Jezreel Valley Regional Project

The Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP) is a long-term, multi-disciplinary survey and excavation project investigating the history of human activity in the Jezreel Valley from the Paleolithic through the Ottoman period. This project strives for a total history of the region using the tools and theoretical approaches of such disciplines as archaeology, anthropology, geography, history, ethnography, and the natural sciences, within an organizational framework provided by landscape archaeology.

The JVRP is Directed by the Albright’s Dorot Director Matthew J. Adams, with Assistant Directors Jonathan David (Gettysburg College), Margaret E. Cohen (Lycoming College), and Robert S. Homsher (Harvard University).

JVRP Excavations at the Early Bronze Age Town at Tel Megiddo East

Excavations by the Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition from 1992 to 2010 discovered the monumental Great Temple of the Early Bronze Age I. The massive 1100 sq. m. broad-room-style temple has proven to me the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the EB I Levant and ranks among the largest structures of its time in the Near East. The magnificent temple is now well-known but the larger urban landscape, the home of its builders, has never been explored. Since 2010, the JVRP has been excavating the site of Tel Megiddo East in an effort to elucidate the society responsible for the construction of the Great Temple.

The dual-site of Early Bronze Age I Megiddo. Tel Megiddo on the west, with estimated EB I size in white dashed lines, and Tel Megiddo East, with estimated boundaries in black dash. The blue line represents the wadi cut by run-off from the local water source at ‘Ain el-Qubbi, and the blue dashed line is a reconstruction of the location of the EB I marsh identified in JVPR excavations.

Aerial Orthophoto of Jezreel Valley, Israel. Israel: Ofek Aerial Photography Ltd., January-February 2011.


JVRP Excavations at Legio, Castra of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion

Historical sources indicate that the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion was deployed to Palestine in the 2nd Century BCE apparently in an effort to reinforce the Xth Fratensis Legion against increasing local resistance. These sources place the location of the castra of the VIth in the vicinity of Caparcotna (near Megiddo), but are vague about its precise location. Since 2010, the JVRP has conducted archaeological and remote sensing surveys of the area, followed (in 2013) by trial excavations. As a result, the castra was located on a low hill just south of Tel Megiddo.

The excavation of a Roman military headquarters with clear ties to major political and cultural events in the formative years of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity is exciting in itself, but Legio also provides an incredible new window into the Roman military occupation of the eastern provinces. No military headquarters of this type for this particular period had yet been excavated in the entire Eastern Empire. Additionally, it proves to be the closest parallel to the inaccessible camp of Legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem. Not only will continued excavations at Legio illuminate this important camp in its own right, but its revelations may also be used as a proxy for the study of the Roman military’s occupation of the ancient Jewish capital.

The JVRP Legio Excavations are Directed by Matthew J. Adams, Yotam Tepper, and Jonathan David.


A Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) scan (center) brings out the details of a tile marked with the legion’s insignia (right; traditional hand drawing at left).


Fragments of scale armor uncovered at Legio.











Future Projects

[coming soon]


JVRP Publications

A. Prins, M.J. Adams, M. Ashley, R.S. Homsher. 2014. “Digital Archaeological Fieldwork and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, Israel.” Near Eastern Archaeology 77.3: 196-201.

M.J. Adams, J. David, R. Homsher, M.E. Cohen. 2014. “New Evidence for the Rise of a Complex Society in the Late Fourth Millennium at Tel Megiddo East in the Jezreel Valley.” Near Eastern Archaeology 77.1: 32-43.

J. Pincus, T. DeSmet, Y. Tepper, and M.J. Adams. 2013. “Ground Penetrating Radar and Electromagnetic Archaeogeophysical Investigations at the Roman Legionary Camp at Legio, Israel.” Archaeological Prospection 20.3: 1-13. DOI: 10.1002/arp.1455.

M.J. Adams, J. David, R. Homsher, M.E. Cohen, “Temples and Temple-Builders at Early Bronze Age Megiddo,” ASOR Blog (19 May 2014) [abridged from, “New Evidence for the Rise of a Complex Society in the Late Fourth Millennium at Tel Megiddo East in the Jezreel Valley,” Near Eastern Archaeology 77:1 (2014) 32-43].

M.J. Adams, J. David, and Y. Tepper. 2013. “Excavations at the Camp of the Roman Sixth Ferrata Legion in Israel,” Biblical Archaeology Society, Bible History Daily website. 17 October 2013.