Tel Burna

An Iron Age Mystery

The site of Tel Burna is located in the Shephelah region, which served as a border between the kingdoms of Judah and Philistia in the Iron Age. A fertile area that supported agricultural production, the region became known as the breadbasket of the south and is believed by some scholars to be a candidate for Biblical Libnah, a Canaanite town that was conquered by Joshua who allotted it to the tribe of Judah.

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 tell’s prominence is notable in its flat-topped shape, extensive size and fortification, which are still visible today. Survey finds indicate the city was important throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. Excavations have revealed a Late Bronze Age (Canaanite) public building with a large assemblage of cultic finds (masks, figurines, feasting vessels, etc.). In addition, a few strata dating to the ninth, eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. have been exposed, including a fortification wall that enclosed the summit of the tell.

Itzhaq Shai

Itzhaq ShaiDr. Itzhaq Shai is an assistant professor at Ariel University and a lecturer at Bar Ilan University. In 2009, together with Dr. Joe Uziel, he initiated the Tel Burna Excavation Project. Since then he has served as the project’s director. He has extensive experience in field archaeology from different periods. His published articles are concerned with Philistine material culture, place names and their importance in ethnic identification, the status of Jerusalem in the Iron Age and the political structure of Philistia.

Dig Directors

Itzhaq Shai

Geographic Location

The Judean Shephelah

Periods of Occupation

Late Bronze and Iron Ages

Dates of the Dig

June 19 – July 15, 2016

Minimum Stay

1 week

Application Due

May 1, 2016


$450/week - airfare not included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

$250/3 credits, $500/6 credits; awarded by Ariel University


Volunteers will be provided with full room and board at Kibbutz Galon (located 5 min. from the site), which features a/c, private bathrooms and free wi-fi. Standard rooms are 4 people per room; however, double and single rooms are available at an additional cost.


Dr Itzhaq Shai
Israel Heritage Department
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Ariel University
P.O.B. 3 Ariel, Israel
Phone: +972-54-4700596

Open for tours

Yes - by appointment