Volunteer Guide 2018

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Tel Abel Beth Maacah Expedition 2018




Welcome to the sixth season of excavations at Tel Abel Beth Maacah! We are looking forward to a rewarding summer with interesting finds and great friendships and welcome you to join our exciting project. The following information will orient you to the upcoming excavations at the site.

Sponsors and Staff

The expedition is financed by the generosity of friends and alumni of Azusa Pacific University (Los Angeles, CA), as well as other generous individuals who have made our excavation project possible, among them Wayne Shepard of Florida and John Camp of New Mexico.

The project is directed by Dr. Bob Mullins (Azusa Pacific University), Dr. Naama Yahalom-Mack and Dr. Nava Panitz-Cohen (Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). Ruhama Bonfil of the Hebrew University is the surveyor and stratigraphic advisor. Prof. Amihai Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Prof. Lawson Younger of Trinity International University are on the project’s advisory board. The staff comprises professional archaeologists and university professors from Azusa Pacific University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Trinity International University, Cornell University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Trinity Southwest University, the Pillar Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  

General Information

Dates and schedule: The season of excavations at Tel Abel Beth Maacah (or as it is fondly nicknamed, ABM) will take place from Sunday June 24 – Friday July 20, 2018. The arrival day at the kibbutz is always on the Sunday of the week you start digging. We excavate five days (Monday through Friday) with Saturday and Sunday free. Check-out time is by 10:00 am on the Sunday morning at the end of your stay, except for the final fourth week, when departure is by 10:00 am on Friday morning.

Period of participation: Every team member must register for a minimum of two weeks (four weeks are required for academic-credit students); exceptions are possible in special cases. Based on this registration, we reserve rooms in the kibbutz and plan our excavation strategy. Thus, we must know if there are changes in your plans. Please notify us as soon as possible if there are any changes in the dates you plan to be with us.

Cost:  The basic cost for a unit with kitchenette, toilet and shower that accommodates 3-4 people is $550 per week (7 nights) for full room and board for the first three weeks and $400 for the fourth week (5 nights). The weekly cost includes transportation by air-conditioned bus to and from the tell each working day and the evening lectures. All other transportation arrangements and costs must be made by the individual team member.

A few double rooms (for two people) are available, although we recommend early registration in order to ensure availability. The cost for a double room is $220 per night ($1540 per 7-night week; $1100 for the final 5-night week).

Returning team members are entitled to a discount: the cost will be $500 per week for the first three weeks and $360 for the final, fourth week.

Costs for 2018 are as follows. A deposit of half the cost of your room and board is required upon registration:








Total cost







Discounted Returnees































Your registration will be finalized only after payment of the deposit.


Accommodations:  The expedition is housed at Kibbutz Kfar Szold, ca. 12 km/7 mi southeast of the tell at the northern end of the beautiful Huleh Valley. From the kibbutz you have a marvelous view of the Golan Heights to the east, the Naftali Hills to the west, and majestic Mt. Hermon to the northeast. Summer sunsets can be breathtaking! Each air-conditioned unit accommodates 3-4 people and includes a kitchenette, shower, and bathroom. Lawns and porches adjoin the rooms. Free wireless internet is available in the rooms. For more information, visit the kibbutz website www.bakfar.co.il. Please note that you do not need to make separate reservations with the kibbutz. We handle that for you. The meal schedule on the website applies to other lodgers and not to the archaeological team. We will provide you with a detailed schedule when you arrive.

  • Weekends are included in the weekly price, whether or not you choose to stay on the kibbutz.
  • Your room will be available from the Sunday of the week of your arrival. If you wish to come before this day (or stay additional days), please let us know as soon as possible so we can make arrangements. There is no refund for weekends or other days spent away from the kibbutz. Any extra night beyond the normal seven-day week costs an additional $80 (or $220 for a double room).
  • The rooms are available from 2:00 pm on the day of your arrival and you must vacate the rooms by 10:00 am on the Sunday morning of your departure (or 10:00 on the Friday morning of the final, fourth week).  
  • For the most part, you will be in the same room during your stay on the kibbutz; however, there is a chance that we may need to move you into a different room for part of the time. Please accept this change with understanding.
  • You must pay half of the total cost of your accommodations as a deposit upon registration (see table below). Registration will only be finalized upon its receipt. The balance can be paid through the same payment system for the deposit (online or by personal check). If online, access the “pay now” link on the home page or under the 2018 tab. Checks can be mailed to the same address on Page 3 of the registration form or upon arrival at the kibbutz. Cash balances can be paid upon arrival at the kibbutz. The equivalent amount in shekels (the local currency) will also be accepted at the current exchange rate. The due date for all methods of balance payment is no later than the day after you arrive at the kibbutz. Further details on how to pay and the refund policy on are Page 3 of the registration form.

IMPORTANT: When you arrive at the kibbutz, please give your passport and the small entry card from passport control when you entered the country to Shiri in the office, so she can photocopy them, as required by law. She will return both of them to you as soon as she is done. This is to ensure that you will not be charged V.A.T. as a tourist.

  • Food. You will be provided with a complete hearty breakfast on the tell, a hot meat meal in the dining room for lunch, and a hot dairy or meat supper at the kibbutz. Coffee and tea are available in your rooms, as well as bread and jam or cookies for an early morning ‘snack’ before departure to the tell. Food on the kibbutz is kosher. If you have special food needs (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.), please let us know in advance on the registration form or by email. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
  • Room and Bedding. The kibbutz provides each person with a bed, mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket, and towels. Linens are changed twice weekly and towels daily. The room is lightly cleaned daily and thoroughly cleaned twice a week.
  • Laundry. Most people do their laundry by hand; soap can be purchased at the kibbutz convenience store. Each room has laundry lines to hang clothes to dry, which they do quickly in the heat. Details about other options for washing clothes will be provided upon arrival.
  • Infirmary. There is a medical clinic on the kibbutz which can handle a minor emergency. If a more major illness occurs, we will transport the team member to a nearby clinic or hospital in nearby Kiryat Shemona or Safed.
  • Medical and Accident Insurance. We require you to declare that your physician has pronounced you physically and mentally able to participate in the rigors of an archaeological excavation. It is imperative that each person has their own medical insurance that is valid upon arrival in Israel or else you will not be allowed to excavate. In many cases, the person has to pay for the treatment up front and then get reimbursed back home. This should be checked with your insurance company. You must also demonstrate that you are covered for accidents (such as a fall, car accident, etc.). Bear in mind that some medical insurance policies do not cover accidents, and you must confirm accident coverage before being allowed to excavate. It is highly recommended you purchase travel insurance in addition to your regular medical insurance, which will cover such things as flight delays or cancellation, lost luggage, or accidents while traveling in the country. Some plans will allow you to opt out of medical insurance, or if not, you can purchase a travel plan with minimal medical coverage.
  • Recreation. Free swimming facilities for the volunteers are available, as are sports facilities. The region around the kibbutz is replete with natural springs, interesting tourist attractions, such as rafting down the nearby Jordan River, nature sites to visit, as well as shopping and restaurants (including a great burger place and a McDonalds!). Further information and maps are provided by the expedition staff and the  B & B office.
  • Convenience store. A small but well-stocked grocery store is located on the kibbutz grounds. Opening hours will be posted.
  • Public bus and taxis. A regional bus enters the kibbutz a few times a day and will take you to Kiryat Shemona. You can find out the times from the kibbutz B & B office. Taxis to town are not that expensive (around $15), especially when shared by others. The kibbutz office will help you order a taxi if you’d like.
  • Mail. If you would like to have mail sent to the kibbutz while you are there, use this address. Keep in mind that it often takes 10-14 days for mail to reach Israel from the U.S.

    Your Name
    "BAKFAR" Country Lodging
    Kibbutz Kefar Szold
    Upper Galilee

 What to bring (a must): 

  • Work clothing. Work clothes should be sturdy, light in weight and color, and easy to wash. Since the sun is intense, you may need to vary sleeve and pant lengths until you get into condition. Remember that loose clothing is more comfortable than close fitting, and that synthetic fibers tend to be hot. We do not permit excavating without a shirt for men or in a bathing suit for women. Even though we work under shade cloths, sun rays still penetrate and can badly burn exposed skin, so a high SPF sunscreen (50+) is a must. A good lightweight pair of work gloves will protect your hands. We recommend garden gloves with a coating of nitrile (a rubber-like film) on the palms and fingers.
  • Work shoes. Sturdy and comfortable shoes are a must. The soles must be thick enough to provide protection from the rocks and an occasional curious scorpion. We discourage sneakers. Sandals are not allowed in the field – only closed shoes!
  • Sun hat. A broad brim hat made from light breathable cotton is best.
  • Casual clothing. For after work and on weekends. Dress in Israel tends to be informal. Don't forget your swim suit! A shawl or wrap-around skirt for women is advisable for visits to holy places in Jerusalem and at church sites around the Sea of Galilee.
  • Canteen. Although we provide you with cold water in the field, you cannot drink from the common tank. Each person must fill their own canteen or water bottle with the cold water we provide. You will also find it useful for field trips and on weekends. An insulated water bottle holder is a good idea as well.
  • Electrical plug adapter from USA flat pin style to Middle East/Europe round pin style. Israel uses two-prong plugs in their wall sockets, common to the Middle East and southern Europe. https://www.amazon.com/Plug-Adapter-Flat-Europe-Round/dp/B001ISUCME. Make sure your electronics are 110/220 volts. If not, then you will need a 110V to 220V transformer as well, though most cellphones, tablets, computers, cameras, and other electronic equipment will adjust automatically to the differences in voltage. If your laptop has a three-prong plug, you can buy a USA three-prong receptacle in back and two Middle Eastern type prongs in front like the one shown here. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/666355-REG/Watson_APG_USA_E_Adapter_Plug_USA_to.html . You can also buy them quite easily in Israel if you fail to buy one at home ahead of time.

Highly Recommended:
Toiletry items
Medicine, prescription and other
Gatorade or another hydrating powder to mix into water
Swim suit
Towel and flip-flops (though towels are provided at the kibbutz)
Sunscreen of SPF50 or higher
Insect repellent
Clothesline and clothes pins
Liquid detergent in a plastic bottle (Handwashing soap for clothes available in the kibbutz store)
Alarm Clock
Reading material
Modest clothing (a wrap skirt and shawl for women and long pants for men) for day trips to churches, synagogues, mosques which require modest dress to enter them.
Personal computer/tablet. Free Wi-Fi is available on the kibbutz and also available – also free – at many coffee shops and public places; even on some buses!
Tools. Archaeological handpicks and trowels are on site, so there is no requirement to buy your own; however, avid archaeology students often like to come with their own “dig kits”. A good resource is Forestry Suppliers at 1-800-647-5368 or http://www.forestry-suppliers.com. For Marshalltown pointed trowels, No. 45/4 is the best size; a “4 inch” blade. They can be bought in a few hardware stores, but they are harder to get these days. Avoid the cheap off-brands. A 45/4 pointing trowel (Stock number 53685 with a 4 x 2” blade) sells for around $15. The 45/5 with a 5” blade is also good, but not as efficient as the shorter blades. You can also buy the high quality Ingalls Co. archaeological handpicks through Forestry Suppliers for $60 (Stock number 33454). We recommend the “Detailer” or slightly wider “Surveyor” models. Mark your personal trowel or handpick with your name, initials, or some other identifier so you can easily find it in the dirt or if it gets accidentally picked up by someone else.

