Project Description


The American Center for Oriental Research in Jordan (ACOR) offers a number of modest fellowships, including the de VriesGroot MemorialHarrellMacDonald & Sampson and the Russell fellowships that may support students attending a field school in Jordan. Students are strongly encouraged to explore and apply for any fellowship they are eligible for.

This field school offers students the opportunity to excavate in one of Jordan’s most important historical sites. Tell Dhiban (also know as Tall Dhiban) is located 40 miles south of Amman and 12 miles east of the Dead Sea. A mound of more than 30 acres in area and 130 feet in height, Tell Dhiban contains a fascinating record of some 6,000 years of human occupation. The Dhiban Excavation and Development Project (DEDP) has been working since 2004 to both understand it’s rich and complex archaeological record while preserving and developing this record as an economic and heritage resource for the future. The story of Dhiban is one of “boom and bust”, of rapid settlement growth and equally rapid contraction.  Excavations in 2012-13 uncovered a large domestic structure from this period that had been burned with its contents in place.  In 2017 we will excavate this large house, and document the rich record it contains of life in the 6th-7th centuries CE.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: July 5-August 8, 2018
  • Enrollment Status: OPEN
  • Total Cost: $4,510
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 20, 2018
  • Instructors: Dr. Bruce Routledge, Dr. Katherine Adelsberger, Dr. Melissa Kutner
  • Online Orientation:  May 20, 2018, 11:30 AM PST
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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Bruce Routledge
Dr. Bruce Routledge
Dr. Routledge is a professor of Archeology at the University of Liverpool.
Dr. Katherine Adelsberger
Dr. Katherine Adelsberger
Dr. Adelsberger is a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department and the Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair in Earth Science at Knox College.
Dr. Melissa Kutner
Dr. Melissa Kutner
Dr. Kutner is an assistant professor in the Department of Ancient Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.


Jordanians are, to my experience, some of the sweetest people in the world. They’re also very well aware of the long history of their country, which made it an incredible place to go for my first dig. The amount of fun I had and the physical shape I was in when I left were both phenomenal.
Maggie Darrah, Knox College 2015

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Our project base is in Madaba, a city of c. 80,000 (c. 1/3 Christian and 2/3 Muslim) 15 miles north of Dhiban with good tourist infrastructure, including restaurants, hotels, banks and a wide range of shops. Free WiFi is available in a number of cafes and internet USB dongles can be purchased in Madaba for your laptop or smartphone. Team members will sleep 3-4 per room in gender segregated apartments that have electricity, running water, showers and western-style toilets. Water is in short supply in Jordan, so all team members are expected to conserve water at all times. Breakfast is provided on site and a large lunch will be prepared each weekday by our (excellent) cook. Evening and week-end meals are less structured, with students free to eat food available in the project kitchen or purchase their own food in Madaba. Meals will be provided during field trips where appropriate. We can accommodate vegetarian diets as a matter of course. More strict dietary restrictions (vegan, kosher, allergies, lactose or gluten intolerance, etc.) are more difficult to accommodate and will need to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Dr. Routledge by email ( if you have any such dietary restrictions.

Jordan, Dhiban

Travel Info

Students enrolled in the field school are expected to arrive on July 5, 2018 at Queen ‘Aliya

International Airport (Amman Jordan) where they will be met by project staff. Please email your travel itinerary to the field school director ( as soon as it is confirmed. Students who arrive outside of the agreed arrival “window” will need to take a taxi to our base beside the Madaba Archaeological Museum (in Madaba). The airport taxi stand is immediately outside of the arrivals gate and the 30-minute trip to Madaba has a fixed price regulated by the government (22 Jordanian Dinar at the time of writing).

The director’s Jordanian cell/mobile number will be provided to all students nearer your departure date. Use that number and/or the director’s email address to make contact with the team if you miss your flight, are delayed or are scheduled to arrive outside of the arrival “window” on July 5, 2018.


All U.S., Canadian and EU citizens will require both a single entry tourist visa for Jordan and a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date that the visa is issued. This will be arranged on your behalf by the project. (see more details in syllabus)

In addition to the tourist visa, all foreign participants on archaeological excavations in Jordan must be reviewed by the government. This involves submitting your passport information, a photograph and some basic personal information (address, occupation, previous experience etc) at least three months prior to the beginning of the excavation permit. For DEDP 2016 this means no later than April 2, 2018. Once you have been accepted onto the 2016 DEDP Field School Dr. Routledge will contact you to collect this information.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.