Israel is a country where the past meets present. It’s a treasure trove for archaeologists, historians, and anyone else with a passion for the days of old.

New findings in Israel’s history are announced so often that it almost feels like every week there’s a groundbreaking discovery–a coin from Herod’s period, a coin from the Roman occupation, or a lice comb written in a Canaanite language.

The past isn’t just for professionals in Israel, though. For people who want to explore the archaeology in the country, there are plenty of opportunities for travelers to visit famous sites or to view discoveries that are open to the public.

There are even opportunities to volunteer at active archeological sites where history is being uncovered one spoonful of dirt at a time.

Whether you are a casual observer or full-blown history and archeological buff, there is something for everyone in the Holy Land. Let’s explore some of the most notable sites to visit.

Keep in mind, however, that there is an endless supply of history to explore and we are just touching the tip of the iceberg.

Famous Historical sites

Kursi National Park

Kursi National Park in Israel

This archaeological site in Northern Israel encloses the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. It’s located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, so not only are there beautiful ruins, there’s also an amazing view and the sea breeze.

It’s a great place to go if you want to see an uncovered guest house and bath house from the 5th century, beautiful mosaics, and plenty of other archaeological treasures.

Temple Mount Sifting Project

Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Sift through a soil collection from the Temple Mount and find archaeological wonders within. This collaborative effort is one of the most unique experiences in Israel.

More than 200,000 participants have already been involved. It’s the most publicly-engaged archaeological project in the world.

Beit Shearim

Visit this national park in the Lower Galilee to see remains of a Roman city and ancient Jewish burial catacombs.

Zippori National Park

Zippori National Park in Israel

This national park is the perfect place to see excavated mosaics. Visit a Roman theater, ritual baths, churches, and the famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.”

Nimrod Fortress

Nimrod Fortress is the largest Crusade-era castle in Israel. It dates back to the 13th century and is located next to snow-capped Mount Hermon. Below the fortress, there are views of Banias forests, rivers, and waterfalls.

New Discoveries that may be open to the public in the future

Tel Gezer Archaeological Site

Tel Gezer Archaeological Park in Israel

This spectacular location will be restored in a 4 million NIS project. Located in the Shfela region, this was a popular site before it went up in flames originating from nearby moshav Beit Uziel. Tel Gezer was one of the first archaeological sites excavated in Israel in 1903.

There are sites from the Chalcolithic period all the way through the Hellenistic period. Come to see Middle Bronze Age menhirs, Middle Bronze Age water system and fortifications, a 6-chambered Iron Age gate, and the Gezer Boundary Stones.

New Mikveh Trail at Jerusalem National Park

A new trail between two thousand year old ritual baths used by pilgrims visiting the Temple Mount is called the Mikveh Trail. The site has been inhabited from the Iron Age to the crusader period.

Visitors can walk over bridges and floating stairs between the ruins of buildings and installations.

 Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem Renewal Project

Tower of David in Jerusalem

Israel has invested in a $40 million renewal and conservation project for this important archaeological site. There will be a new pavilion near the 16th century Jaffa Gate leading to Jerusalem’s Old City. New ramps and elevators will allow for easier accessibility to the citadel.

Terra Sancta Museum Expansion

This museum devoted to archaeological, historic, and artistic Christian heritage is expanding. A new wing will house “The Treasure of the Custody”, a collection of gifts presented by European royal courts over the centuries.

Another wing in the archaeological section of the Monastery of the Flagellation will show archaeological finds from Franciscan sites at Nazareth, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Magdala, and many other locations.

Volunteering at Israeli Archaeology sites

There are many opportunities to volunteer at archaeological digs in Israel. The Friends of the Israeli Antiquities Authority are always looking for volunteers.

Volunteers are given picks, shovels, and hand trowels and can work from 6:30 am to 2:30 Sunday to Thursday. The Jerusalem Archaeological park accepts volunteers, as well as Neve David, Ashdod, and many other sites around the country.

About the Author:

Iris Hami is President of Gil Travel Group, the largest travel management firm sending people to Israel. She has over 40 years of experience in the travel industry, and uses that knowledge to craft unique Jewish journeys around the world.

Her company has won multiple awards, including one from State of Israel Bonds for Extraordinary Achievements Promoting the State of Israel.

They send over 40,000 travelers to Israel and other international locations each year and their clients include well-known Jewish organizations such as Birthright, Maccabi USA, Israel Bonds and many more.

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