Present Fieldwork


Megiddo Expedition


Megiddo is the jewel in the crown of biblical archaeology. Strategically perched above the most important land route in the ancient Near East, the city dominated international traffic for over 6,000 years — from ca. 7,000 B.C.E. through to biblical times. As civilizations came and went, succeeding settlements at ancient Megiddo were built on the ruins of their predecessors, creating a multi-layered archaeological legacy that abounds in unparalleled treasures that include monumental temples, lavish palaces, mighty fortifications, and remarkably-engineered water systems.

The Megiddo Expedition has been operating in the field every second year since 1992. The Expedition is undertaken under the auspices of Tel Aviv University, in conjunction with The George Washington University as Senior Consortium Member and Chapman University, Gettysburg College, Loyola Marymount University and Vanderbilt University as Consortium Members. The Expedition is directed by Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University; David Ussishkin served as Co-Director from 1992 to 2012), with Eric Cline (The George Washington University) serving as Associate Director (USA).


For the results see:

I. Finkelstein, D. Ussishkin and B. Halpern (editors), Megiddo III: The 1992-1996 Seasons. (Monograph Series of the Institute of Archaeology Tel Aviv University No. 18). Tel Aviv 2000. Two volumes.
I. Finkelstein, D. Ussishkin and B. Halpern (editors), Megiddo IV: The 1998-2002 Seasons (Monograph Series of the Institute of Archaeology Tel Aviv University No.  24), Tel Aviv 2006. Two volumes.
I. Finkelstein, D. Ussishkin and E.H. Cline (editors), Megiddo V: The 2004-2008 Seasons, Winona Lake 2013. Three volumes.

For the excavation’s webpage see:

The Shmunis Family Foundation Excavations at Kiriath-Jearim

The Shmunis Family Excavations at Kiriath-jearim is a joint project of Tel Aviv University and the Collège de France, funded by Sana and Vlad Shmunis (USA). Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Thomas Römer and Christophe Nicolle of the Collège de France direct the project. The staff of the expedition includes French, Israeli and American archaeologists. The first season of excavation took place in the summer of 2017, and the second season took place in August 2019.

Kiriath-Jearim is located in a commanding spot in the Judean highlands, 12 km west of Jerusalem. The Arabic name – Deir el-Azar – probably stems from the reference to Eleazar, who according to 1 Samuel 7: 1 took charge of the ark of the covenant when it was brought to Kiriath-Jearim. The identification of Deir el-Azar with biblical Kiriath-Jearim is accepted unanimously.

The mound is ca. 250 x 250 m in size = 5 hectares, one of the biggest Iron Age tells in the highlands. It has not been damaged by modern construction. The site is mentioned many times in the Bible: as a border town between the territories of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, in the Ark Narrative, the list of returnees from exile and other places. According to the Book of Samuel the ark had been captured by the Philistines following the defeat of Israel in the battle of Eben-ezer. It then spread havoc in Philistines cities and was hence returned to Beth-shemesh. From there it was taken to Kiriath-Jearim and finally brought by King David to Jerusalem.

The Ark Narrative and the strong polemic against the town in the Bible hint at the existence of a temple in late-monarchic times.

For the excavation’s webpage see: