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Alumnus to Lead Students at Tel Shimron Archaeological Dig

This summer, Cairn students will join Tel Aviv University and Wheaton College on an archaeological excavation at Tel Shimron, an ancient city in northern Israel with biblical and historical significance. The Tel Shimron excavation is co-directed by alumnus Dr. Daniel Master ’92, professor of archaeology at Wheaton College.

Tel Shimron archaeological mound
The Tel Shimron site lies in the Jezreel Valley of northern Israel, a crossroads for commerce and culture for over 5000 years. This site is the largest remaining unexcavated archaeological mound in the region. Photo courtesy of Tel Shimron Excavations.

Dr. Daniel Master and his research team will excavate Tel Shimron, located in the hills of Galilee, for ten summers. Cairn students will join researchers at the first excavation season, scheduled for June 17–July 29, 2017. The program’s other academic affiliates are the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, Boston College, and The Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies at Brigham Young University.
“This is the largest site in the Jezreel Valley, which was the main thoroughfare for people traveling from the east & west & north & south,” explains Dr. Daniel Master. “Other places like this have really contributed much to our understanding of the ancient world. And here this site sits in the middle of the same valley, and no one’s ever touched it. Because of the location of the site and its size—we’ve chosen three excavation areas spread across the mound in order to try to understand different time periods of the site—we’re really excited about what it might contribute to our understanding of the world of the Bible.”
Archaeological field school at Tel Shimron
Cairn students and other volunteers will participate in original archaeological research while learning about archaeological tools, techniques, and analysis methods through Tel Shimron Excavation’s on-site field school. Photo courtesy of Tel Shimron Excavations.

“I am thrilled to see Cairn University partner with Tel Shimron,” says Dr. Jonathan Master, dean of the School of Divinity at Cairn. “By participating in a cutting-edge archaeological dig, students will see first-hand how ancient cultures are studied by modern historians. Through this study, they will also be equipped to better understand the Bible itself. I honestly cannot imagine a better experience for widening the lens of student understanding and for exposing Cairn students to the highest level of historical research methods and practices.”
Dr. Daniel Master graduated from Cairn University with a BS in Bible in 1992. After earning a Master of Arts degree in Ancient History from Miami University in 1995, he pursued an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, defending his dissertation on the ancient seaport of Ashkelon in 2001. Having excavated with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1992, Dr. Master assumed field directorship of the project in 2007, generating research which has been featured in international news outlets including National Geographic, the New York Times, NPR, CNN, and the BBC. He joined Wheaton College’s faculty in 2000.
The Tel Shimron Excavation project seeks to understand the ancient world, including the world of the Bible, through rigorous archaeological investigation, in order to provide resources for the study of Levantine history and culture over the last five thousand years. For more information, visit
Interested in participating? View more trip details here, then register for BIB 362—Archaeological Practicum in Israel or contact Dr. Edgar Hardesty ([email protected]) for other participation options.


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