Disclaimer: This itinerary is subject to change for any number of reasons including, but not limited to, conditions on the ground, unexpected opening and closing times, or just for convenience sake.
Thursday June 11
We will depart from the front steps of Emmaus and be driven to Chicago-O'Hare where we will catch our flight to Tel Aviv.
Friday June 12
A long layover in London gives us a chance to visit the British Museum and the British Library. These institutions house some of the most famous collections of Bible related artifacts in the world.
Saturday June 13
We arrive in Israel, drop off our bags at the hotel and head into Jerusalem for an overview of the Old City and its surrounding valleys. You'll be excited and full of nervous energy so we'll be walking not sitting! We'll pause on Mt. Scopus for a view of the Judean Wilderness and a view of the Old City from the north. Then we'll drive along the ridge of the Mt. of Olives for an overlook of the southern end of the Temple Mount and the City of David. We’ll walk down the Mount of Olives for a Passion Week walk including Dominus Flevit, the Garden of Gethsemane. We'll walk through the Kidron Valley to get a view of the topography and the south east corner of the Temple Mount, and examine the famous tombs there. Then we'll head into the Old City for lunch in the Jewish Quarter. After lunch we’ll walk the Via Dolorosa, and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a stop at the Basilica of St. Anne and the Pools of Bethesda, we leave the Old City. We'll finish at the alternate site for the crucifixion and resurrection, the Garden Tomb.
Sunday June 14
We start the day at the Temple Mount also known as the Haram es-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary. Then we visit the piece of land that David captured and turned into the capital of his kingdom. In addition to examining the archaeological excavations, we will trek through a water channel, The Siloam Tunnel, commissioned by Hezekiah, king of Judah in the 8th century. The underground trek will take over half an hour! We surface at the NT Pool of Siloam, the location of the miracle in John 9. From there we head back underground and walk up to the temple mount on a street from the first century and in the near by drainage tunnel, also from the first century. After lunch in the Jewish Quarter, we examine the excavations carried out on the southern end of the temple mount and see the stones the Romans cast down from the top of the wall when they destroyed the area in AD 70.
This is the first week of digging at Tel Gezer. For a few days, you’ll be weeding, sweeping, and cleaning up squares to prepare the site for excavation. It’s a chance to get familiar with the tel and start to make new friends. By the end of the week you’ll be doing real archaeology!
Friday June 20
With pottery washing cancelled we eat a quick lunch and head to Tel Aviv and a visit to the Old City of Joppa and Gordon’s Beach. Bring your bathing suit!
Saturday June 21
We begin the day with a drive to Tel Arad and a visit to the Early Bronze Age city and the Iron Age Israelite Citadel. Then it’s onto Tel Beersheba in the region where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. We have lunch in modern Beersheba and then head for the Philistine city Ashkelon. Our drive home takes us through the Judean Shephelah with stops at Lachish, Bet Guvrin, Kirbet Qeiyafa, and Bet Shemesh.
Sunday June 22
This is a packed day. First stop, Masada! We'll take the cable car to the top of one of the most famous sites in Israel. From there it's off to swim in at the lowest place on Earth, the Dead Sea. We'll visit En Gedi, where David hid from Saul, and the ruins of Qumran. The day ends with a hike up to the internationally famous Cave 1 where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Monday-Thursday, June 23-26
Week two is a short week. You’re starting to learn the ropes. You’ve moved rocks, dirt and lots of pottery. You may have even found something of significance. Maybe an amulet or a whole vessel.
Friday June 27
Jericho is the first stop today. We'll survey the ancient walls and try to understand why some archaeologists don't believe the biblical account. Then it's back in the van for a drive up the Jordan River Valley. We’ll stop at Mt. Gilboa on our way to Beth Shean where the Philistines hung the bodies of Saul and Jonathan. Next up is Ein Harod where God weeded out Gideon's troops. We'll end the day with a view of the Sea of Galilee from the top of Mt. Arbel. We overnight at the Tel Hai hotel in the Huleh Valley.
Saturday, June 28
We begin the day at one of the most beautiful parks in Israel, the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. Here we'll visit the ancient city of Dan and explore archaeological excavations that support the biblical record. Then it's off for a drive through the Golan Heights (conditions permitting). We round out the day at Hazor, one of Solomon's strategically fortified cities. After lunch we’ll visit the Mt. of Beatitudes, and Capernaum, Jesus' headquarters in Galilee Then it’s off to the hotel and a long swim in the Sea of Galilee!
Sunday, June 29
We begin in Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab city, and a visit to Mt. Precipice where we get an overlook of the Jezreel Valley. We'll consider Elijah's ministry on Mt. Carmel the site of his historic battle with the prophets of Baal. Aramageddon is one subject of our visit to Megiddo. After lunch we visit at Caesarea Maritima Herod's opulent city on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. If there is time we’ll even swim in the Mediterranean again!
Monday-Friday, June 30-July 3
Week three is plain old fashioned archaeological work. The shine of the new has worn off and you’re moving downward layer by layer. You’re learning the process of record keeping and you’re trying to understand what happened in your squares.
Saturday, July 4
We drive to Eilat where we spend the day snorkeling and swimming in the turquoise waters of the Red Sea.
Sunday, July 5
This is a museum and shopping day. First up? Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, followed by the Israel Museum. Lunch time affords a chance to shop for souvenirs.
Monday-Friday, July 6-10
Last week! Now is when all the big discoveries are made. You’re tired, but you’re working against the clock. Every swing of the pick could yield important information. You understand the process and you can work quickly.
Saturday, July 11
Early in the morning we head to Ben Gurion airport and the long flight home!