Tel Beth Shemesh

A Biblical Border City between Judah and Philistia

Since the beginning of modern explorations of the ancient world and it civilizations, Tel Beth Shemesh attracted the interest of scholars and students of the ancient Near East. Its long sequence of occupational history has yielded a great deal of information about the past civilizations that flourished and faded in the region. The site is located between two valleys that were well-suited for grain production, growing grapes and olives, and animal grazing. They were also avenues of trade and communication. Tel Beth Shemesh is located at the geographic meeting point of three different ethnic and cultural groups during the Iron Age (Philistines, Canaanites and Israelites), making it an ideal site to investigate ancient geopolitical, social and cultural dynamics at a border zone. By applying insights gained through anthropological and archaeological research, the current expedition is shedding new light these and other theoretical issues. This summer, our excavation team will concentrate in the northern area of the site in order to explore cultural diversity, continuity, and changes from Level 4 (10th century B.C.E.) down to Level 9 (13th century B.C.E.).

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.

Shawn Bubel

Dr. Shawn Bubel, University of Lethbridge

Zvi Lederman

Dr. Zvi Lederman, Tel Aviv University

Shlomo Bunimovitz

Dr. Shlomo Bunimovitz, Tel Aviv University

Dig Directors

Shawn Bubel
Zvi Lederman
Shlomo Bunimovitz

Geographic Location

Kibbutz Nativ HaLamed-heh, Israel

Periods of Occupation

Bronze and Iron Ages

Dates of the Dig

June 11 – July 9, 2017

Minimum Stay

4 weeks

Application Due

June 9, 2017


Tuition includes cost of room and board

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

12 quarter (8 semester) credit units; $4,900 for the Field School; awarded by UCLA


During the week, students and staff stay in the modest but comfortable guest-house at kibbutz Nativ HaLamed-heh, which is just a few miles from the site. Each room accommodates 3–4 people, is air-conditioned and has an adjoining bathroom. Bedding and towels are provided by the guest-house.

All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious, basic food in the tradition of local cuisine. Lunch and dinner are served in the central meeting room on the kibbutz. A variety of dishes will be prepared, each of which will have a protein, vegetables and a starch (rice, potatoes, bread, etc.). Israel is known for its fresh vegetables and fruit, so students will have lots of opportunities to try these. Breakfast is served on site (second breakfast) and normally includes cucumbers, tomatoes and other fresh vegetables, eggs, bread, cereal, fresh milk and yogurt. Food treats on the weekends would be falafel and shawarma dishes. The meals are kosher. Specific dietary needs cannot be accommodated but vegetable dishes are always served. Tap water at the kibbutz and throughout Israel is safe to drink.


Miriam Bar-Zemer
2999 Overland Ave #103
Los Angeles, CA 90064
United States
Phone: 877-839-4374

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment