a group of happy v.c.u. students posing in a desert in israel accompanied by a small horse

Study Abroad in Israel

The study abroad program in Israel is supported by School of World Studies faculty and offers six upper level credits in religious studies (RELS), anthropology (ANTH), history (HIST) or international studies (INTL).

Excavating Jerusalem: City of Three Faiths

Overview

The Global Education Office and the School of World Studies, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Archaeology Project, are pleased to offer a unique field school opportunity just outside of the Old City gates of Jerusalem, Israel. Students will explore firsthand the varied and rich Jewish, Islamic, and Christian cultural horizons of one of the most notorious and excavated cities in the world. Through guided field archaeology, lab work, and supplemental classroom lectures students will learn how to collect, analyze, and process material cultural remains from Jerusalem’s early beginnings in the Middle and Late Bronze ages (approx. 2000-1550 BCE) through its apex as a capital city of a nascent Judean polity in the early Iron Age (approx. 1200-1000 BCE) all while living and working in Jerusalem. Heritage and regional tours to Tel Aviv, Tiberius, The Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and more will further expose participants to one of the most eclectically modern, geographically and historical diverse, countries in the middle east. Students will join a consortium of several university sponsored teams as volunteers all directed by Dr. Yossef Garfinkle of Hebrew University.

Course Description

This course is a field methods class that combines historical research with archaeological inquiry. Students will be shown the methods and tools of archaeological investigation and be given the opportunity to put these skills into immediate practice. It further requires students to collaborate and work together as a team while they contribute to the success of an ongoing archaeological research project to Jerusalem, Israel. Specifically, students will collect, analyze and process the material cultural remains of several different cultural horizons while conducting an archaeological investigation in Jerusalem. There will be 8 hours per day of field work, 2 hours of lab work, and a final 1-hour lecture presentation. Students can expect to spend 11 hours a day committed to excavation responsibilities. Four weekends will be spent on guided educational tours throughout Israel.

Credit Options

All students will enroll in the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University for 6 credits earned from one course totaling 6 credits, or a combination of two courses each worth 3 credits. These credits will transfer to VCU as:

  • RELS 491 Topics in Religious Studies: Excavating Jerusalem (3 or 6 credits)
  • ANTH 375 Field Archaeology (3 or 6 credits)
  • * ANTH 394 Historical Archaeology (3 credits)
  • ANTH 398 Field Investigations in Anthropology (3 or 6 credits)
  • * HIST 390 Historical Archaeology (3 credits)
  • HIST 391 Topics in History: Ancient Near East Archaeology (3 or 6 credits)
  • INTL 398 Directed Study Abroad (3 or 6 credits)

* Prerequisites apply

For more information and to apply, please visit the Global Education Office website.

Program Director

This program is directed by Professor Jonathan Waybright of the VCU Religious Studies program. He has worked on archeological excavations as a professional staff member in Israel since 1988 and has brought more than 100 students, often in large groups, since that time to excavate and earn field school credit. He may be reached at jwwaybri@vcu.edu.

Jonathan Waybright