|Tuesday, November 16, 1999
|Dig Israel--Literally, on a Low-Cost Archeological Vacation Where You Volunteer Your Services
Israel's Foreign Ministry has just posted its list of volunteer-seeking
archeological digs, and as in years past, it's a mighty tempting
document. There are projects throughout the Holy Land open to
volunteers who pay a small amount (averaging $250 per week) to cover
their food, instruction and lodgings. They are then trained on-site in all
the tools of the archeologist and work alongside seasoned professionals
While many volunteers dig for college credit, these programs are open
to anyone with an interest and can be a fascinating volunteer
opportunity. On the average dig, work begins before dawn and
concludes just after one (to avoid the intense heat of afternoon), at
which time volunteers are treated to erudite lectures covering everything
from archeological methodology to the significance of what was
exhumed that day. Lodgings for the group can be a nearby kibbutz,
camping in a field, or a nice hotel--it all depends on the location of the
Here are a few of this years' offerings, just to whet your appetite:
1) "Ein Gedi (January 9 through February 11, 2000): A desert oasis
located along the shores of the Dead Sea. The excavation will take place
not only at the site itself, an ancient synagogue, but also at other sites in
the oasis. To date, we have uncovered two flour mills, a Roman bath house and an installation for the
production of perfumes from the balsam plant.
"Accommodations: Ein Gedi Youth Hostel. Application Deadline: December 15, 1999. Recreation:
Lectures on various historical and archeological topics, bathing in the hot springs of Ein Gedi or in
the Dead Sea, walks through the nature reserve.
"Costs per five day week, $220 through $380 depending on type of accommodation."
2) "Caesarea Maritima (May 28 through July 13): A large Roman city and harbor founded by King
Herod, that survived through Islamic and Crusader Middle Ages. The combined Caesarea
Expeditions is an amphibious project which joins excavations in the terrestrial remains of ancient
Caesarea with investigations in the ancient harbor of the site. During the 2000 season, some CCE
archeologists will studysubmerged areas in the ancient harbor, while others will work on land,
continuing exploration of King Herod's temple to Roma and Augustus which was discovered during
the 1995 season. Still others will work on a dwelling quarter thought to date from King Herod's
"Accommodations: Marine Sports Center at Kibbutz Sdot Yam; land workers $375 per week,
harbor volunteers $425.
"Work hours: Field work is scheduled from 5:30 am to 1 p.m. daily with pottery reading and other
assignments between 4 and 6 p.m. A series of lectures and workshops held in the evenings and
afternoons providing training in field archeology and interpretation of finds. Recreation: Beach,
tennis and basketball courts and club facilities are available at no charge. On weekends, volunteers
are free to relax or travel within Israel. Low cost transportation to Jerusalem will be available and
conducted tours of other archeological sites and points of interest will be offered at a modest cost.
"Requirements: Participants in harbor excavations at Caesarea must be Scuba certified and are
required to bring their certification cards to Israel."
There are six other digs currently listed and more still to come in the upcoming months. Each listing
includes a contact name and address for applications, as well as an application deadline and all fees.
As you might have guessed, air fares are not listed in the costs nor is transportation to the sites (that
you have to handle on your own).
For all the details, go directly to this complicated address: www.israel.org/mfa/go.asp?MFAH00wk0
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