Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nava Panitz-Cohen: Excavating Abel Beth Maacah

One of the directors of the Abel Beth Maacah excavation writes about the site and previous results on the eve of the second season. From the Jerusalem Post:

The site commands the narrow passageway from the Lebanese Beq’a to the north towards the Huleh Valley to the south, as well as the road to the east towards Damascus – via nearby Tel Dan – and Mesopotamia. This strategic border location has determined much of its occupation history until modern times.

Curiously, despite its biblical and topographic prominence, the site has never been excavated before. Perhaps this is because of its border location, where Lebanese farmers, U.N. personnel and local kibbutzniks are all in pretty close eye contact. Short surveys were conducted and plans were made; Yigael Yadin was going to dig there, but turned his sights to nearby Hazor; but excavations never materialized.

In 2012, a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – in partnership with Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles (who provided the critical funding and support for the project) and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York – took up the initiative. A preliminary survey took place in 2012, and a full-blown month-long season was conducted in 2013. The second season is set to begin in July and will also last a month.

The full story includes biblical connections and discoveries made last year.

Joseph Lauer has sent along a series of related links from the last few months:

The Book and the Spade episodes:

Mount Hermon and Abel Beth Maacah from Misgav Am, adr08070895011

Huleh Valley, Abel Beth Maacah, and Mount Hermon
Photo by A.D. Riddle

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