Dig Directors

Amihai Mazar
Ido Wachtel

Geographic Location

Jerusalem suburbs

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age II

Dates of the Dig

May 15 - June 25, 2012

Minimum Stay

full season

Application Due

February 15, 2012



Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

6 credits - Included in overall costs - Assumption College


Yad Hashmona guesthouse


Ellen White
Theology Department
Assumption College
500 Salisbury St.
Worcester, MA 01609
Phone: 508.767.7577

Open for tours