Tel Bet Yerah Research and Excavations Project Introduction

Tel Bet Yerah - First City of the Jordan Valley
Tel Bet Yerah in Google-Earth

Tel Bet Yerah - General View
   Tel Bet Yerah (Khirbet el-Kerak) is the site of a large fortified Early Bronze Age town (25 ha present size, approx. 30 ha [=80 acres] original size) situated at the point where the Jordan River exits Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Described by Albright as "perhaps the most remarkable Bronze Age site in all Palestine", the site was occupied throughout the Early Bronze Age (3500–2300 BCE), and presents the most complete sequence of the
transition from village to city life in ancient Canaan. Built on a raised peninsula near an important crossroads and a Location of Tel Bet Yerah
fertile valley, Tel Bet Yerah became a major regional centre, and its fortification systems, city gate, streets and houses reveal elements of advanced urban planning. The monumental Circles Building––the granary of Bet Yerah––is unique in the ancient world. Khirbet Kerak
Ware––a remarkable type of bichrome pottery––was first defined here and carries the name of the site.
   After the decline of the Early Bronze Age town, limited parts of the site were occupied in the Middle Bronze Age and in the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods.
   Although the name of the Early Bronze city is unknown, the name "Bet Yerah", first mentioned in the Talmud, could preserve an ancient tradition connecting the Canaanite site to a moon deity. In the Hellenistic period the city was called Philoteria, and somewhat later the name Zinbari (Arabic al-Sinnabra) was associated with the site. In recent generations the mound was known as "The Kerak", a name preserving the memory of the fortified town that once existed there, its ruins still visible. "The Kerak" figures prominently in the folklore of early Zionist communal settlement in Palestine, evoking memories of its natural beauty and inspiring scenery.
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Tel Bet Yerah Research and Excavations Project