All members of the Megiddo Expedition will exhibit sensitivity to the cultural, political and religious differences in Israel. Team members will abide by all rules of local law. Civility and basic courtesy go a long way when over 100 people are living and working together. Be nice to each other! And keeping a good sense of humor about everything helps too! At any time, the Givat Haviva campus may be hosting other groups and all team members will respect their property and privacy. All TMs are expected to take care of their physical well-being to the best of their ability—this means TMs will stay well hydrated, will not drink alcohol such that it impairs their ability to work, will not engage in illegal drug use of any sort, and will alert us to any serious medical issues in advance of the expedition.
Team members who violate these conditions will be dismissed unilaterally at the Directors’ discretion. No refunds will be made in such instances.
What’s the Work Like?
The work starts early! All Team Members (TMs) get themselves up in time to catch the morning buses which pick us up near our campus housing. We arrive at the tel ready to work at 5AM. All TMs will report to their designated areas and will work under the direction of their Area Supervisor.
Supervisors will assign TMs excavation tasks depending on the goals of the area and the needs of the day. Team Members almost always remain in their assigned area for the duration of their stay. This allows everyone to become accustomed to the work and to witness progress over time. Scheduled tours of all the areas of excavation will allow TMs to learn about the other work going on at the site.
Activity on the tel can be taxing, but is balanced between heavy excavation and lighter work with small tools. Assignments range from loosening soil with pickaxes or hauling buckets or wheelbarrows of dirt, to trimming the sides of baulks with trowels, sifting for small objects or sweeping the ground to prepare for photography.
You will clean a lot of dirt! We work under large shades and you will be reminded to drink lots of water. Bathroom facilities are available! Daytime temperatures range from 82-95° F. (28-35 C.). The work areas are shaded, and some spots enjoy wonderful breezes. Still, it’s hot. Bring a hat and sun block, and a container for water which you can refill on site. Sturdy boots to protect feet and ankles are best. Some folks make due with sneakers that are in good shape. Sandals or any sort of open shoe are NOT permitted in the excavation areas.
Near our residential accommodations, is our "dig camp," where Team Members will process the material they have excavated. This will consist primarily of washing pottery and bones, but may also include assisting with other registration tasks as necessary. Afternoon work is done outside in shaded areas of the campus.
Digs can be fantastic experiences if you come prepared for the outdoor conditions. Please think seriously about your ability to do manual labor under a hot sun.
What’s the Campus Like?
The Expedition is housed on the campus of Givat Haviva (hereafter GH), a 20 minute drive from the tel. The nearest town is Hadera which is only a few miles away. From the bus station in Hadera, one can easily travel to various destinations around the country. Tel Aviv is less than an hour away by car.
Team members will stay in dorm-style rooms at GH. Every room has air conditioning, a private bathroom, a kitchenette with refrigerator and an electric kettle. There are typically four people to a room. All rooms are non-smoking. There are outdoor spaces to sit, relax and congregate.
GH furnishes bed linens and towels, and launders them weekly. You may find that you prefer a towel from home and you might consider bringing one for the bathroom and one for the swimming pool. Your dig fees cover entrance to the pool which is open every day between 2pm-6pm.
There is a cafeteria at GH where you can get a coffee and some snacks. A short walk (about 10 minutes) will bring you to a neighboring kibbutz Ma'anit, which has a well-stocked mini-market. The prices are comparable to city shops and you can pay with cash or credit card. A large commercial shopping center is about 10 minutes away by car or taxi.
We will arrange a weekly laundry service at a fair cost. Details will be provided at the dig, but you will be asked to write your name in clothes you wish to have laundered. You probably should hand wash any item that is your special favorite or very delicate.
You can receive mail, including packages, while on the dig. The mailing address is: Giv'at Haviva, Mobile Post 37850, Israel (specify clearly "for the Megiddo Expedition").
There is Quiet Time in and around our dorm buildings after 9:30PM. That means no loud noise, music or conversations, in person or on the phone, in the outdoor areas around our rooms. There are plenty of public areas in the campus that anyone wishing to hold lively conversations, hang out, play music, etc. after 9:30PM may go to. Everyone gets up very early—please respect those who wish to go to sleep early too.
Wi-Fi is available around the rooms and our Expedition office. Since the bandwidth is limited, please try to avoid heavy downloads (movies), and remember other team members need to communicate with home!
What’s the Food Like?
Three meals per working day are provided. The food is kosher, so no pork is served and meat is prepared according to Jewish dietary law — that means meat and milk dishes are never served together (there is a kashrut certificate). It is possible to have vegetarian meals—please let us know if you are vegetarian or need a special diet. Israel’s tap water is safe and potable, but many people purchase bottled water which is readily available everywhere. Team Members are responsible for providing their own early morning snack before heading to the tel. Coffee, tea, bread, biscuits etc. can be purchased at the campus store.
Breakfast is provided every work day—Sunday to Thursday. It is a dairy buffet bar (sandwiches, vegetables, yogurt, cereal, fruit) and is served at picnic tables in a shady grove on the tel.
Lunch is also provided every work day—Sunday to Thursday. It is a meat meal and is the main daily meal. A typical lunch meal is chicken, hot vegetables like green beans, corn, or carrots, potatoes or rice, bread, and cold salads (cabbage, cucumber & tomato, humus, etc.).
