Dr. Shimon Gibson




Dr. James D. Tabor

Dr. James D. Tabor is co-director of the Mt Zion Excavation. He is professor of Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism in the Dept. of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he has taught since 1989, having previously held positions at Notre Dame and William and Mary. In the March 2000 he teamed up with Dr. Shimon Gibson and a pioneering group of UNC Charlotte students to excavate the Suba “John the Baptist” Cave near Ein Kerem (2000-2005). Gibson and Tabor also discovered and published the “Tomb of the Shroud” that contains the remains of the only 1st century Jewish burial shroud ever found. Since 2007 they have been co-directors of the Mt Zion Excavation with UNC Charlotte as the academic sponsor. Tabor’s research focus is on the dynamics of Jewish and early Christian apocalypticism.

Dr. Rafi Lewis




Area Supervisors

Mareike Grosser- Upper Area Supervisor

Rebekah Welton- Lower Area Supervisor

Rebekah is the Area Supervisor for the Lower Area of the dig site. She is in her third year of a PhD in food and alcohol in the Hebrew Bible at the University of Exeter in the UK. In September 2017 she will be in the US at Brown University for a short visiting research fellowship and SBL in Boston. This is her fifth year digging at Mount Zion and is quite thrilled to be back!

Quinn Whittington- Upper Area Supervisor

Quinn Whittington lives in Charlotte, North Carolina in the area around University of North Carolina Charlotte. When she is not part of the Mt. Zion Dig, Quinn studies history and anthropology at UNCC and will be going into the Graduate program in Public History starting in the Fall 2017 semester. She is taking part in Dig Mt. Zion because of her interest in history and anthropology and because she believes the program is a culturally enriching experience.

Lynette Matthews- Lower Area Assistant Supervisor




Melanie Smad- Upper Area Assistant Supervisor

Melanie Samad lives in Teaneck, NJ. She graduated from Rutgers University, New Brunswick this past May with a double major in General Anthropology and Religion and a minor in Jewish Studies.  She is currently in her fourth season in the field and her third consecutive season at Mt. Zion.  In 2014, Melanie participated in an archaeological field school through Rutgers University in Vacone, Italy excavating the site of an ancient Roman villa.  

William Stumpff- Lower Area Assistant Supervisor

Will Stumpff is an undergraduate student of Shimon Gibson at UNCC. He plans on becoming an American archaeologist or working in a museum as his future career.



Surveying and Recording

Dr. Steve Patterson- Precision Imaging/Engineering




Jonathan Hutchings- Surveyor




Yishai Elder- Site Draughtsman

Yishai L. S. (Scott) Elder, staff architectural draftsman.  Born and raised in Seattle, has been living in Jerusalem since 1969.  Was the surveyor and draftsman on the original 1971-73 Beit Caiphas / Mt Zion digs.


Dr. Miguel Pando- Geotechnical Consultant

UNC Charlotte and Participant Coordinators

Dr. Robert McEachnie- UNC Charlotte Study Abroad Director

Dr. Robert McEachnie has been Lecturer of the Ancient World in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte since 2013. He teaches classes on Late Antiquity, the Roman Republic and Empire, Christianity, and early Islam. His current research focuses on late antique transformations of culture along religious lines. Using material and textual evidence, the works explore the creation of early medieval mental worlds.  His new book, Chromatius of Aquileia and the Making of a Christian City, comes out this July.

Chelsea L. Carskaddon- UNC Charlotte Study Abroad Assistant Director, Website and Social Media Coordinator

Chelsea has been a part of Dig Mount Zion since the summer of 2016. She holds her Master’s degree in Religious Studies from UNC Charlotte where she focused on Religious Violence–more specifically Religious Othering. Chelsea loves being able to participate with Dig Mount Zion and loves being able to experience the Old City first hand.

Suzanne Johnson- Group Participant Coordinator and Logistics




Site Recording & Logistics

Mahmud Abu Taha- Foreman

Mordechai Abraham- Site Logistics

Aleah Cornett- Lower Area Recorder




Virginia Withers- Upper Area Recorder

Rachel Ward- Site and Studio Photography




Museum Staff

Betty Napier- Museum Operations Coordinator

Gretchen Cotter- Finds Sorting

Gretchen is a California native who was born in Hollywood, lived in San Francisco, and recently moved to a Palm Springs.  Prior to her retirement ten years ago, Gretchen worked for a large western bank as a Capacity Planner/Performance Analyst on mainframe computer systems.  There is no truth to the rumor that she started her career mucking out the horse stables.  Her favorite hobbies are reading, traveling to unusual places, and volunteering on archaeological digs in Israel.  She lives alone with her companion parrot, Snip.  They have been together for 27 years.

Amy Wenn- Pottery Washing

For the past four years, Amy has participated in the Mt Zion Dig in many field areas. Her joy is pottery washing, although by profession, she is an RN-BSN. To her, discovering the ancient way is truly an honor and delight!

Christy Grobmeier- Pottery Sorting Recorder


Sheila Bishop- President, The Foundation of Biblical Archaeology

External Experts

Dr. Anna de Vincenz- Contract Coordinator for Publications

Dr. Orna Cohen- Conservation

Dr. David Jacobson- Numismatist

Dr. Eric Lapp- Lychnologist

Dr. Ram Bouchnik (and team)- Archaeo-zoologist

Julia Rudman- Ceramic Draftsperson