Israel:   Huqoq Excavation Project

The US State Department has issued a Travel Warning for Israel. Students who wish to apply to this program will be required to sign a waiver in order to participate.

Program Dates: 

June 2012 - exact dates to be determined

About the Program

This field school program is part of a consortium effort led by Professor Jodi Magness at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  It provides students with the opportunity to participate in an archaeological excavation while learning about ancient and modern Israel.  The OU faculty leader will be Assistant Professor Nina Livesey, who divides her responsibilities between the Religious Studies Department and the College of Liberal Studies. Her specialty is first-century Jewish-Christian relations and Christian origins. She is the author of Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol (2010) and several scholarly articles. In addition, Professor Livesey is a member of the Jesus Seminar, a group dedicated to the study of the historical Jesus and his setting in Galilee. The Galilee archaeological dig is of particular interest to her for what the material evidence can reveal about the cultural, economic, social/ethnic, religious, and political situation of the first century. 

The OU leader will be working closely with Professor Magness and co-director Dr. David Amit of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Professor Magness is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-CH. She has participated in over 20 excavations in Israel and Greece, including co-directing the 1995 excavations in the Roman siege works at Masada.

The Location

Huqoq (modern Arabic name =Yaquq) is a small ancient village located 1.5 miles to the northwest of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:75 as part of the inheritance of the tribe of Asher: “Huqoq, with its pasture lands….” Later rabbinic sources (third to fourth centuries A.D.) refer to the gathering and processing of the mustard plant at Huqoq, reflecting the village’s agrarian base. Huqoq flourished through the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, and was abandoned in the Middle Ages. A modern Arab village was located on the spot until 1948, and in 1949 a kibbutz was established nearby. 

The ruins of Huqoq are spread over an area of approximately 25 dunams (= 6 acres). The village lies in the center of the region that was the focus of Jesus’ ministry. Capernaum, the home of the adult Jesus, is 3.2 miles to the east, and the town of Migdal, the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, is 2.8 miles to the south. An ancient synagogue building, the remains of which are still visible in the midst of the ruins of Huqoq, will be the focus of the Huqoq Excavation Project (HEP).

Huqoq has never been excavated. In the 1950s, a few Jewish burial caves north of the village were excavated by an Israeli archaeologist. A small scale survey in 1999 by another team of Israeli archaeologists identified the remains of an ancient synagogue. The HEP seeks to excavate the synagogue remains, as well as its setting in the village. Huqoq was selected because there is an ongoing scholarly debate about the dating of ancient synagogue buildings. Therefore, one of the main goals of the HEP is to establish the date of the synagogue through scientific excavation. Some of the houses around the synagogue also will be excavated in order to better understand life in an ancient Galilean village. The project will incorporate the latest scientific techniques to retrieve types of data that previously have not been recovered on archaeological excavations in Israel, such as information about the ancient climate, diet, environment, and economic base.

Participants will dig from the crack of dawn (about 5:30 am) until lunchtime (about 1 p.m.) every day, Sundays through Fridays. After lunch and a siesta, participants will wash pottery or participate in workshops given by staff members. Workshop topics include the use of GPS, drawing, and photography in archaeological excavations, and analysis of ceramics, coins, and animal bones. Two or three nights per week, senior staff members will give lectures after dinner. Breakfast will be eaten at the site; lunches and dinners will be eaten in the guest house dining room.

Huqoq is close to many archaeological sites and sites of religious interest around the Sea of Galilee. There may be field trips on Saturdays and an optional excursion (at additional cost) at the end of the program.

 Are there prerequisites or other requirements?

All University of Oklahoma students with a GPA of 2.5 or above are eligible to participate in this program. 

Applicants must have a passport at the time of application, or a copy of a receipt showing that an application has been submitted. To access the U.S. State Department passport application, click here.

What about academic credit?

This program will provide participating students with 6 hours of academic credit.  

All courses are taught in English. There is no option to take a language course.

 Where would I live?

The program group will be housed at the Kibbutz Huqoq Guest House (“Haquq ba-Lev”), which is located close to the site. Housing will consist of air-conditioned, shared rooms (with 2-3 persons per room). Each room has its own bathroom and shower facilities and equipment for preparing tea and coffee.

How much does it cost?

Costs marked with an asterisk will appear on particpants' bursars bills for the usual summer billing cycle.  The program fee is paid by check or money order to The University of Oklahoma and submitted through the College of Arts and Sciences International Programs Office.

Applicants will be required to pay an initial deposit of $200 to the College of Arts and Sciences as part of a complete application. This is not an application fee; it is the first deposit of program costs and is intended to show the student's seriousness about wanting to participate on the program. Payment and refund policies can be viewed as part of the application process.

Program Fee paid by check or money order
Included: full room and board in Huqoq (shared occupancy), consortium "dig fee," transportation to dig site each day, lectures by program professors, airport pick-up and return (Ben Gurion/Tel Aviv) for those traveling with group
Not Included: Airfare, OU tuition and fees for 6 hours of credit, Education Abroad Fee, mandatory study abroad insurance, passport, miscellaneous personal expenses, optional weekend trip during program
 Estimated Additional Costs  (Select what applies to you.)
 Passport  $135
 Estimated Round-trip Airfare OKC-Ben Gurion-OKC
 *Education Abroad Fee
 *Mandatory Study Abroad Insurance
* OU Resident Tuition and Fees  (estimated) - 6 hrs undergraduate
 - or -
*OU Non-resident Tuition and Fees (estimated) - 6 hrs undergraduate
Optional weekend excursion

  Costs are subject to change based on the currency exchange rate and number of participants.

What about financial aid?

For information on Presidential International Travel Fellowships, a need-based scholarship designed to assist with the cost of international airfare, please refer to the funding study abroad section of the Education Abroad website. Other scholarships are listed there as well. For more information on financial aid for study abroad, please visit this website.

How do I apply?

The application process for Summer 2012 will be online. When the system is available, an "apply now" link will appear. Students will need an online recommendation submitted by a professor as part of the application.

This program will have “rolling admissions.” Applications are accepted at any time, and students can expect a decision about their applications within two weeks of submitting the application. 

Final Date to Accept Applications: Friday, February 17, 2012

Where can I get more information?

For more information or an advising appointment, email Karen Elmore,, International Programs Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences. Phone: 405-325-4716.  Walk-in advising hours are posted on the main CAS International Programs web page.