Excavate Roman Galilee

Want a first-hand look at life in Jewish Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods? Investigate history for yourself this summer as part of the Shikhin excavation team! The hilltop village of Shikhin is located a short walk from Sepphoris, the largest city of Roman Galilee. Referred to as Asochis by the historian Josephus, Shikhin was an important Roman pottery production center closely tied to its larger neighbor.

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.

Shikhin is remembered by the Sages of the Tosefta and later rabbinic writings for the high quality of its pottery, and excavations have revealed much evidence of pottery and oil lamp manufacturing at the site. Both the Sages and Josephus suggests that the town housed wealthy and powerful Jewish Galilean families. Excavations have also uncovered remains of a Roman period synagogue, and there are indications that the interior was covered with painted plaster. In 2019, the dig crew will continue to excavate in the synagogue and pottery/lamp manufacturing areas.

James Riley Strange

James Riley StrangeJames Riley Strange is an Associate Professor of Religion at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He has served as Field Supervisor and Co-Director of the University of South Florida Excavations at Sepphoris, Israel, and is the author of The Emergence of the Christian Basilica in the Fourth Century (2000).

Mordechai Aviam

Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret Academic College on the Sea of Galilee is Associate Director.

Dig Directors

James Riley Strange
Mordechai Aviam

Geographic Location

Lower Galilee, 6 miles north of Nazareth

Periods of Occupation

Hellenistic–Late Roman (2nd c. B.C.E.–4th c. C.E.)

Dates of the Dig

May 27 – June 21, 2019

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

February 1, 2019


$2,800/four weeks for double/triple; $3,500/four weeks for single

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

8 credits; $290/credit hour; awarded by Samford University


Hotel Galilee, Nazareth. 2–3 people per room. In-room a/c, bathroom with tub and shower, television and wi-fi, common washer and dryer for the group. Coffee bar, classroom and workspace, family-style meals. In downtown Nazareth and close to public transportation.


Prof. James Riley Strange
Department of Religion
Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35336
Phone: (205)726-4543
Fax: (205)726-2535

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment