Dig Mt. Zion Info

Mt. Zion dig-site as seen from above

Friends of Mount Zion

A University of North Carolina at Charlotte


UNC Charlotte Sign at the Mt. Zion Dig

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is the only American university that has a license to carry on an archaeological excavation in the ancient city of Jerusalem.

Our site is located on Mt Zion,  just adjacent to the historic Old City and overlooking the Mount of Olives. This area, sacred in both faith and history to Jews, Christians, and Muslims is rich with ancient remains from the past.

The project has been centered in the Department of Religious Studies since its inception in 2007 but has branched out drawing students, faculty, and donors from throughout the University and the community. The Mount Zion excavation is a centerpiece of “Charlotte Pride” in the region.


UNC Charlotte's Mt. Zion Dig site with the Universities sign
  • International Study Abroad experiences for our students with participation open to community citizens
  • Exploring the richness of a site in Jerusalem that has treasured archaeological remains from three great civilizations—Jewish, Christian, and Muslim
  • Supporting an interdisciplinary program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that draws together Religious Studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Global and International Studies with a focus on Jerusalem as the international center of our cultural history and the birthplace of the three great Abrahamic faiths.
  • Bringing the scientific research resulting from our exploration to the Charlotte region through lectures, community programs, and major cultural exhibits.

Our archaeological site is located in the heart of what was ancient Jerusalem, on the slopes of Mt Zion, southwest of the present Old City. In the time of Jesus it was in “Center City,” just overlooking the Temple Mount, yards from the yet to be discovered theater built by Herod the Great.  In the Roman-Byzantine period the main thoroughfare called the Cardo ran directly through our site and the magnificant remains of Justinian’s Nea Church are a stone-throw away. In the Muslim-Turkish period our site was ajacent to an important tower gate going back to the time of Suleiman the Magnificant and perhaps even Saladin. The Mt Zion site contains rich remains of all periods of habitation—Jewish, Roman, Byzantine Christian, Crusader, and Muslim which are being carefully preserved to represent a “journey through time” as silent witnesses to the rich and diverse history of the area.

Chancellor Philip Dubois and his wife, Lisa, sift for artifacts at Mt. Zion Dig

Contributions can be made on-line (https://giving.uncc.edu/) or by check and all gifts are promptly acknowledged and tax deductible:

UNC Charlotte Foundation: Friends of Mount Zion
College of Liberal Arts and Science
UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28223