We dig Israel!

Summer has arrived and so have our relatives from abroad, and even though it is insanely hot, it is time to go out and explore the country.
The activity – participation in a real archaeological dig – is something that they told us about, as it is not published locally in Hebrew, and the information is only available in English on the site of the Archaeological Seminars Institute and on Facebook.
“Dig for a day” is a 3 hour activity at Tel Maresha, part of Bet Guvrin National Park which is worth visiting even without participating in a dig, but not recommended in August as it is way too hot!

The activity takes part in groups of approx. 20 and includes:
– Explanations about the Hellenistic period (2200-2300 years ago), the Tel Maresha site and what archaeological digging is all about


– Digging inside a cave system with natural air-conditioning at approx 22˚C (much better than the 34˚C outside though still humid), and finding pottery shards, pieces of plaster, animal bones, seashells, and on rare occasions jewelry or coins


–  Sifting the excavated dirt, which is actually the most important part, as when you are on your knees in a cave you tend to miss a lot of items

– Visiting and crawling through a yet un-excavated cave system lit by candles
– Visiting fully excavated caves that are already open to the public (water cisterns and olive oil production “machinery”
– Summary, receiving certificates, and a surprise (pottery shards to take hone, as those you dig out must remain onsite)

The site is quite big, and so far over 5000 caves have been discovered, but there are still many let to dig in, and there were several groups working in parallel during our visit. Our guide Nimrod was very knowledgeable and presented the information in a manner appealing to the younger kids too, he also paid special attention to our Tomer and spoke Hebrew to him as he was the only participant who did not understand English.

Participation in the activity is not cheap, but please note that Israeli residents pay significantly less 🙂
Regardless of the cost, it is a very fun thing to do for kids and adults of all ages. There is something to be said for digging up an artifact that has not been touched by a human hand for over 2300 years!

This post is also available in: Hebrew

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2 Responses to We dig Israel!

  1. Larry says:

    My family and are going to be in Israel for the last 10 days of August. I’m considering this activity. You say not in August but then you mention natural air conditioning. I’m confused.
    Also, my children are 10 & 13. Both have adhd but can be swept up in an activity that engages them.
    It looks like you and your guests had fun.

  2. יונתן אדס says:

    The temperature underground in the caves is fine, but you need to walk a little to get to them and the sifting is done outside too.
    Even though it is hot, I certainly recommend the digging experience.
    My mentioning “Not in August” was for those who live here and have a choice of when to pay a regular visit to the Bet Guvrin National Park.

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