We have not yet received information about 2012 excavations at this site. For more information, please contact the excavation organizers directly using the information below, at right.

On the Road to the Queen of Sheba

Throughout antiquity, the lucrative Arabian spice trade was carried on the backs of camels, traveling thousands of miles across trackless desert to reach the major ports and cities of the Mediterranean. All along this long road, local kings and faraway emperors eagerly set up stopping points for the caravans, making sure that they too got their share of the goods and profits.

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.

The ancient city of Tamar in southern Israel was just such a site. Already by the tenth century B.C., Solomon had established Tamar as a fortified town to control the trade routes coming from Arabia. Subsequent kings of both Judah and Edom, including Josiah, occupied the site in order to oversee the passing caravan trade. The Edomites even maintained a cultic shrine at Tamar, as evidenced by several distinctive Edomite incense altars found in a pit at the site. By the latter half of the first millennium B.C., the great Nabatean merchants of Petra had also established a commercial outpost here, an outpost that was then occupied by the Romans in the second century A.D.
Although excavation work at Tamar is continuing, the Blossoming Rose society, in coordination with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, is embarking on a long-term project to conserve, develop and protect this important desert site as a national park. Volunteers are needed not only to help excavate and restore the archaeological remains, but also to help build structures and plant trees for the planned 53-acre park.
The last four seasons at Tel Tamar have focused on uncovering the bath and treasury in the ancient Roman site. This season, dig directors Yigal Israel and Craig Bowman intend to excavate as-yet uncovered portions of the Roman compound.
Located 30 miles south of the Dead Sea in the desert steppe of the Wadi Arabah, Tamar is quite isolated, and volunteers should expect simple living. If you’re looking for a quiet, serene and incredibly beautiful setting, however, Tamar is the place for you.

Yigal Israel

Yigal IsraelDr. Yigal Israel is the head archaeologist at Biblical Tamar and serves as director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s southwestern district.

Craig Bowman

Craig BowmanDr. Craig Bowman is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and teaches Old Testament and Biblical Studies at Rochester College near Detroit, Michigan. He currently serves as co-director of the Biblical Tamar Park excavation and restoration project.

Dig Directors

Yigal Israel
Craig Bowman

Geographic Location

30 miles south of the Dead Sea, Wadi Arabah

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age to Early Islamic

Dates of the Dig

February 20 - March 8, 2011
May 9 - May 22, 2011

Minimum Stay

Two days

Application Due

90 days in advance of start date


$500 per week

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Yes - 3-6 credits, cost varies according to institution


Please contact dig for details


Jodi Coxon

Open for tours