Biblical Archaeology



Learning outcomes:


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Arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport and transportation to the hotel in Jerusalem

  • Presentation of the program

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Introduction

Bible Lands Museum

  • Israel among the Nations: From ancient Israel to the time of Jesus

Introduction to the Bible Lands and the cultures of the ancient Near East, the cradle of civilization at the time of Jesus. The study tour will focus on the historical, geographical and social context of the Bible.


Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Tour of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem


  • Lecture: “The Bible: History or Literature?”

As the most widely read book in the world, the Bible is regarded by many as a major literary and historic book. For others, however, it is the foundation of their faith. An analysis of the development of the content of the Bible as we know it today will help the student to understand the question and seek his or her own answer.


  • Lecture: “Jerusalem and the Temple in ancient Judaism and Christianity”

For both Christianity and Judaism, Jerusalem and the Temple are central in the development of their faith. It is in the city of Jerusalem where the Temple was built by Solomon, rebuilt by Ezra and Nehemiah, and completely remodeled by Herod the Great. The significance of the Temple does not reside in its architectural magnificence, but in its religious and spiritual relevance. It was in Jerusalem’s Temple that the ancient Israelites offered their sacrifices and celebrated God’s appointed feasts. Jesus visited the Temple at various occasions and many events during his last week took place in its courts.

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Jerusalem and the Temple in the time of Jesus

Mount of Olives lookout:

  • View of the Temple Mount


  • Temple Mount archaeological sifting project at Mt. of Olives

This experience will introduce students to the basic archaeological field work related to the Temple Mount and to understand the history of one of the most sacred places in the world from an archaeological perspective.


Israel Museum and The Shrine of The Book

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period
  • Biblical archaeology wing

This study tour will introduce students to the most significant archaeological finds related to the Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest version of biblical texts. In addition, many other archaeological artifacts, including the Tel Dan Stele, the Blessing of the Priests, the Pontius Pilatus inscription and much more, will also be covered. 

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Jerusalem and the Temple in biblical Archaeology and Hellenistic-Roman period

  • The City of David
    • View of Jerusalem during the First Temple period
    • The Palace of King David?
    • Area G
    • Warren’s Shaft
    • Hezekiah’s Tunnel
    • The Siloam Pool


  • The Archaeological Park of Jerusalem and the Davidson Center


  • The Western Wall


Jerusalem and the Temple were the religious center for the people of Israel. Much of the biblical narratives mention the Temple as the center of Israel’s religion. Today, there are only remnants of The Second Temple rebuilt by Herod the Great, yet what remains of the Temple help us to understand how important it was for the people of Israel and the teachings of Jesus. The students will see the remains of the so-called “King David’s palace” in relation to the historical debate over King David’s kingdom. From the City of David, the students will walk to the remains of the Temple area through recently discovered underground tunnels.

* Night in Jerusalem

Judean Desert

Topic: The Desert in Jewish spirituality

  • Masada
  • Qumran
  • The Dead Sea


Israel was born as a nation in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt. For 40 years, under the leadership of Moses, they tried to live according to the law received in Sinai. According to the Bible, after they settled in the land of Canaan and the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were established, they gradually abandoned their convent with God. In the Second Temple period, scattered groups of Israelites abandoned the cities and formed small communities in an effort to forge closer relationship with the God of Israel. Some of these communities settled around the Dead Sea, as can be seen in the famous site of Qumran. At the fortress of Masada, we will visit the two palaces built by Herod the Great. Masada is also renowned for being the location where a group of Jewish people took refuge and made their last stand against the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Traveling to the north through the Jordan Valley, students will see and experience the dramatic geographical differences between the Judean Desert and the fertile region of Galilee.

* Night in Tiberias

Galilee I

Topic: Judaism, paganism and Christianity

  • Beit Shean
  • Sepphoris
  • Nazareth


The class will visit Beit Shean, a city boasting nearly 5000 years of history and features temples from the early Canaanite era to the Byzantine period in the 5th-6th centuries CE. Beit Shean is mentioned in the Old Testament as the region where the bodies of King Saul and his son Jonathan were hanged by the Philistines after the battle of Mt. Gilboa. The magnificent remains indicate that Beit Shean was a major city during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and a major administrative center in the Byzantine period. During the time of Jesus, it was part of the Decapolis – 10 cities that had adopted Greek culture. We will continue on to the remains of the city of Sepphoris or Zippori, which had been the capital of the region of Galilee in the Second Temple period. The excavations have revealed a marvelous wealthy city that features some of the most beautiful mosaic floors, one of which contains the face of a lady that is now referred to as “the Mona Lisa of Israel”. The site holds a rich, diverse historical and architectural legacy from diverse cultures and periods. Sepphoris is only a few miles from Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We will see the remains of the small village of Nazareth in the Second Temple period that were discovered under the modern Basilica of the Annunciation near the ancient spring identified as “Mary’s Spring”.

* Night in Tiberias

Galilee II

Topic: The Galilee and the Golan at First and Second Temple period

  • Tel Dan
  • Caesarea Philippi
  • The Golan Heights


This study tour will focus on the northern part of Israel. In Tel Dan, north of the Sea of Galilee, the students will explore the remains of the ancient city of Dan. The Canaanite city, built around the largest spring in Israel, was conquered by the tribe of Dan and later became an important fortified stronghold of the Kingdom of Israel against the Aramean kingdom of Damascus. The tour will continue to the national park of Banias, known in the New Testament as Caesarea Philippi. Here we will visit the archaeological remains of palaces and temples from the Roman period. It was at this site, one of the three tributaries of the Jordan River, where Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah.

* Night in Tiberias

Galilee III

Topic: On the path of Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee

  • Magdala
  • Mount of Beatitudes
  • Corazin
  • Capernaum
  • Bethsaida
  • Ancient boat museum
  • Sailing around Sea of Galilee


A significant part of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee took place on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This study tour will start in the Mount of Beatitudes, believed to be the place where Jesus preached what became known as the Sermon of the Mount. The students will learn about the significance of the Beatitudes and some elements of Jesus’ sermon that can only be understood within a Jewish context, most of which is unknown to Christians. The class will then visit recently excavated ruins of the city of Magdala by the Sea of Galilee. The Gospels speak very little about Magdala, which is better known for being the hometown of Mary Magdalene. Recent excavations at the site revealed the Second Temple period fishermen village and the impressive synagogue with a unique stone depicting the Temple’s Menorah. The class will continue to Capernaum – the Town of Jesus, according to the Gospels. The town of Capernaum has been extensively excavated, including the house believed to be Peter’s house on which later, in the Byzantine period, a monumental commemorative church was built. The class will focus on the history of the city including the magnificent “White Synagogue”. We will continue to the site of Corazin, one of the three towns cursed by Jesus. The class will then close out the day aboard a boat, an excellent opportunity to learn about the significance of the Sea of Galilee in Jesus’ ministry.

* Night in Tiberias

Jezreel Valley and Mediterranean Coast

Topic: Christianity

  • Tell Megiddo
  • Caesarea Maritima


After over a century of excavations, the remains of roughly 30 different settlements were found on the site of Megiddo. The students will explore the extensive history of Megiddo from the Canaanite period until the time of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the top of the mound, we will focus on the famous battles that took place here, from Pharaoh Tuthmose III against the Canaanites and the future Battle of Armageddon narrated in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The students will learn about the prophetic significance of the battle of Armageddon and different prophetic approaches regarding eschatological events. We will continue to Caesarea Maritima, a stunning port city on the Mediterranean built by Herod the Great around 20 BCE. Herod named it after his benefactor, Augustus Caesar. The harbor of Caesarea was integrated in the international maritime trade and the city represented the administrative capital of Judaea (later Palestina) for about 600 years. It was in Caesarea Maritima (roughly translated into “Caesarea by the Sea“) that the apostle Paul was imprisoned for two years before being sent to Rome.

* Night in Jerusalem


Topic: Jesus´ final moments: from history to myth

  • Room of the Last SupperThe Garden of Gethsemane
  • Pools of Bethesda
  • Via Dolorosa
  • The Holy Sepulcher
  • The Garden Tomb



  • Closing conference of the program
  • Certification ceremony


This study tour will focus on the places connected with Jesus’ final days in the city of Jerusalem. As we visit these places, the students will learn about the historical value of the sites and their spiritual significance for Christianity. We will visit Gethsemane, where the belief is that Jesus prayed before being imprisoned. The students will visit the room that traditionally commemorated the site where Jesus had the Last Supper with his The Disciples. Finally, the class will visit the Garden Tomb and the Holy Sepulcher where they will learn about the various theories regarding the exact locations of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial place according to the descriptions in the New Testament.

* Night in Jerusalem

Transportation to Ben Gurion airport