The Shikhin Excavation Project
The Shikhin Excavation Project is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international, cultural heritage project and archaeological field school whose goal is the recovery, preservation, and publication of the site of Shikhin in the Lower Galilee of Israel. Professor James Riley Strange of Samford University, serves as Director. Professor Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret Academic College on the Sea of Galilee is the Associate Director.
The archaeology is done by volunteers from all over, many of them students from Samford University, Kinneret Academic College, University of South Florida, and Centre College. No experience is necessary in order to participate. We train all volunteers in American excavation and recording methods.
From Our Students
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 worth-while trip I have ever taken.
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, 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.
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 US and other countries.
|Arrive in Tel Aviv, drive with the group to the Hotel Galilee||May 26|
|Tour the sites of Shikhin and Sepphoris||May 27|
|First day in the field||May 28|
|Tour site possibilities: Sepphoris, Magdala, Capernaum, Cana, Yodefat, Caesarea Philippi, Sea of Galilee||June 2|
|Tour site possibilities: Bet Alpha, Megiddo, Caesarea, Mediterranean Sea||June 9|
|Free weekend||June 16, 17|
|Last day in the field||June 22|
|Jerusalem! Possible side trips to Qumran, Masada, and the Dead Sea||June 22-24|
|Fly home||June 25|
*There may be some adjustments
Fly with the group or arrange your own. If you fly with the group your cost will include trip insurance, which is highly recommended to everyone. If you arrange your own flight and wish to drive with the group from the airport to the hotel, be at Ben Gurion Airport when the group’s flight arrives.
|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||1:30 p.m.|
|Pottery reading||4:30 p.m.|
|Lecture three nights a week||7:00 p.m.|
What You Will Learn
Samford Student Cost & Credit
The estimated cost for undergraduates in 2018 is $6,750. Includes eight (8) credit hours of undergraduate tuition through Samford University plus four weeks of room and full board at the Hotel Galilee in Nazareth, in-country transportation, two Saturday trips, admission into national parks, additional insurance, and other incidental costs.
Students will register four two courses and receive eight (8) hours of undergraduate academic credit through Samford University.
Field Methods in Archaeology (RELG 393)
Field Methods in Archaeology is an upper-level religion course that helps you complete 40 hours at 300 level or above, required of all Samford undergraduate students. Coursework includes training in the field, readings, lectures, and weekend trips to other archaeological sites. Students keep a daily journal, are evaluated by their Area Supervisors, and take a final, written field exam.
Archaeology of Early Judaism and Christianity (RELG 394)
Archaeology of Ancient Judaism and Christianity is an upper-level religion course that helps you complete 40 hours at 300 level or above, required of all Samford undergraduate students. Coursework includes readings, lectures, and weekend trips to other archaeological sites. Students take a written exam and write a paper.
- Substitution credit for RELG 393:
- IDSC 201 Scientific Methods, an undergraduate general education science.
- An undergraduate general education social science.
- Substitution credit for RELG 394:
- An undergraduate general education social science.
- An undergraduate general education humanities.
- Substitution credit for both courses: an upper-level course in Classics, History, Geography, or Sociology.
- Graduate credit for RELG 393 is available for ENVM 521 for MSEM students; DVBF 521 for Beeson Divinity students.
Non-Samford Student Cost & Credit
Non-Samford Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students at institutions other than Samford will apply for transient student status at Samford, and email or call Dr. James Strange at 205-726-4543.
Israeli students should contact Professor Mordechai Aviam.
Undergraduate students at institutions in other countries should email Dr. James Strange or call (205) 726-4543.
The trip cost for non-student volunteers in 2018 is $2,700 (double or triple) or $3,350 (single), and includes four weeks of room and full board at the Hotel Galilee in Nazareth, in-country transportation, two Saturday trips, admission into national parks, additional insurance, and other incidental costs.
Not covered: flights and three-day trip to Jerusalem.
Your complete application and a $500 check are due February 1. The remainder of your fee is due March 1.
Make your checks available to Samford University and mail them to:
Department of Religion
800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35229
Scholarships, Grants & Loans
- The Religion Department offers scholarships for religion majors who wish to take a religion course abroad.
- 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.
- Check with Geography, Sociology, History, or Classics if you are a major.
Archaeological Research Grants
- ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research): Heritage Excavation Fellowships ($1,000). You will need to become a member of ASOR before you apply.
- BAS (Biblical Archaeology Society) Scholarships ($1,000)
- AIA (American Institute of Archaeology) 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 Dr. Jennifer Speights-Binet 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).
- NAFSA: Financial Aid for Study Abroad Students.
- Institute for International Education Study Abroad Funding.
Friends and Family
- Your congregation
- Your parents: ask for a loan and present a plan for paying it off.
Excavation, History & Importance
Importance of the Site
- The American Archaeological Field School in Galilee Survey Items
- The Shikhin Excavation Project Manual for Area Supervisors
- Strange, James Riley. “Kefar Shikhin.” In David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange, eds., Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods (100 BCE-200 CE), Volume 2: Archaeological Record from Galilean Cities, Towns and Villages. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2015.
- J.F. Strange, D.E. Groh, and T.R. W. Longstaff. 1994. “Excavations at Sepphoris: The Location and Identification of Shikhin Part I.” Israel Exploration Journal 44:216–227; 1995.
- “Excavations at Sepphoris: The Location and Identification of Shikhin Part II.” Israel Exploration Journal 45:171–187.
- Publications by David Adan-Bayewiz on Galilean Pottery
- Strange, James Riley, "Report of the 2011 Survey and 2012 Excavation Seasons at Shikhin." American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting. 15 November 2012. Chicago, Illinois.
Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation
- Strange, James Riley. "Report of the 2012 Excavation Season," submitted to the IAA
- Strange, James Riley. "Report of the 2013 Excavation Season," submitted to the IAA