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Carta Jerusalem: Biblical and

Archaeological Israel Expedition

November 27-December 8, 2020

Expedition ID: 20-17

Have you ever been frustrated or felt lost, like you’re wandering around in a foreign country when you read the Bible? We the offer the finest expert-led, on-site learning experiences to help learn how to study your bible. ​


Carta Jerusalem offers an unparalleled opportunity to join world-renowned scholar and Carta author, R. Steven Notely, and Israeli archaeologist and guide Eli Shukron for a unique expedition to Israel. Explore biblical and archaeological sites with scholars and archaeologists. Gain unique access to sites and scholars as you hear about recent discoveries in Israeli archaeology and how they shed light on the world of the Bible. Discover the land of the Bible with Carta Jerusalem as they bring their trusted historical, archaeological, and geographical excellence to your journey. Visit Jerusalem, the City of David, el-Araj/Beitsaida, Capernaum, Nazareth, Dan, and many others.

Expedition Highlights
  • Western Wall Tunnels with chief archaelogist Dan Bahat

  • Lecture by world-renowned archaeologist Gabriel Barkay

  • The new excavations at el-Araj/Beitsaida

  • The City of David with excavator Eli Shukron

  • Jerusalem

  • Magdala

  • Caesarea

  • Masada

Costs Include:
  • Hotels (breakfast and dinner daily)

  • All entrances, activities, and lectures per itinerary

  • Resource bundle of Carta Jerusalem books

  • Expert Biblical Instructor R. Steven Notely

  • Archaeologist and tour guide Eli Shukron

  • AC Luxury tour bus

  • All tips (hotels, guide, and driver)

  • Biblical Expeditions private group concierge

  • Airport assistance upon arrival and departure

  • $3945 (Land Cost)

  • $4786 (Land with Single Occupancy Cost)

  • Cost with Airfare: COMING SOON!

Payments Due By:
  • Payment Plan Available
  • Final Payment Due 8/19/20

Expedition Instructor


R. Steven Notley

R. Steven Notley is Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins on the New York City campus of Nyack College (2001-present) and Director of the graduate programs in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins. He received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University, where he studied with David Flusser. Dr. Notley lived 16 years in Jerusalem with his wife and four children, during which time he was the founding chair of the New Testament Studies program at the Jerusalem University College. He has been directing groups of students and laypeople to Israel and the eastern Mediterranean region for 30 years. He is the author of many books and articles. He continues collaborative research and publication with Israeli scholars in the fields of historical geography, ancient Judaism and Christian origins. 


Among his list of publications, he collaborated with Flusser on the historical biography, The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius (Eerdmans 2007); with Anson Rainey (Tel Aviv University) the monumental biblical atlas, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World (Carta Publishing 2005); with Ze’ev Safrai (Bar Ilan University) an annotated translation of Eusebius’ important description of Roman Palestine, Eusebius, Onomasticon:  A Triglott Edition with Notes and Commentary (Brill 2005).  


He rejoined Safrai for their second work, a pioneering collection and translation of the earliest rabbinic parables that provide the literary and religious context for the parables of Jesus, The Parables of the Sages (Carta 2011). Since 2016 he has served as the Academic Director of the El Araj Excavation Project in its search for first-century Bethsaida-Julias, the lost city of the Apostles. 

Expedition Guide


Eli Shukron

Eli began his work in the City of Jerusalem over 25 years ago in numerous excavations in the city and from the year 1995 he worked at the City of David as the Director of the Excavations carried out at the site. He obtained his degree from The Hebrew University, and worked at the Israel Antiquities Authority as a Research Archaeologist from 1988 until 2013. 

From 1995 until 2012, Eli excavated the Gihon Spring House, changing the understanding of Ancient Jerusalem by excavating the Wall Fortifications dated MB II, the Rock-cut pool and the ritual enclosure, where a broken bulla bearing the name of the City of Bethlehem was found.  

In 2004, Eli found and excavated the Second Temple-period Pool of Siloam. The pool was used for Jewish rituals baths.  

In 2006 – 2009, he uncovered and excavated the ancient Jerusalem Pilgrim road that led from Siloam Pool to the Second Temple Mount. 

In 2007 – 2012, Eli excavated an ancient Jerusalem water channel that drained Jerusalem. Items discovered in the tunnel appear to confirm Josephus's account of Jews using the sewer as a refuge and means of escape from the burning city. Among the finds was a rare half-shekel coin, used to pay the Second Temple tax; only seven other such coins have been found in archeological digs.  

From 2011-2013, he excavated the foundation of the Western Wall and the tunnel beside the wall under Davidson Center (Part of the Jerusalem Walls National Park), where the Golden Bell from the High Priest was found. 

Eli is an expert in History and Archaeology of Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple periods and has published dozen of articles about Archaeology in Jerusalem. He also works as a consultant to media broadcasting projects about Jerusalem. 


Tour Itinerary - November 27-December 8,  2020


Depart U.S.A.


Upon arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, our representative will meet you in the arrival hall to assist you with your luggage. You will meet your guide and bus and travel to your hotel.


