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International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
[email protected]

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
[email protected]

Tools sitting on rocks at an archaeological dig site.

Archaeology in Israel

Oakland University faculty-led archaeological excavation in Israel. The program includes field training, excavations, cultural tours, and immersion in Israeli culture. Digging with Hebrew University of Jerusalem, students will participate in all excavation activities, from field work, artifact processing, lectures by experts, to camp life. 

Course: AN 3581: Archaeological Field School (4 credits) or AN 4996: Independent Research in Archaeology (4 credits)

Program Dates: June - July 2025 (Please note that the 2024 summer program has been postponed to 2025)

Application Deadline: March 1, 2025 (Apply by February 1, 2025 for best consideration for scholarships)

For more information contact:

Michael Pytlik, Assistant Professor, Anthropology-Judaic Studies
[email protected]
(989) 274-0450

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Program Overview

Students will fly together to Tel Aviv, a vibrant city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast and the economic and technological center of the country, where they will explore modern and historic sites and spend a day at the beach.  

The adventure continues with travel by minibus to Neta, a community settlement in south-central Israel, near the dig site at Lachish.

For the next three weeks, students participate in excavation activities alongside students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Students experience the full range of archaeological fieldwork, from digging grid sites and uncovering artifacts to washing and processing shards of pottery and household implements. Students dig during the Israeli work week, from Sunday to Thursday, beginning at 5 a.m. and finishing the day around 7 p.m., with frequent breaks and a siesta at mid-day. The program is labor-intensive with eight-hour dig sessions in a hot and dry desert climate.

On weekends, students travel to historic and cultural sites throughout Israel. In Jerusalem, explore the Old City, the Western Wall, Israel Museum, and the Mahane Yehuda Market. In the south, hike to the top of Masada, visit the spectacular Ein Gedi reserve, and swim in the Dead Sea. The north is home to Akko, a port city on the Mediterranean coast known for its well-preserved old city walls, and the Rosh HaNikra grottoes, natural cave tunnels leading to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Students depart from Tel Aviv, flying back to Michigan together.


Requirements: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Students are encouraged to take AN 3562: Archaeology of Judaism and/or REL 1200: Introduction to Judaism prior to participating, but this is not required.

Course: AN 3581: Archaeological Field School (4 credits) or AN 4996: Independent Research in Archaeology (4 credits) 

The study abroad program is an immersion into the archaeology of Israel. The excavation site at Lachish is of critical importance to Israeli history. Students assist in the excavation of a Bronze Age fortress and the surrounding area. Lachish, mentioned in the Book of Joshua in the Hebrew Bible, holds important artifacts from the Canaanite and Israelite periods as well as from more recent centuries. 

Students engage in archaeological techniques, address anthropological questions, and seek understanding of the political, religious, and cultural questions of Israel. A greater understanding of the history and culture of the region is beneficial to students of History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Religion, Political Science, Psychology, and more. Experts at the dig site provide lectures putting the dig in historical and cultural context. OU faculty assist students on the dig as well as operate a drone to create a 3D map of the site.

Experience as an archaeologist is not required. Everyone is trained in the field. Students should realize the Field School is a working trip on an active excavation. The Israeli work week is Sunday through Thursday, and weekends are Friday and Saturday.

Housing and Food

Lodging for the work week is in a hostel in the small town of Neta, a short drive from the excavation site. Students stay in double rooms with air conditioning. While students are at the dig site, all meals are provided. Neta is a moshav, a collective agricultural village. Weekend travel includes accommodation at hotels and meals at local restaurants. 

Cuisine in Israel is varied and tasty: from plentiful vegetables, lamb, beef, and chicken, to amazing hummus, and fun street food. Israel is known for Jerusalem mint lemonade.

Most meals are included in the program fee. On the weekends, students can explore local cafes and bistros independent of included meals.


Tuition: 4 Credits

You will be charged for these credits on your eBill at your normal rate of tuition.

Program Fee: $500 

To be paid to OU on our MarketPlace payment system and includes: airfare, housing and most meals, ground transportation and all excursions while in Israel, health insurance. This program is is funded by generous donations that allow us to keep the program fee low.

Additional costs: $675

You will need additional funds for these expenses not covered by program fee. Amounts are estimated.
Incidental personal expenses: $300
Passport (if you don't have one): $175
Books and Supplies: $150
Meals not included: $50

Scholarships and Financial Aid: You are able to use financial aid to cover your full cost of attendance to this program (tuition, program fee and additional costs). Scholarships are also available through your study abroad application.