The Caesarea Archaeology Field School in Israel

Luther’s Classics Department, in partnership with Vanderbilt University, offers any Luther student the opportunity to participate and earn credit in archaeological excavations at Caesarea Maritima in Isreal.

This field school introduces students to the history and archaeology of the Near East from Roman times to the Middle Ages (ca. 1st century B.C.-12th century A.D.) by working and living at the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima on the west coast of Israel for 3-4 weeks in the months of May and June. Caesarea was the lavish port of Herod the Great, the Roman provincial capital, a thriving commercial center during the Roman and Byzantine eras, a leading marketplace and stronghold during the Islamic caliphates, and a Crusader fortress: a vibrant melting pot of cultures and religions throughout its history.

Students participate in on-site archaeological research at Caesarea, attend practical seminars and lectures on the kibbutz where they lodge, and visit sites and museums in central to northern Israel.

Luther Prof. Dan Davis serves as a senior staff member of the Caesarea Excavations, which are directed by Joseph Rife and Phillip Lieberman of Vanderbilt University. We furnish a unique opportunity for students at the introductory level to join in a major interdisciplinary research program at a spectacular Mediterranean site of prime importance. Our current campaigns involve intensive excavation of the north side of Temple Platform and the south-central district of the decumanus maximus, an area first occupied by Herod’s great Temple to Roma and Augustus and a dense adjacent neighborhood, then by the episcopal complex surrounding the Octagon, perhaps by the lost Great Mosque, and finally by a Fatimid souk. Through daily tasks students will learn the basic skills of archaeological fieldwork: techniques of digging, architectural and geospatial recording, and the collection, identification, conservation, and documentation of artifactual and biological remains. Apart from learning methodology, students will examine the religious, cultural, social, and economic history of the Roman to Medieval eras as it is reflected in the region’s archaeological record. Finally, the course introduces students to the customs, rhythms, and spaces of life in modern Israel while they stay on a kibbutz but travel to the nation’s three largest cities: Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem.

Scholarships and travel assistance available. For information on how to apply, contact Professor Dan Davis, [email protected].