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Study Tours

As a part of our mission to expand knowledge of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, the Institute of Archaeology has participated in excavations in Cyprus and Israel. These excavations are open to volunteers and provide a great opportunity to get closer to the world of the Bible. In addition to excavations, the Institute of Archaeology offers study tours which visit many prominent sites connected with the stories of the Bible. 

Places you might visit

Read the Biblical context of each location


One of the highlights you will see in Israel is the garden of Gethsemane is at the foot of the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, believed to be where Jesus Christ underwent the agony in the garden and was arrested before his crucifixion. It holds great significance in Christianity and is a place of deep spiritual resonance.

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Sardis was home to an early Christian community and is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the seven churches of Asia. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus criticizes the Sardians for not completing what they started and for focusing on image rather than substance. There are remnants of Byzantine shops and the Gymnasium in the area.

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Petra, located in what was once the land of Edom, holds a significant place in history as the country of Esau mentioned in the Bible. "Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom." (Genesis 32:3) Petra, an ancient city and center of an Arab kingdom during Hellenistic and Roman times, showcases the remnants of a glorious past in southwest Jordan.

Read some of the historical context


The awe-inspiring Karnak Temple Complex, known as Karnak, embodies a magnificent blend of temples, pylons, chapels, and other structures near Luxor, Egypt. Its construction commenced during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000–1700 BCE) during the time of Joseph and continued into the New Kingdom (1550-1544 BC–c. 1069 BC) the time of Moses until the Ptolemaic Kingdom (305–30 BCE).

Read some of the historical context


The Tombs of the Kings is an ancient necropolis dating from the 4th century BC to the 3rd century AD. The Romans invaded Cyprus in 58 BC. Many early Christians later came to Cyprus, and many of them would meet in Paphos. They were known to flee to the tombs during the early persecutions of the Roman era. In the book of Acts, the Apostle Luke mentions Christians fleeing to Cyprus to avoid persecution.

Read the Biblical Context


The Middle East Study Tour is designed to acquaint students with the extensive history and cultures of the ancient Near East as they relate to the Bible. The two-week tour encompasses sites representing the entire span of history, from the earliest periods of civilization to modern times. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between historical and the understanding of the Bible.

Instruction will include an overview of biblical history and archaeological research in the Middle East. Emphasis will be placed on past and current excavations in Syria-Palestine and their affect on biblical backgrounds, settings, events, and history. Sound principles of evaluation will be developed for assessing archaeological interpretation, recognizing its contributions and internal limitations. Students will gain insights concerning the current economic and political situations in the Middle East and how they relate to present and future hopes for peace in that region. 


Earn three hours of undergraduate (RELB 340) or graduate religion (RELB 520) credit. These academic credits may be applied in the following ways: (1) the undergraduate general education requirement (Area R-4); (2) an elective toward the completion of undergraduate majors in theology, religious studies, religious education, or archaeology; or (3) an elective toward the completion of the MA in Religion or other graduate work. 

Completed Tours

Israel, Jordan, and Sinai

May 6 - 21, 1999

Israel, Jordan, and Sinai

May 17 - June 1, 2001

Anatolia (Turkey)

July 31 - August 14, 2002

Egypt and Cyprus

May 9 - 23, 2006

Anatolia (Turkey) and France

June 1 - 15, 2009

Israel and Jordan

June 3 - July 27, 2010

Israel and Jordan

June 8 - July 19, 2011

Israel and Jordan

June 22 - July 14, 2014

Israel and Jordan

June 17 - July 31, 2015

Israel and Jordan

June 19 - July 11, 2016

Israel and Jordan

June 19 - July 20, 2017


May 24 - June 3, 2022

Egypt and Israel

May 10 - June 1, 2023


Kerre Conerly


School of Religion
Hackman Hall 219

Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.