Dinner is provided five days a week—Saturday night to Wednesday night. It is a lighter meal than lunch, and is usually dairy (in kosher terms—so that just means no meat). Dinner might be pizza, pasta, or falafel.
What are the Weekends Like?
Weekends begin Thursday afternoon and end Saturday evening. Our rates cover your room for the whole length of your stay and full board on workdays only. You can choose to travel and stay overnight elsewhere, stay and relax on the camp, or to take day trips and return to your campus housing at night.
The Expedition does not provide meals on the weekend— You are on your own for Thursday dinner through Saturday lunch. Many TMs will use their free weekends to travel around the country. If you choose to stay on the camp, you can prepare meals in your kitchenette or in the club room which has a microwave, a kitchen sink, a large refrigerator, tables, chairs and a television. Outside of your rooms there are grills for barbequing. The campus mini-market stocks a wide selection of foodstuffs, e.g. cereals, dairy products, cold cuts, salads, plus meat and barbeque supplies. There is pizza delivery from Yokneam or a burger and fries at the campus pub.
Weekends are also a convenient time to do some shopping. Banks and shops are open on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning but close for the Sabbath from Friday afternoon until sunset Saturday evening. There is no public transportation from late Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. Team members often share rental cars or group taxis. They have even rented a bus! Explore Dan and Banias, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee one weekend, and the coast from Caesarea to Ashkelon the next. Tel Aviv is an hour away and in about two hours you can be in Jerusalem.
The campus lodging office will be happy to advise you about bus trips, car rentals or taxis, or just provide advice on how to get the best from your weekends. Returning Team Members always have favorite places to recommend.
Should you become ill during the season, you must tell us! TMs must notify their Area Supervisor and/or the TM Coordinator if they are too sick to work at the site. Depending on the situation, an ill TM may work in the camp during the day.
Team Members must provide the Expedition with proof of medical insurance valid for travel to Israel.
All medical costs incurred are the responsibility of the Team Member. You should bring all prescription drugs that you anticipate will be necessary. The pharmacies in Israel are well-stocked and you may purchase any over-the-counter medications you might need. But, because of our schedule, it will usually be inconvenient for you to get to a pharmacy. The two most common ailments in the course of a season are cough and diarrhea (until your system adjusts to the food and water), so we suggest that you bring cough and cold medicine and diarrhea medicine with you. Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) can also come in handy.
There is a clinic in Yokneam for non-emergent medical problems (e.g. you get strep throat and need antibiotics). Tourists typically pay a flat fee of about $100 dollars to see the on-call doctor there and you will need to submit your payment information to your insurer for reimbursement. Except in cases of genuine medical emergency, the Expedition cannot provide transportation to doctors, hospitals or pharmacies, or to banks or other facilities in town.
Laundry service will be available at the neighboring Kibbutz Maanit (about a 10 minute walk). We'll review the logistics with everyone once the dig starts, but basically you'll drop off your laundry (your clothes will be marked for distinction) and pick it up 2 days later. The cost is calculated according to the weight of the clothes- 6.5 NIS (or about $1.80) per kilogram- and you'll need to pay in shekels at the time of pick-up (no credit cards). You probably should hand wash any item that is your special favorite or very delicate.
How Do I Prepare?
We have team members from all over the world, so we do not organize a group flight. We suggest that you work with your own travel agent or use an online booking site like Expedia or Travelocity. We will ask you to provide us with detailed travel information once you have it, and we will be able to put you in touch with other TMs who are travelling on the same flight.
Find The Megiddo Expedition on Facebook where you can get additional questions answered, get in touch with other TMs and make plans for independent travel before or after the dig, if you choose.
The dig will provide transportation from the airport to the Campus at the start of each session. Details about this bus will be provided closer to the date.
Team Members need enough travelers’ checks, cash and credit cards to handle additional expenses (travel, gifts, entertainment expenses, meals at restaurants, and so on). The Expedition will NOT cash checks or advance money on credit. In Israel, credit and debit cards can be used almost everywhere, but you should always check with your bank or credit card company about fees—some of which can be substantial when using your card abroad. You can exchange money at the airport upon arrival so that you will have some shekels on hand. It is inconvenient during the week to exchange money because of our work schedule. On weekends, you will, if you choose, be able to travel to areas with banks, post offices, etc.
Responsibility for the security of all personal belongings, including passports, cash, credit cards, clothing and other objects, rests with the individual Team Member. As always, when travelling anywhere, you should use common sense and take care of all your belongings.
Packing! Many travel guides mention the following wisdom: Take half the clothes and twice the money. This is good advice! You will almost certainly not need as much stuff as you might think. For tried-and-true advice on packing for Megiddo, check out the tips and tricks of our veteran Megiddoite, Jen Thum.
Israeli electrical current is 220/240V. Any electrical appliances brought from North America will require the appropriate converters (for the voltage), and/or an adapter plug (to fit in the outlet).
Wi-Fi is available at no cost in our club room and in the outdoor areas in the immediate vicinity.
Departure and Cancellations
Rooms must be vacated on the final day of the Team Member’s session. We regret that Team Members are not permitted to remain in camp after the close of their Expedition session. The accommodations are booked, and must be readied for the next occupants.