Dinner and overnight at our hotel along the Mediterranean coast.


In the Footsteps of Kings and Prophets

Our morning begins in the Shephela (Deut. 1:7), an area of rolling hills between Israel's hill country and the Mediterranean coast. Our first stop is the ancient city of Lachish (2 Kings 18:14, Isa. 36:2, Jer. 34:7), which was the second-most important city of the Kingdom of Judah. During the reign of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:14, Isa. 36:2), the King of Assyria laid siege to Lachish and destroyed the city. 

Traveling north through the Shephelah, we enter the Elah Valley, the site of the famous confrontation between David and Goliath (1 Sam. 17). Here we will open the biblical story and see the landscape recorded in the Bible come alive before our eyes. 

Our next stop is the ancient city of Beth Shemesh. After the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, it returned to Israel in the area of Beth Shemesh (1 Sam. 6). Across the Sorek Valley from Beth Shemesh sits Zorah, the hometown of Samson (Judges 13).


Our final stop of the day is at Nebi Samwil. Incorrectly identified as the tomb of the prophet Samuel, from this hill we will see the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem. We will also look over the tribal territory of Benjamin, where two-thirds of the Old Testament took place. Our vantage point offers a view of the modern Arab village of el-Jib, biblical Gibeon (Josh. 10). While defending Gibeon against five Amorite kings, Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still.


Dinner and overnight at our hotel along the Mediterranean coast.   


Kingdoms and Cultures in Conflict

Our morning begins at the port city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great (Matt. 2). This was the second largest harbor in the Roman Empire during the first century. At Caesarea, Peter visited the gentile centurion Cornelius (Acts 10), and he and his household became the first gentile followers of Jesus. The Apostle Paul remained under house arrest in Caesarea for two and a half years. Here he stood before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa II (Acts 23-25). From the harbor of Caesarea, Paul sailed to Rome leaving Israel for the last time.


While at the site, we will visit the ancient theater with its magnificent view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.We will see Herod the Great's palace that served as the residence of the Roman officials in the land, like Pontius Pilate. We will remember Pilate's governorship of Judaea by looking at a replica of a stone inscription mentioning Pilate dedicating a temple to the Roman emperor Tiberius. Our visit takes us through the ancient stadium and harbor and ends looking at the ancient aqueduct of Caesarea that supplied the city with its water. 


After departing Caesarea, we travel to Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba'al (1 Kings 18).


Our day concludes at the portion of the major international highway that connected Egypt with Damascus and Mesopotamia. Here, King Josiah of Judah died in battle in 609 BC. In addition to touring the site with its archaeological ruins and impressive water system, we will overlook the Jezreel Valley. 


Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee.


The Galilee of Jesus

Our morning begins with a visit to one of the most exciting and important ongoing archaeological excavations in Israel, Magdala. Here we will visit one of the few, excavated, first century synagogues in the land of Israel. Its date coincides with the time of Jesus' ministry in the area. We will also see wealthy homes from the village, as well as the first century harbor. 

From Magdala, we travel into the Galilee, visiting what was the capital when Jesus was growing up, Sephhoris. Here we will see one of the cities of Jesus' Galilee with its theater, mosaics, and paved streets. We travel from Sephhoris to Yodefat, the ancient village fortified by the Jewish historian Josephus and destroyed by the Roman armies of Vespasian. Here, Josephus was captured. This first century site enables us to see Galilean life in the first century. 

Our day concludes at the boyhood home of Jesus, Nazareth. We visit the Church of the Annunciation, built over the traditional place where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that shewould be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-37). The church is built on top of the ancient village of Nazareth, and we will visit a small museum that shows some of the finds and homes from the village. 

We will end our visit in Nazareth with an overlook of the Jezreel Valley from Mount Precipice. From this vantage point, we will see the settings for a number of biblical stories.


Dinner and overnight at the hotel on the Sea of Galilee.


The Sea of Galilee

Today we travel into the Golan Heights and the upper Jordan Valley. Our day begins at the nature reserve of Dan. The ancient city of Dan, which formed the northern boundary of biblical Israel, sits on the Dan Spring, one of the three tributaries of the Jordan River. In addition to walking through the beautiful nature reserve, we will visit the ancient site of Dan, seeing its high place (1 Kings 12:29), Israelite gate, and the Middle Bronze Age gate from the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:14).


Next, we travel to Banias, ancient Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13, Mark 8:27). In the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"


From Banias, we drive up into the foothills of Mount Hermon (Ps. 133) and into the Golan Heights. At a high overlook on the Israel-Syrian border, we look into Syria towards Damascus. 


Dinner and overnight at the hotel on the Sea of Galilee.


 The Faith of Jesus

Our journey today focuses upon the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. Our morning begins with a Jeep tour through the Beitsaida Valley to see the recent excavations of el-Araj, which is the best location for the first century site of Beitsaida/Julias, home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. 

We next travel to Almagor, which overlooks the Beitsaida Valley where the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee, and where Jesus fed the 5,000 (Luke 9:10-17). Our journey takes us to Chorazin, one of the three cities cursed by Jesus (Matt. 11:21, Luke 10:13). At this site, we see the ancient homes and Jewish ritual immersion pools, as well as the magnificent basalt synagogue from the fifth century AD. Inside the synagogue is a replica of a Seat of Moses (Matt. 23:2). 