Planning your trip:

  1. Generally speaking, the sooner you book plane reservations the cheaper the cost.
  2. It is a good idea to buy travel insurance that will refund you the cost of your plane ticket if you need to cancel the dig for any reason.
  3. Develop and use a personalized travel-packing list. Keep your list up-to-date, handy and detailed. Store your list in your luggage or with your travel documents.
  4. Bring an extra passport size photo, as well as a photocopy of the information and picture page of your passport. It is also a good idea to scan your passport, birth certificate, airline tickets or voucher, prescription information, and any other information and e-mail them to yourself in case of loss or theft.
  5. Get the local phone number for your airline so you can contact them easily if you must. Bring Nava's phone number with you in case you need to contact her for any reason, as well as the phone numbers and other information for Kibbutz Kfar Szold.
  6. Place of sheet of paper with your Israel and U.S. contact information inside each piece of checked luggage on top of your clothes. If your luggage misconnects this could help. Even if the luggage tag gets lost, airline personnel will be able to identify and contact you. It is also a good idea to remove anyone else's ID tags on your luggage, since one thing Israeli security personnel look for is whether or not the luggage is clearly identified as yours.
  7. It is a good idea to leave any non-essential cards, credit or otherwise, at home. If you don't plan to rent a car, you can leave your driver's license at home, though some like to have an extra photo ID with them.
  8. Pack old underwear, socks, clothes, etc. and throw them away at the end of the dig. This leaves room for souvenirs.
  9. In your carry-on bag, be sure to include your needed prescriptions, eyeglasses, contact solution that meets the 3 oz airline limit for liquid containers, an extra shirt and a change of underwear and socks, limited cosmetics and toiletries in case you experience a delay or your luggage gets misplaced. We strongly recommend that you pack your dig shoes in your carry-on so you can go right into the field even if your luggage is lost for the first day or so. If for any reason your luggage doesn't arrive with you at Ben Gurion Airport, there is a lost luggage counter nearby the carousels. The airport is very good about getting lost luggage to you wherever you're staying, so be sure that you have the name of the kibbutz with you when you disembark from the plane. They will deliver it, usually within a day or two, right to the kibbutz office.
  10. If you are traveling with someone, cross-pack with your partner. It reduces the odds that a lost or delayed bag will disrupt your trip.
  11. Carry a folded-up bag with zippers, handles and luggage tag and pack it with your luggage. If you find that you don't have enough room to bring back souvenirs with one bag, you'll have the spare.
  12. A day pack is handy for bringing items to the tel with you everyday, and a great catchall for guidebooks, water bottle, souvenirs, etc. while traveling on the field trips.
  13. Handy items to bring with you on the trip include hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and Kleenex.
  14. Place your shoes in the last bin you put through airport security. If you have to take off belts, remove change from your pockets or put through anything, you will always scoop them up if they go with your shoes, since one never walks away without their footwear.

Cellphones: Check with your cellphone provider about using your phone in Israel. Verizon phones will work in Israel, but you pay quite a bit for phone calls. Still, it can be good for emergencies. If you subscribe to T-Mobile, you will have free 3G internet access. This allows you to send free text messages and even call for free using FaceTime or WhatsApp. Phone calls are around 20 cents per minute. You can purchase a plan with a local Israeli carrier like Cellcom, Orange or Golan Telecom, but the cost is hardly worth it if you are only in Israel a short time. For those who are staying longer and want a local Israeli carrier, make sure that your phone has SIM card capability and is unlocked. I am told that the SIM port on Verizon phones is already unlocked, though you may want to confirm this with Verizon. The kibbutz is wireless enabled, and there are many other places in Israel where you will be able to log onto hotspots with your smartphone or tablet to check email or send text messages.

Travel to Israel: It is generally recommended that you not arrive in Israel on Friday afternoon when things begins to shut down for the Sabbath (usually by 1:00 PM), or on Saturday when most everything is closed. If you do land at such a time, there are taxis available. Private taxis are expensive, but shared taxis (“sherut”) that seat 10 people are available for a lower price. If your destination is Jerusalem, you may take such an airport taxi from a company called “Nesher”. Their station is well marked and right outside the arrival terminal. The ride cost varies slightly based on the shekel to dollar rate, but is usually around 65 shekels (about $19; no tip necessary) and they will drop you off at any address in Jerusalem where you may stay until the end of the Sabbath. The easiest (and cheapest) place to get accommodations is in the Old City of Jerusalem. Tell the driver to let you off at Jaffa Gate. The best bet is to look up possible accommodations on the internet. Consider making reservations at one of the Old City youth hostels or hotels before you arrive. Most of them are reasonably priced, clean and safe. Look for TripAdvisor (download the app for free) recommendations to be certain or contact the dig staff and we will advise you.

Here is a list of hotels and hospices inside the Old City of Jerusalem or within walking distance of the Old City. Many have websites. To call from the US, dial 011-972-2 + number








Gloria Hotel (Old City, Jaffa Gate)



Knight’s Palace (Old City, New Gate)



Christ Church (Old City, Jaffa Gate)



Lutheran Hospice (Old City, Jaffa Gate)



Maronite Hospice (Old City, Jaffa Gate)



Casa Nova (Old City, New Gate)



Greek Catholic Patriarchate (Old City)



Notre Dame (across from New Gate)



St. Andrew’s Hospice (about 10 min walk)



St. George’s Hospice (East Jerusalem)



East Jerusalem YMCA



West Jerusalem YMCA




Abraham Hostels: Highly recommended is Abraham Hostels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth. To make online reservations and find out other information, see their website at https://abrahamhostels.com/

Ben Gurion Airport VIP Service: For anyone who might want to use the express VIP service upon their arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, see http://israel-concierge.com/airport-vip-service

Arrival in Israel: Plan to arrive in Israel at least one day before you are scheduled to begin, since the trip from the airport (or from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) to the kibbutz can take almost 4 hours, depending when you arrive and your mode of travel to the kibbutz.

Money: Upon your arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, we suggest that you change some money into shekels. ATM machines are available throughout Israel that will give you shekels. Be sure to get a PIN number to use with your card if you do not already have one, and make sure it will work in Israel. (NOTE: letter codes are not used in Israel, so if the PIN for your card is a letter sequence, memorize the equivalent numerical sequence.) Notify your bank before you leave and tell them which days you will be abroad, so you don’t find your debit or credit card being declined at the ATM over the suspicion that it might be a fraudulent use of your card.  

Passport: You must have a valid passport whose expiration date is at least 3 months after the time you plan leave the country. Each team member must make his/her own arrangements as far as visas are concerned. U.S. and Canadian citizens receive a free tourist visa upon arrival that is valid for 3 months. While many of you are students in your home country, you are entering Israel as tourists (B2 visa); not as students (B1 visa). Other nationalities should consult the Israeli consulate in their region. In 2015, Israeli officials started issuing tourist visas on a separate entry card that you insert into your passport, rather than as a stamp in the passport itself, which you then surrender to passport control upon leaving the country.  

Security: When you arrive in Israel you will go through passport control. In some cases, you might be questioned as to the purpose of your visit to Israel. (Such questioning about your travel intentions may also take place before you board the plane on the way to Israel.) We recommend that you phrase your response something like this: “I will be participating on an archaeological excavation at Tel Abel Beth Maacah near Metulla (or Kiryat Shemona), with Dr. Nava Panitz-Cohen and Dr. Naama Yahalom-Mack of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.” NEVER use the words, “I am going to work or volunteer or study”. It may seem silly, but in the past we’ve encountered situations where the security officials took this to mean the need for a special work visa or student visa. While it all works out in the end, it’s a pity to go through any hassle. If there is any trouble at all, ask the official to call Nava (NAH-vah). Phone numbers are listed below. Remember, it is forbidden for tourists visiting Israel to pass into the West Bank or Gaza from Israel. If you plan to visit Jordan or Egypt after the dig, you do not need to go into detail about this with the security people at the airport. It will only raise red flags for them.   

How to get to the kibbutz from Ben Gurion Airport by bus: You can get to Kiryat Shemona (also spelled “Shmona” on the Egged website) by bus from the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem. For the schedule, please consult the Egged website (www.egged.co.il) and click the “English” link before your arrival in Israel, since schedules can change in the summer.

Via Tel Aviv. This is the fastest way to arrive, unless you want to spend some time in Jerusalem before dig. You can take the #476 bus from the airport to the Central Bus Station (about 45 min ride and about 12 shekels/$3) or the train from Ben Gurion Airport and get off at the HaHagana Station (about 10 min and around 12 shekels/$3), about 4-5 blocks walk from the Central Bus Station. Check with the airport information desk as well. Most Israelis speak English and are willing to help if you are uncertain where to disembark. From the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, take the #800 bus (the #840 or #845 busses take longer) to Kiryat Shemona. The cost is about 43 shekels (around $11) and will take you about 3 hours. See below for more information on what to do after you arrive in Kiryat Shemona.

Via Jerusalem. Take the Nesher airport taxi located outside the terminal when you exit. The ride is about 65 shekels (around $19). If you are not staying the night (where you simply tell the driver where you want to go), ask to be left off at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station (also called the “Egged Bus Station”, the name of the official bus company). It is a 45-minute ride (depending on traffic and how hungry the driver is!). Allow yourself 10-15 minutes to get inside the bus station, as sometimes the security check line is long. Luggage might be screened. Take the #963 bus to Kiryat Shemona. This ride costs about 45 shekels ($12).

Suggestion: Try to get to the correct bus stop inside the central bus station early, since the bus might be crowded with soldiers and others. Don’t take it personally when everyone begins to push and shove to get on the bus. Welcome to Israel! All the buses have luggage compartments on the side. If it’s not open, ask the driver and s/he will open it for you.

How to get to the kibbutz from Ben Gurion Airport by train: Trains run direct from Ben Gurion Airport to Haifa and Acco. It is easier to get off in Haifa at the Lev Hamifratz – “Heart of the Bay” railway station and then go to the nearby Central Bus Station (Merkazit HaMifratz) to take the Egged 500 bus to Kiryat Shemona. Right now, the train and central bus stations are nearby one another, but in 2018, the new Haifa Bay Central Station will house the bus and train stations in the same complex. There is another advantage to disembarking in Haifa – it is the beginning of the 500 line to Kiryat Shemona so you will definitely get a seat since the bus typically fills up as it goes along its route. You will be able to place any luggage in the cargo hold below. If for any reason you should miss the Haifa stop end up at the end of the line in Acco, the 500 bus stops here on route to Kiryat Shemona, so you will be able to board in Acco. The train schedule is posted on the Israel Railroad Authority website (https://www.rail.co.il). Click on the “English” link. The train to Haifa takes about 1.5 hours from Ben Gurion Airport and about 2 hours to Acco. The #500 bus from the Haifa Central Bus station to Kiryat Shemona is about 2 hours, and from Acco about 1.5 hours. The #500 bus from Haifa to Kiryat Shemona departs every half hour starting at 7:30 am and from 8:00 in Acco (see the Egged bus website, noted above). When returning home, simply reverse the procedure described above. Take note: the last train from Haifa to Ben Gurion Airport leaves at 2:30 pm on Fridays, so you will want to plan ahead if your flight leaves on Friday evening or early Saturday morning. Anticipate paying about 80 shekels for the entire trip (train + bus) one-way.

In Kiryat Shemona. Upon arrival at the Central Bus Station in Kiryat Shemona there are several options to get to the kibbutz. A website called www.bus.co.il has information concerning the bus lines and their schedules; some of these lines are run by the Egged company (and you can find them on the Egged website), while others are run by different companies (and you can find them on the www.bus.co.il site). You can also ask the dispatcher at the Kiryat Shemona bus station when you arrive and he will direct you to the bus stop to the kibbutz. Everyone that needs a lift is invited to call Nava at her phone number below, and we’ll pick you up. (Most Israelis will let you use their phone if you don’t have one with you.) If you can text us ahead of time about your estimated arrival time, we can plan our arrival for the time you get there. Wait for us opposite the bus station in front of the indoor shopping mall with a big “8” sign above the main entrance.

Egged bus website: www.egged.co.il
Another website with bus schedule information: www.bus.co.il
Israel Railway Authority: https://www.rail.co.il

Arrival to the kibbutz:  Once you have arrived at the main gate, tell the guard (if there is one) that you are with the archaeological dig and that you need to get to Bakfar Country Lodgings and then follow the signs. If you have a particularly heavy bag, you can ask to leave it with the guard at the gate and we will pick it up with the car a bit later. Please go to the main office where a representative of the kibbutz and of the expedition will be waiting. At this time you will be assigned to your room. You must present proof of your health insurance to Bob or Nava at this point. You will be given details about any outstanding payment, which can be taken care of on that day or within a few days of arrival. Please show your passport and entrance slip to the B&B office at this point; they will Xerox it and return it to you right away.

Computer and Internet Access: Free Wi-Fi is available on the kibbutz in the rooms, in the public areas, and in the dig office. When everyone is using it at peak time, it might get a bit patchy, but for the most part, it is reliable.


Staff telephone numbers

Hebrew University office: (02) 588-2437

Nava Panitz-Cohen: (02) 582-7832 (home); 054-4403487 (cell phone)

Naama Yahalom-Mack: 050-8322201 (cell phone)

*(02) is the Jerusalem area code when the number dialed in Israel. If you are in Jerusalem there is no need to dial the area code.

*If calling from outside Israel, you must prefix the number above with 972 (Israel country code) and subtract the 0 from the area code, e.g. Nava’s cell phone: 972-54-4403487; Naama’s cell phone: 972-50-8322201. If calling from the U.S., you must first dial the international access code: 011-972-54-4403487.

Schedule:  We leave the kibbutz at 4:45 a.m. (yes, you read that correctly!!) and begin working at 5:15 a.m. We leave the tell at 1:00 pm and go directly to the kibbutz dining room for lunch. At 4:00 in the afternoon, after you have had a chance to rest, team members are expected to assist with various tasks related to processing the finds, including pottery washing and marking, wet-sifting sediments, picking sifted sediments for grain, micro-fauna, etc., data-entry, and other assignments. Everyone is invited to participate in pottery sorting, which is mandatory for the academic credit students. Team members are also welcome to join the lectures two to three times a week, on topics related to biblical archaeology, geography, material culture, etc. We alternate between conducting these activities before or after dinner. A schedule will be handed out upon arrival. On the weekends, participants may relax on the kibbutz or choose to travel on their own. If you wish to rent a car (from age 24 in Israel), we will be happy to help you do this; however, you must rent the car on Friday morning and return it only on Sunday, since on Saturday (the Sabbath), the rental places are closed.

During the course of the excavation, there will be two Sunday field trips to archaeological sites in the Galilee. These are mandatory for academic-credit students and all other team members are welcome to participate. The cost is $100 and it covers bus, meals, entrance fees and guide.  

Daily schedule:

4:15    Wake-up and light breakfast in the rooms
4:45    Bus departs for the tell
5:15    Work begins
7:15    Tea break
9:00    Breakfast in the field
9:30    Work resumes
11:00  Juice/fruit break
12:45  Work ends
13:00   Departure from the tell
13:15  Lunch at the  kibbutz dining room
14:00  Siesta (time to sleep, swim, relax, shop at the convenience store)
16:00  Pottery washing, pottery sorting, and other assignments/lecture (2-3 times a week)
19:15  Dinner at the  kibbutz dining room
20:00  Pottery washing, pottery sorting, and other assignments/lecture (2-3 times a week)

22:00  Recommended bedtime


During the time we are out in the field, our office manager is busy organizing and processing the many finds. We welcome our team members to experience office work at least once during their stay and thus to get a different perspective on the workings of an archaeological dig. We ask you to coordinate this with your field supervisor one day before you plan to stay back in the office, so we know in advance who will be in the field the next day.

Work etiquette:

  1. There is little that contributes more to the overall success of an excavation better than mature people who maintain a good attitude towards their work and one another.
  2. Please get up promptly in the morning and make sure that all your roommates are awake.
  3. Be sensitive to the needs of others and respect their privacy.
  4. No loud noise or talking after 21:00 to allow those who wish to go to bed to get their rest.  We recommend that you not stay up later than 22:00 and to take advantage of the afternoon nap times. Fatigue has a cumulative effect.
  5. Leave the lodgings no later than 5 minutes before bus departure time, that is, no later than 4:40 a.m. Prompt arrival is a must. If you miss the bus it is a hassle to bring you out to the tell. If you wake up ill and decide to stay back, have one of your roommates tell us.
  6. Upon arrival to the tell proceed directly to your assigned field and assist with setting up the sun shades and removing work tools from the metal storage bins.
  7. Don't waste time sitting around and talking to people. It is important to the progress of the excavation that everyone maximize their time by going immediately to work. Talking is fine, but you can do it while excavating.
  8. Tel Abel Beth Maacah is a No Smoking dig. If you have to smoke, you will need to do so during break time far from the excavation area. Take care not to start a brush fire in the dry weeds.
  9. No eating in the excavation area; snacks during tea and juice/fruit break are enjoyed in a shady area just outside the excavation area. Breakfast takes place in a specially allocated area under a beautiful ‘Giving Tree’ with shade and water. If you must have a little nosh during the dig hours, that’s fine, but please step out of the square. 
  10. No unnecessary walking on the balks or stepping into other peoples squares and work areas without permission.
  11. At quitting time, everyone must stay in their field until your supervisor dismisses you. This will not take place until all the tools have been placed in the bins and the sun shades properly lowered.
  12. Serious misconduct or irresponsibility which endangers others could result in dismissal from the excavations.
  13. We follow strict rules concerning alcohol limitation. Many of us enjoy a relaxing glass of wine or refreshing beer now and then in the evenings or weekends, but it is important that you limit your alcohol intake, as it leads to dehydration, fatigue and other very serious side effects, including inappropriate behavior. Please respect this rule during the excavation. Infringement of this stipulation will lead to expulsion from the excavation.  
  14. There is no formalized dress code on our excavation (other than what we state elsewhere as required dress for the tell for safety’s sake), yet we ask that team members be considerate of those who find minimal dress offensive and to exercise discretion in their choice of non-modest clothing. We also ask that no one walk barefoot on the kibbutz grounds, since this can be very dangerous.
  15. Israel in the summer is hot! Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and wear your hat!!
  16. If you don’t feel well, report it to your supervisor and take a rest in the breakfast shade. If necessary, you will be evacuated for medical care. Drink, drink, and drink again (there are great chemical toilets for your use on the tell (the “temples”) that usually stand upright if the wind hasn’t blown them over!

We wish you enjoyable summer! We are certain you will have a wonderful life experience at Tel Abel Beth Maacah and we look forward to meeting you!


Basic Hebrew and Arabic Phrases






mahr Hah-bah




Good morning

bo-care tohv

sah-baH al-khair

Thank you



How are you?


kee-fahk (to a man)
kee-fik (to a woman)



My name is _______



sh’mee ________

im-neeH (by a man)

im-nee-Hah (by a woman)

iss-mee _________



min fahd-lahk

Sorry; excuse me


af-wahn; pahr-doan (French)







Do you speak English?



Toilet, W.C.



Where . . . ?

ey-foh . . . ?

wayne . . . ?

How much?






Leave me alone!!

ah-zohv oh-tee

yell-lah im-shee










H             An “h” accompanied with a short blast of air
kh            Aspirated “h” as in German “Bach” or “Achtung”

Police: 100                   Ambulance: 101           Fire: 102

US Embassy (Tel Aviv): (03) 519-7575
US Consulate (Jerusalem): (02) 628-2452 / 628-2231

NOTE: You do not need to dial the prefix shown in parenthesis if you calling from the same city.