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Join the project

Would you like to participate in this fascinating archaeological project in Syria? You can. Dozens of people preceded you, students as well as specialists in various fields. However, before you send in your application, you should read the following text very carefully as it gives the rules and requirements which apply for every participant.

Important: the excavations usually take place each year for 2,5 months from May 1 till early July.


Requirements for participation:

  • Most importantly: you must have a good knowledge of the English language. All field documentation is written in English. Most personal communication within our international team is in English.
  • No less importantly: you must have had a basic archaeological training (although not necessarily in the Near East). We work according to high professional standards. In the field, there is little opportunity to teach the basic principles of archaeological excavation. Evidently, you will receive daily supervision and help.
  • Unfortunately, in view of our restricted budget, you will have to take care yourself of your travel expenses as well as costs of visa, vaccination, and personal equipment. Once at the site, the expedition takes care of all further expenses (food, lodging). Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your work.
  • Members of the team must take care themselves of organising travel arrangements and visa. Team members must also take care themselves of the necessary vaccinations. Information on what is needed in this respect is available with the project director, Peter Akkermans. Team members should inform the project director before the start of the fieldwork of any medical problem or dietary restrictions. Please note that stomach problems are common in this part of the world, and it is useful to bring some medication.
  • Our conditions of living in Syria, though comfortable, are basic. Work often has to proceed under difficult circumstances. At the same time, the demands and expectations concerning every team member in terms of labour input, personal involvement, co-operation, teamwork, etc. are very high.
  • The site is situated in a remote and rural part of Syria. The nearest city (Raqqa) is at a distance of ca. 80 km, and possibilities for communications with the outside world are restricted.
  • The climate is very hot (40-45 °C in the shadow in June) and dusty. At night, however, temperatures drop sharply, and at the beginning of the season in May some rain can be expected. The presence of irrigated fields close to the village brings mosquitoes in large numbers.
  • We live in rather simple circumstances in a traditional mud-brick compound in the village of Hammam et-Turkman. The team usually consists of about 20 persons. All of us live and work within the small compound. Each team member shares his or her small room with various other people. Do not expect too much privacy. At night, most people take their mattresses outside and sleep on benches along the wall, on beds on the courtyard, or wherever there is space.
  • The location of our house, in the midst of a traditional Arabic village, requires certain standards of conduct from each team member. Local customs should, of course, be respected.
  • Daily meals are good, and our professional cooks usually perform small miracles. However, food is simple and based on what we can buy locally. Vegetarians should inform the project director before the start of the fieldwork. Fresh drinking water is brought in every day from a deep well in a near-by village.
  • We work for 6 days a week (Friday free) from 5.00 hours in the morning till 13.00 hours at the site; subsequently, everybody has to take care of his/her daily administration, drawings, find administration, etc., which usually takes till late in the evening. Each supervisor is responsible for (at least) one 10x10 m square and has to take care of about 5 local workmen. The workmen only speak Arabic, and a basic knowledge of the Arabic language is welcome. Experience shows that within 1-2 weeks everybody appears to be able to communicate in one way or another. The Friday is generally used for joint trips to other sites, etc. (everybody is free to do so, according to his/her own wishes).

Useful tips and other information can also be found in the Survival Guide for Archaeological Projects (University College London).

See also our Facebook page: Tell Sabi Abyad Project - Syria !!

Did you read all requirements? And do you meet these requirements? Send us an email: