Third-year Bachelor of Arts student David Adamthwaite traded rest and relaxation for the heat and humidity of Israel during the 2009 mid-year break to experience first-hand the treasures of the ancient city of Tel Kabri.
Mr Adamthwaite and students from around the world with a keen interest in archaeology joined Dig Kabri 2009 - a continuing excavation of what may be the site of the earliest known Western art found in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mr Adamthwaite said the opportunity to be part of an archaeological dig in a place with such history was invaluable.
"In Australia, there are limited opportunities to do hands-on field research, and nothing with the history of a place like Tel Kabri," Mr Adamthwaite said.
"The dig gave me an experience that is better than anything I could read or see in a book or on the internet."
Tel Kabri is in the western Galilee region of modern Israel. Excavations conducted from 1986-1993 revealed the remains of a palace dating to the Middle Bronze period (ca. 2000-1550 BCE) and featuring an Aegean-style floor and wall paintings.
Kabri is one of only four sites in the Eastern Mediterranean to have such Bronze Age paintings.
Students travel from all over the world to take part in six weeks of excavation each year during the Israeli summer, coordinated by world-leading archaeologists from Haifa University, Israel, and George Washington University, USA.
"The dig was a great opportunity to work alongside people with similar interests in archaeology and to be mentored by leading experts like Eric Cline from George Washington University," Mr Adamthwaite said.
"I recommend the experience to anyone interested in ancient history, classics or archaeology. I hope to return in 2010 and perhaps look at completing my Honours degree based on this site or similar."
Anyone interested in further information on the Tel Kabri project can go to http://digkabri.wordpress.com/