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NB: the following text concerns the 2013 dig season, which has now been completed. Please contact us regarding the 2015 dig season…
Come dig with us at Tel Kabri this coming summer! When else will you have the opportunity to excavate in a Canaanite palace more than 3,500 years old, decorated with Minoan-style floor and wall paintings?
Located in a quiet rural setting within the western Galilee of Israel, only a ten minute ride from the historical town of Acco, with its Medieval and Ottoman old city, fishing harbor and traditional market, and the modern resort town of Nahariya, the site of Tel Kabri has what may be the earliest-known Western art yet found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Today the Tel and its surroundings are an agricultural land, with lush plantations of bananas and avocados overlying the ancient remains.
Kabri represents one of the only possible opportunities available today in the Eastern Mediterranean to test some of the anthropological theories about the rise of archaic states and the nature of various political economies in the Aegean and the Near East. The readily available palace and settlement, with minimal overburden and with rather limited previous excavations, enables the use of modern methods such as residue analysis, petrographic analysis, detailed zooarchaeological study, neutron activation analysis, stable isotope analysis, and petrography to gain insights into some of the most important topics relevant to the understanding of complex human societies.
During excavations conducted at the site from 1986-1993 by the late Professor Aharon Kempinski and Professor Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, a floor and wall frescoes painted in an Aegean manner—probably by Cycladic or Minoan artists—were discovered within a building that they identified as a palace.
Our preliminary excavations in 2005 indicated that the palace, which dates to the Middle Bronze (MB) IIB period during the early second millennium BCE, is at least twice as large as previously thought, with much still remaining to be excavated.
During the 2008 season of excavations we were able to retrieve data from the entire history of the MB palace, from a pre-palatial period through to final destruction. We also found approximately 45 more fragments of wall plaster, at least some of which appear to be painted, and additional evidence for red paint on one of the plaster floors in the palace.
Our 2009 season saw the continued excavation of the palace, with the goal of investigating its life cycle, from humble beginnings to its destruction three centuries later. We were successful in doing so, and in the process found approximately 100 additional pieces of wall and floor plaster, including 60 which were painted.
Our 2011 season was the most interesting so far, yielding more painted fresco fragments and a large building adjacent to the palace, perhaps a temple. In this building, the rooms were lined with carved orthostat blocks still in place.
We have a variety of objectives planned for the 2013 season, including finishing the excavation of the Orthostat Building, investigating the large area to the west of the palace (which may include a courtyard), and exploring the fortifications of the city. In order to achieve our goals we will necessarily do more than just excavation, including scientific studies onsite involving micro-morphology, zooarchaeology, residue analysis, and more.
We’ll be digging for six weeks, from June 23rd to August 1st, 2013. You are welcome to join us for either one of the three week sessions or for both. The cost to you will be $575 per week ($550 for returnees and consortium members), in return for which you’ll have air-conditioned rooms, good food, and a beautiful beach just steps away (airfare and course credits are extra, plus you’ll need additional money for traveling on the weekends).
For those who work for a living and who cannot make it for a full three weeks, or even a full week, we’re happy to work with you and/or your group to make special arrangements (if we have room), so please contact us.