Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

*Dig Jordan: Archaeology, Religion and Culture

Amman, Jordan ; Aqaba, Jordan

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty Program Director CostsDatesApplication

Note: The information provided here is from a past program. We anticipate offering this program again in summer 2015; however, specific details have not been finalized and may change.


The MU International Center and Department of Religious Studies offer this summer study abroad program in Aqaba, Jordan. MU professor Carrie Duncan will lead this three-credit program that is open to all MU and non-MU graduate and undergraduate students.

As part of the upcoming field season at 'Ayn Gharandal, students will encounter the complex cultural milieu of the modern Middle East. By visiting religious and cultural sites, learning how to live day-to-day in the country and forming relationships with local inhabitants, students will broaden their cultural horizons. The main goals of these cultural interactions include facilitating positive experiences between Jordanians and Americans, returning to American communities with new and accurate perspectives of Middle Eastern religion and culture, and cultivating an informed sense of membership in a global community.

Students will also learn about the various historical periods represented in Jordan's antiquities, including Christian, Jewish and Muslims sites, along with periods of history from the Neolithic to Early Islamic. By visiting a number of archaeological sites throughout the geographic and geological regions of Jordan, students will gain an appreciation for the way human settlements are affected by varying environmental conditions and a general overview of historical events and religious cultures.

The main component of the coursework in Jordan will be archaeological inquiry. Students will investigate Jordan's past, learning more about the site, in particular, and gaining knowledge of archaeological procedure that can be applied to the study of any site excavated in Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iran or Iraq. By actively participating in all facets of excavation procedure and attending lectures, students will encounter the complex history of archaeological research in the Middle East, the ins and outs of archaeological method and the often-sordid intertwining of archaeology and politics in this region of the world.

Scholarships are available for this program! See our Scholarships - Jordan document for more information.



All students who join the program will be enrolled in one MU course for a total of three credits.

Religious studies 4001/7001: Archaeology, Religions and Cultures of Jordan (3) focuses on students' experiences with foreign culture and archaeological technique. Students are also expected to assess these experiences critically and demonstrate their ability to analyze and express their experiences accurately.

To that end, students will be required to generate a number of small writing assignments based on course reading, which will help them to understand Jordan and the archaeology therein. They will also be expected to keep a daily photo blog with written descriptions that interpret their experiences for others who have not traveled to Jordan. Together with other students in their square, students will be required to present a summary of the findings in that area at then end of the season. Finally, students will need to complete a final project planned in conjunction with the faculty prior to departing the United States. This project may focus on any aspect of the trip to Jordan, ancient or modern, that is of particular interest to the student.

Academic credit

All students will be enrolled in actual MU courses. All students are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into students' MU GPAs and appear on students' MU transcripts when grades are recorded by the Faculty Program Director. Students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to students' home universities. Students must work with their home universities to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue ONE transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on the student's Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Host program

The MU International Center and Department of Religious Studies offer this summer study abroad program in conjunction with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Accommodations and meals

Students will stay in a local, family-run hotel in shared rooms with private baths in downtown Aqaba. All breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be provided.

Host city and surrounding areas

Ever wanted to swim in the Red Sea? Look no further than Aqaba, Jordan. Considered one of the best cities in the region for snorkeling, swimming and water activities, Aqaba is a water lover's delight. The city is currently undergoing a massive expansion, including the Ayla Oasis project that will add 19 km to Aqaba's coast. Warm winters welcome all to enjoy the exotic sea life and abundant culture year-round, while cool sea breezes keep the city tolerable during the scorching summer months. Aqaba is a truly international city — it is a favorite vacation destination for Jordanians, Saudis, Hungarians and other travelers seeking rest along their travels to and from Israel, the Palestine territories and Egypt. For those seeking adventure on dry land, Aqaba abounds with museums, shopping and friendly locals. Having served as a major economic hub along trade routes from Africa, Asia and Europe for the last 5,500 years, Aqaba is sure to have something for everyone.


Students will travel with the group but they will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during their time abroad. Travel might include visits to:

  • Jerash
  • Ajlun
  • Ancient Amman
  • Madaba
  • Dead Sea
  • Aila
  • Kerak
  • Lejjun
  • Wadi Rum
  • Petra
  • Humayma
  • Qasr Amra

Tentative itinerary

  • May 29: Arrive in Amman
  • May 30: Tour Philadelphia/Modern Amman site, Amman Museum, King Abdullah Mosque
  • May 31: Jerash
  • June 1: Visit Baptism site and Dead Sea; Madaba; travel to Aqaba
  • June 2-6: Fieldwork, evening lecture
  • June 7: Tour Kerak Castle; Lejjun
  • June 8: Free day
  • June 9-13: Fieldwork, evening lecture
  • June 14: Desert tour in Wadi Rum; camp overnight
  • June 15: Desert tour in Wadi Rum; free afternoon
  • June 16-20: Fieldwork, evening lecture
  • June 21: Tour Humayma; free afternoon
  • June 22: Tour Roman Aqaba, Aqaba Museum; free afternoon
  • June 23-27: Fieldwork, evening lecture
  • June 28: Morning fieldwork; Wadi Mousa
  • June 29: Wadi Mousa and Petra
  • June 30: Amman; free afternoon
  • July 1: Qasr Amra
  • July 2: Program ends

Faculty program director

University of Missouri faculty member Carrie Duncan, Department of Religious Studies, will accompany the students to Jordan.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

Carrie Duncan

Carrie Duncan

Carrie Duncan is a senior field staff person on several excavations in Jordan and has been digging since 1998 in Israel, Italy and Greece. This will be her third field season with the Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project and her sixth field season in Jordan. Dr. Duncan specializes in the material culture of ancient Mediterranean religions and is particularly interested in the religious interactions of Romans, Christians, Jews and Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity.


Program Budget

Additional Expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial Aid Information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarship towards the program costs.

Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline Decision Date Program Start Program End

We anticipate this program will be offered again in Summer 2015.


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you apply for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the MU International Center study abroad adviser for your program or country of interest.
  2. If you are an MU Student, start an application in using the button below. Non-MU students should visit our page for Non-MU participants for more information about the application process. Please note:
    • Once you have started an application, you can login again using the myStudyAbroad button above.
    • By starting an application you will incur a $50 application fee, even if you do not complete your application.
  3. Complete your application. There will be several documents that need to be completed for the application. While specific requirements vary by program, a typical application consists of the following:
    • Material submissions - Printable forms which require the physical submission of materials.
    • Signature Documents - Items you may digitally sign (if you are over 18 years of age) to indicate your agreement and understanding.
    • Recommendation Forms - Recommendations may be submitted electronically by MU faculty and staff.
    • Application Questionnaires - Items that you complete and submit electronically online.
      • Application Certification/FERPA waiver
      • Essay
      • International Center Scholarship Application
      • Recommendation FERPA waiver

This program is not currently accepting applications.

Facebook Twitter Email