- Help uncover key details about the material culture and architecture of the rural Jewish settlements of Judea in the tumultuous period from the Hasmoneans to the Bar Kokhba Revolt.
- Learn from an informative series of lectures on field archaeology and methods for interpreting finds.
- Gain experience in all types of archaeological fieldwork.
- Take advantage of opportunities for local tours and sightseeing.
- Earn academic credit while gaining hands-on experience.
Horvat Midras, located about 15 km southwest of Beit Shemesh, is a key site for understanding the history of the rural settlement in the Judean Shephelah during the Roman period. Current and past excavations and surveys show that the Early Roman settlement was larger and richer than neighboring rural sites and supports the suggestion put forward by several scholars that the site was re-founded as a Jewish settlement by King Herod, whose family originated from this region (Idumaea). The flourishing Jewish village surrounded by a necropolis rich of decorated burial caves and funerary monuments (one in the shape of a large pyramid) was destroyed in the Bar Kokhba Revolt, after which a Roman temple was built at the site.
In ongoing excavations at Horvat Midras, archaeologists have discovered a Pyramidal funerary monument, a Roman temple, hiding complexes from the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and other architectural remains on this site, as well as pottery, coins, jewelry, oil lamps, and ossuaries. As a participant in this field school, you will experience all aspects of archaeological fieldwork: excavating, sifting, surveying, washing and reading pottery, and digital registration of finds.
Two- to three-weeks seminar (each week starts on Sunday evening and ends on Friday early afternoon)
- Archaeological fieldwork tasks: Excavating, documenting, sifting, washing and reading pottery, and digital registry of finds from the excavation.
- Lectures on topics related to Hellenistic and Roman Judea, as well as to methods of excavation and various fields of archaeological research.
- Field trips to nearby archaeological sites.
This course is open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to mature learners with an academic background. You must be currently registered at or have been accepted to a recognized college or university or have successfully completed at least one year of study at an accredited institution of higher education. English-language fluency is also required. See the dig website for more details.
You can choose to participate in the excavation for the field experience only, or you can decide to also earn credit from Hebrew University during your participation (and transfer the credits to your home institution). The application process differs according to your choice.
You’ll apply directly to the Horvat Midras field school. Please contact directly the head of the excavation, Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat.
Participation & Academic Credit
In order to apply to earn academic credit for your participation in the archaeological field school, you’ll complete a three-step process:
- Apply directly to the Horvat Midras field school. Please see the Horvat Midras excavation website.
- Attend the excavation and fulfill the academic requirements as determined by the director of your archaeological field school.
- Once you have finished the field school and submitted a research paper, submit an application to HebrewU’s Rothberg International School (RIS) and pay the US$ 120 application fee and the US$ 120 per credit tuition fee.
We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.
Questions about Academic Credit
For questions about applying for academic credit through HebrewU’s RIS, please contact the Office of Summer Courses and Special Programs.
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Please note that HebrewU reserves the right to cancel courses for which there is insufficient registration.
Horvat Midras Excavation
Field School Director: Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat
The excavations are conducted in cooperation with Prof. Gregg Gardner, Associate Professor and The Diamond Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics, Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, The University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada).
Language of Instruction:
Two weeks: 2 credits
Three weeks: 3 credits
July 17 – August 5, 2022
Undergraduate and graduate students; mature learners with an academic background
Academic Credit (optional): US$ 120 per credit
Participation and Housing Fee: See dig website
Relevant Academic Fields:
Archaeology, ancient history, antiquities