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al-Sinnabra Overview

Amihai Mazar

Remains of the short-lived Hellenistic town on Tel Bet Yerah/Khirbet el-Kerak (32o43’ N 35o34’ E), identified as ancient Philoteria, and of the Early Islamic estate and palatial structure of al-Sinnabra were excavated by several different expeditions between 1933 and 1986. The Hellenistic remains consisted of a considerable number of spacious town-houses built on an orthogonal plan within the confines of the Early Bronze Age fortifications. The total extent of the settlement was about 700 meters from north to south, and 200 meters from east to west. Ceramic and other finds of the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE were abundant in this settlement, and some houses had remains of decorated wall plaster. The Early Islamic remains—only recently identified as such by D. Whitcomb of the Oriental Institute—consist of a series of large structures and a fortified enclosure and bath-house excavated in the northern quadrant of the mound. None of these remains has been published beyond a cursory preliminary description.

Earlier work supported by the White-Levy program culminated in the publication of the first volume of reports on the Early Bronze Age mound in 2006. A second volume, supported by Israel Science foundation grants, is nearing completion. The proposed effort will culminate in the publication of a third and final volume, literally closing the books on all early Israeli work on the mound.

The proposed research will build on our previous archival efforts, allowing us to concentrate on the actual processing of the material. A two-year project is envisioned, headed by the PI, and benefiting from the expertise of classical period consultant Dr Oren Tal and of PhD candidate Taufik Da’adle.