Share This Content

Archaeology at Ariel University

The Institute of Archaeology at Ariel University is the newest archaeological institute in Israel. The Institute was established in 2015 with the vision of bringing new approaches to archaeological research in the region.

Visit Us

Students Say:

“Students studying in the department gain not only wide and professional knowledge but also practical skills in the field through field trips and study excavations….”   (Ben Teva)

Course Goals:

The Institute views archaeology as an integral part of humanity’s cultural heritage which can and should serve as a link between the academy, the public and our common past. With this in mind, the Institute develops programs dedicated to “community archaeology”, integrating both local schools as well as volunteers from Israel and abroad, of all ages and from all walks of life. The Institute is affiliated with the Department Of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Ariel University. In collaboration with the School of Architecture at Ariel University, the Institute has also developed a unique educational and research program focused on conservation and preservation of cultural heritage.

study archaeology in Israel
A Very Hands-on Approach to Learning
Find It, Clean it, Record It.


  1. Tel Burna:

    Itzhak Shai

Academic Credit: 3/6 (2/4 weeks)

Excavation Season: June 16 – July 12 2019

Archaeological excavations are the lab and field work for collecting data for the archaeological research. This course will take 2 weeks (3 credits) or 4 weeks (6 credits) and includes the field work, lectures, reading and field tours. The goal is to expose the student to the methodology of the archaeological field work and to a basic knowledge of the Land of Israel and the Shephelah region in the Bronze and Iron Ages; the ancient pottery of the land of Israel;

  • What is an archaeological site?
  • What is a multi-period site (a tel)?
  • The history of research of Tel Burna
  • Tel Burna: The finds of the 9 seasons of excavations
  • Dig methods
  • Pottery and bone sorting
  • Recording methods
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Archaeobotany
  • Geographic-History of the Shephelah
  • The Bronze Age in the southern Levant
  • The Iron Age in the southern Levant

Grade: Students participate in 2 or 4 weeks (3/6 credits); they will write a short essay every week which will summarize the various lectures. The final grade will be based on this essays and the final paper which will include a summary about the history of research and the find of Tel Burna.

  1. Khirbet Auja el Foqa

David Ben-Shlomo, Ralph Hawkins and Michael Freikman

Summer 2019 season: May 27-June 21 2019

Winter 2020 season: February 9- February 20, 2020 (provisional date)

Archaeological field work will be held at the site of Khirbet Auja el-Foqa in the southern Jordan Valley 5 miles north of Jericho. The site is an Iron Age fortified town and an administrative center of the monarchic system during the Iron Age (Israelite period), possibly identified with biblical Ataroth.

For information see:

Courses & Labs

Prof. Adi Eliyahu-Behar

  1. The lab for archaeological materials: technological aspects and provenance of iron smelting in the Southern Levant

The lab for archaeological materials is involved and welcomes collaboration with a wide range of research programs from various disciplines. Our main interest lies in the reconstruction and understanding of ancient pyro-technological processes, such as the production of metals, plaster, ceramic, glass and glazes.

One of the current projects deals with the technological aspects and provenance of iron smelting in the Southern Levant during the Early Iron Age. This project is interdisciplinary by its nature. It combines the analysis of archaeological materials in the lab together with performing a set of experimental trials in the field, which involve collaboration between geochemists, archaeometallurgies and professional iron smelters.

Other projects involve the analysis of copper/bronze production debris from Tel Burna (in collaboration with Itzick Shai), the analysis of Roman glass furnace and production debris (In collaboration with Yael Gorin-Rosen).

Graduate students, from various backgrounds, especially exact sciences and archaeology, interested in these fields are welcome for M.A. and Ph.D programs.

2. Ceramic Petrography and technology lab

David Ben-Shlomo

Petrographic analysis is a method adapted from geology in which thin sections (slides) are created from ancient ceramic materials (pottery, figurines, clay items). These slides are analyzed with a polarizing microscope where minerals rocks and other components of the clay can be identified. By this method the location of production of these materials can be identified as well as various technological properties of pottery production. The method is today in standard use in pottery studies for classifying productions, identifying imports, trade and technological affinities of pottery. The Petrographic Laboratory of Ancient Ceramic Materials at Ariel University concentrates research and study in various topics which relate to ceramic materials from the Natufian through to the Ottoman periods, and holds a library of about 6,000 slides, as well as several chemical compositional data bases of eastern Mediterranean pottery.

Lab Study Opportunity

Opportunities for study and research in the lab include a short 1-week introductory course, and longer in depth 2-4 weeks courses that include learning some theoretic background, the preparation of thin sections, microscope analysis and documentation, and identification of main petro-fabrics from the southern Levant. Currently, main projects include analysis of Iron Age pottery from the Shephelah sites in Israel, Jerusalem pottery, and the development of cooking pot technology in Iron Age Judah. A PhD scholarship for a duration of ca. 3 years can be offered for participating in the latter research project of the cooking wares.

For more information please contact: David Ben-Shlomo,