Our journey continues with a visit to the ancient town of Capernaum, where Jesus made his home around the lake (Matt. 4:13). Here, he healed the Centurion's servant (Matt. 8:5). In our visit, we will see the modern church built over an ancient church, which was built over a first century home, identified as the home of Peter. The magnificent limestone synagogue of the fourth century AD has been party reconstructed and looms over the site. 

From Capernaum, we travel to the small museum at Kibbutz Ginnosar that houses an ancient boat discovered in the 1980s in the Sea of Galilee. This boat dates to the first century and was a boat used by fishermen on the lake. 

Our day concludes with an evening boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. The ancient fishermen fished the lake at night. Riding on the waters of the lake in the evening offers a unique opportunity to connect with Jesus and his disciples on the lake.

Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.


Desert Refuge


Today we drive from the Sea of Galilee, the lowest freshwater lake in the world, through the Jordan River Valley to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. Our first stop is the desert palace-fortress built by Herod the Great, Masada. During the First Jewish Revolt (AD 66-73), Jewish revels lived on Masada until they were surrounded by the Tenth Roman Legion. According to the first Jewish historian Josephus, the rebels chose to commit suicide instead of slavery and death at the hands of the Romans. 

While visiting the site, we will see the palaces of Herod the Great, his bath houses and storerooms. We will also see buildings converted by the Jewish revels for their use, like the synagogue. Evidence of the Roman siege can be seen in the siege ramp and Roman camps that surround Masada. 

We travel next to En Fescha where the words of Isaiah 35 come alive right before our eyes as we see streams flowing in the desert. From En Fescha, we visit the site of Qumran. In caves around the site, the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Qumran was the settlement of the community that produced many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After visiting Qumran, participants have the unique experience of floating in the Dead Sea.


Our day ends with an overlook of the Wadi Qilt, the ancient road between Jerusalem and Jericho. This was the setting for Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). On Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem, he used this road as he came from Jericho to Jerusalem (Luke 19:1-11). 


Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.


Jerusalem and Bethlehem


Our morning in Jerusalem begins with a visit to the Israel Museum. Here we will see a scale-model of Jerusalem on the eve of its destruction in AD 70. We will visit the Shrine of the Book, which houses some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including some of the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible. Our tour of the museum concludes with a walk through the archaeological wing to visit the two galleries dedicated to Israel in the First and Second Temple periods. We will see original artifacts found in sites we visited, as well as other artifacts that make the Bible come alive.

We travel out of Jerusalem to Herodium, the palace fortress built by Herod the Great, which he named after himself. Here Herod was buried. 

From Herodium, we travel to the hometown, Bethlehem. In Bethlehem, we remember the birth of Jesus and visit the Church of Nativity, the oldest church in the Holy Land, built over the traditional site of Jesus' birth.


Dinner and overnight at the Jerusalem hotel.


Mountain of the The Lord


We begin our morning visiting the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, the city David conquered and made his capital, with archaeologist and guide Eli Shukron. We will explore the walls, buildings, and water systems of biblical Jerusalem. Visiting the Pool of Siloam, we will make our way up to the southwestern portion of the Temple Mount touring the southern wall excavations. 


We continue on to the Western Wall and have a private tour of the Western Wall Tunnels with the chief archaeologist in charge of the excavation. 


Free time in the Jewish Quarter. 

Dinner and overnight at the Jerusalem hotel.


Jesus' Jerusalem

Our morning begins with a beautiful view of the city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. We walk down the mountain following the modern path used by pilgrims on Palm Sunday visiting the church of Dominus Flevit, which remembers Jesus' weeping over the city as he rode into it, and the traditional location of the Garden of Gathsemane. 

We cross the Kidron Valley into the Old City and visit St. Anne's Church built over top of the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) where Jesus healed the lame man. We will take the opportunity to sing in the beautiful Crusader church on the site. 

Our journey continues at Jaffa Gate where in the first century, Herod's palace stood. Here the story of Jesus begins (Matt. 2) with the visit of the wisemen to Herod, and here his story ended because at Herod's palace, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:16).


From Jaffa Gate, we walk into the Jewish Quarter and visit the Herodian Quarter, a series of priestly homes from the first century. We then walk along the Byzantine Cardo and see the walls of Jerusalem from the eighth century BC and the first century BC. Passing the Gennath Gate, we follow the historic route Jesus traveled from Pilate to his place of execution at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Our day ends along the southern wall of the Temple Mount. On the first century street, we see the shops and markets around the Temple, a possible location for the money changers (Luke 19:45-48). We then proceed to the southern entrances of the Temple, where we walk the steps ancient pilgrims took to ascend to the Temple. 

After a farewell dinner at Satya, we depart Jerusalem for Ben Gurion Airport where you will return to your home country refreshed, challenged, and renewed in your faith.


Arrive U.S.A.

***Please note Visits, excursions, mentioned in the program are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances

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