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HU Excavations at Tel Qedesh, Upper Galilee, Israel

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Project log

Uri Davidovich
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The Early Bronze Age (ca. 3700–2500 b.c.) was an era of wide-ranging changes in the Southern and Central Levant, commonly interpreted in the context of the advent of urban structures in this region. Key elements in regional narratives of urbanization are large fortified sites viewed as regional centers, whose local history is often perceived as a paradigmatic expression of the entire process. Here we present the first stage of research at the site of Qedesh in the Galilee (Israel), that emerged as a large Levantine hub at the turn of the 4th millennium b.c. The study is based on systematic high-resolution surface survey followed by density analysis, probing, and small-scale excavations. Our research suggests that Qedesh was a hitherto unknown key player in the interregional trajectory of social complexification by virtue of its size (min. 50 ha), composite inner structure, and ecotonal location that enhanced connectivity within an economic network associated with the production and distribution of South Levantine Metallic Ware.
Roi Sabar
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2019 season at Tel Qedesh (July 14 - August 8), Registration is now open!!
You may also like to check out our new website: https://sites.google.com/view/huqedesh/home
 
Roi Sabar
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Eastern Upper Galilee in the Roman period evidently housed two ethnic groups in an often hostile relationship (cf. Jos., BJ 3.35-40): in the north, a pagan population belonging to the chora of Tyre, which would have included Qedesh, and in the south a Jewish population. The two ethnic-based territories, which exhibit clear differences in their material culture, were separated by the deep ravine of Naḥal Dishon (wadi Hindaj). Other than urban temples, pagan temples, usually dated to the 2nd and 3rd c. A.D., are limited to the area north of Naḥal Dishon, while synagogues, which continued to be erected into the late-antique period, lie to its south. Qedesh lies 35 km southeast of the large metropolis of Tyre (fig. 1) across a rough mountainous area which made communication somewhat difficult.
Uri Davidovich
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Join us for the second excavation season at Qedesh, 1-12 October 2017.
Tel Qedesh is the largest archaeological mound in the Upper Galilee, located some 15 km north of modern Safad, close to the Lebanese border. The site is set aside a fertile plain, and comprises several components totaling 60 hectares in size, including upper, lower and eastern mounds. Qedesh was studied and excavated several times in the past, however several key questions in the history of the site and its regional role remain unanswered, especially with regard to two of its main periods of occupation – The Early Bronze Age and the Roman period. As established in a recent survey, the Early Bronze Age was the heyday of Qedesh, when it was probably the largest site in the Southern Levant, and seems to have played an important and unique role in the transition to urbanism in northern Canaan. During the Roman period, Cydasa was an important Pagan town in the district of Tyre, bordering the Jewish Galilee as described vividly by Josephus. Although this village is yet to be found, several impressive Roman monuments were previsouly investigated in the eastern mound of Qedesh.
The Early Bronze Age (EBA)
This part of the project is designed to address several key themes related to the earliest urbanization cycle in the Levant. These include the role of demographic agglomeration in initiating and/or consolidating the urbanization process and the emergence of regional polities; the architectural, material and social fabric of the first towns; and the interaction of major urban centers with the cultural landscapes in which they evolved. Using information gathered from landscape survey to detailed excavations and analysis of material remains and bio-markers, the research examines both the preconditions for early urbanism, as well as its social, economic and environmental consequences. Our excavations focus on a newly-discovered, 35-hectare segment of the EBA site located west of the main mound, which was not covered by later occupations.
The Roman period
Qedesh is renowned mostly for its impressive and well preserved Roman period remains, located on the eastern mound. These remains, including the best-preserved Roman temple wall in Israel and two large Mausolea accompanied by several ornamented sarcophagi, are most probably part of the town’s necropolis, while open questions remain with regard to the location, size, and architectural matrix of the Roman settlement, thus far known only from Josephus writings. Our project aims to expose another Roman monumental building in its architectural context in a location where excavations have yet to take place – the upper mound of Qedesh, which was probably the heart of the Roman-period town.
for more details on the excavation, see:
 
Uri Davidovich
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