Dig in Israel this summer and receive eight hours of course credit!

Samford University participates in the Shikhin Excavation Project, a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international, cultural heritage project whose goal is the recovery and preservation of the site of Shikhin in the Lower Galilee of Israel.

From Our Students

Anna Ozment

Anna Ozment, religion major

Samford Summer in Israel was the most rewarding month of my life. Not only did I learn a wealth of information in archeological studies, but I also gained insight on the history of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and gained a whole new perspective of the Middle East. Touring holy sights of the land where my faith was founded was just an incredible bonus. The most worthwhile trip I have ever taken.

Abi Rodgers, classics Major

Abi RodgersGoing to Israel this summer is still the highlight of my college experience! As a Classics major I love ancient history and I wanted to experience it first hand so participating in a dig was my life long dream. Other than the friendships I made on the team, my favorite part was starting a new square. We found so many artifacts so quickly it became a joke around the site when we would turn them in throughout the day!

Abigail Rodgers and Jewel Trail combined interests in classics and chemistry for a Shikhin research project. Watch the video to learn more!

Watch Video

Franklin Lowe

Franklin Lowe, history major

Taking part in the Shikhin Excavation Project gave me the opportunity to study not only ancient cultures and the theories of archaeology, but also my own connection to the energies of the Holy Land. Each day, I dwelt with cultures, ancient and modern, that were full of emotion, wisdom, and faith, and I hope that I am a better scholar and thinker because of it. In just four weeks, I learned an entirely new skill, developed strong friendships and academic connections, and embraced the stark beauty of the Galilee and its so very tangible history.

Stetson Pevear

Stetson Pevear, pharmacy major

Participating in the Shikhin Excavation Project is an experience of a lifetime. I learned from experts such as Dr. Strange and his colleagues, who have spent decades researching in Israel, not only about history and archaeology, but about life as well. I found fascination in every moment of the trip.


Trip Details

We will spend the bulk of our time excavating the ancient site of Shikhin near Nazareth, at the edge of the beautiful Beit Netofa Valley in Lower Galilee. We will be joined by students and non-student volunteers from the United States and other countries.

2023 Trip Schedule
Event Date
Arrive in Israel; drive with the group to the Galilee Hotel Sunday, June 4
Tour the sites of Shikhin and Sepphoris Monday, June 5 
First day in the field Tuesday, June 6 
Tour site possibilities: Yodfat, Magdala, Capernaum, Cana, Caesarea Philippi, and Sea of Galilee Saturday, June 10 
Tour site possibilities: Bet Alpha, Bet She'an, Bet She'arim, Megiddo, Caesarea, Mediterranean Sea Saturday, June 17
Free weekend (student field exam on Sunday afternoon) Saturday, June 24 
Banquet Wednesday, June 28 
Last day in the field  Friday, June 30
Jerusalem! Possible side trips to Qumran, Masada, and the Dead Sea June 30 - July 3 
Fly home and get some sleep Monday, July 3 

*There may be some adjustments

Shikhin Team

Dig Schedule

We start early to beat the heat and are finished by 12:30 pm. Gone are the days of living in tents! We have the advantage of living in downtown Nazareth in an air-conditioned hotel whose staff spoils us with Wi-Fi connections and heaps of delicious food. We spend two Saturdays traveling to other archaeological sites and places of interest, taking dips in the Sea of Galilee and blue Mediterranean. There is usually one free weekend, on which many students take trips to the beach or other sites that they wish to see, and then a final, three-day weekend in Jerusalem as an optional trip. In Jerusalem, students experience the Old City, ride camels on the Mount of Olives, and take side trips to places like Qumran, Masada, and the Dead Sea.
Sample Daily Itinerary
Event Time
Wake up, first breakfast 4:00 a.m.
Load up and drive to site 4:30 a.m.
Arrive at site and start work 5:00 a.m.
Second breakfast in the field 8:30 a.m.
Fruit break 10:30 a.m.
Pack up, drive to the hotel 12:15 p.m.
Lunch at the hotel 1:00 p.m.
Pottery registration and afternoon chores 1:30 p.m.
Pottery reading 4:30 p.m.
Dinner 6:00 p.m.
Lecture four nights a week 7:00 p.m.
Paperwork 8:00 p.m.
Bed 9:00 p.m.

Cost & Credit

Shikhin Coin Face
The cost for 2023 is to be determined. Includes eight (8) credit hours of undergraduate tuition through Samford University, flights, four weeks of lodging and meals in Nazareth, three nights bed and breakfast in Jerusalem, in-country transportation, two Saturday trips, admission into national parks, additional insurance and other incidental costs.

Course Information

Students register four two courses and receive eight (8) hours of undergraduate academic credit through Samford University.

Field Methods in Archaeology (BREL 344)

Coursework for Field Methods in Archaeology includes archaeological training in the field, readings, and lectures. Students keep a daily journal, are evaluated by their Area Supervisors, and take a final, written field exam.

Substitution Credits for BREL 344

  • An undergraduate general education science
  • An undergraduate general education social science
  • An upper-level course in Classics, History, Geography, or Sociology
  • ENVM 521 for MSEM students
  • DVBF 521 for Beeson Divinity students

Archaeology of Early Judaism and Christianity (BREL 346)

Coursework for Archaeology of Ancient Judaism and Christianity includes readings, lectures, and weekend trips to other archaeological sites in Israel. Students take a written exam and write a paper.

Substitution Credits for BREL 346

  • An undergraduate general education social science.
  • An undergraduate general education humanities.
  • An upper-level course in Classics, History, Geography, or Sociology

Apply to Study Abroad

Scholarships, Grants & Loans

Samford Scholarships

  • The Department of Biblical and Religious Studies offers scholarships from the Carolyn Midkiff Strange Fund for Biblical Archaeology.
  • ASPIRE Grant ($2,000): You will need to develop a research proposal, with which Dr. Strange will help you. You will do research on the dig and will work with Dr. Strange in his office in the second part of the summer.
  • Your major department
  • University Fellows: check with the directors about grants or scholarships for summer study abroad.
  • Your national honor society
  • Your Greek organization: check with the local and/or national office.

External Archaeological Research Grants

  • American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR): Heritage Excavation Fellowships ($1,000). You will need to become a member of ASOR before you apply.
  • Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) Scholarships ($1,000)
  • American Institute of Archaeology (AIA) Field School Scholarships ($1,000)

Additional Summer Study Abroad Sources

  • Phi Kappa Phi ($1,000). Membership is not required, but you do have to attend an institution with an active Phi Kappa Phi chapter (i.e. Samford), have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75, and have applied and been accepted to a study abroad program.
  • Dr. Caroll Mills-Young Scholarship from the College Language Association (competitive: go for it). You will need a letter of recommendation from Dr. Strange; send him your résumé in early December.
  • Alpha Lambda Delta: National Honor Society for Freshman, James G. Stemler scholarship for study abroad ($1,000): Contact Bridget Rose for the local chapter deadline and further information.
  • The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program (up to $5,000) for undergraduate study abroad for students receiving U.S. Students Federal Pell Grant funding.
  • Fund for Education Abroad (up to $10,000).

Friends and Family

Investigate the following sources of funding:
  • Your congregation
  • Your parents: ask for a loan and present a plan for paying it off.