Sha’ar Hagolan is a major stratified site dated to the seventh-millennium B.C.E., located in the Jordan Valley. It extends over 20 hectares, making it one of the largest Neolithic villages in the Near East. Between 1989 and 2004, Yosef Garfinkel (Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) carried out a 3000-square-meter excavation aiming to explore the last occupation phases of the village (6200-5900 B.C.E.). This large-scale excavation revealed the existence of real living quarters separated by streets, upsetting our knowledge regarding the social organization of the Yarmukian communities at the end of the seventh-millennium B.C.E. It provided an impressive amount of Neolithic artifacts including 1,000,000 lithic pieces, 90,000 potsherds, 50,000 animal bones, and more than 100 clay figurines, shedding new light on the economic and symbolic worlds of the society.
The current excavation project concerns the early occupation phases of the Neolithic village (6700-6200 B.C.E.). The main objective is to identify the origin of the first potters’ groups who lived in the Jordan Valley. In other words, were they indigenous communities integrating the practice of pottery or migrant communities that introduced this new technology? In the first case, from which Mesopotamian potters’ populations did they acquire this new know-how? In the second case, which Mesopotamian potter populations are involved? To answer these anthropological questions, a meticulous excavation of the PPN-PN transition layers following the principles elaborated by the famous French prehistorians André Leroi-Gourhan and Jean Perrot will be undertaken. It will consist of carefully clearing out the various Neolithic occupation floors by following the slope of the archaeological layers identified based on sedimentary differences and/or concentrations of prehistoric artifacts.
The NEOLITHIC OF THE HOLY LAND Field School project will start in 2022. The first season will aim to expose the latest occupation layers of the Pottery Neolithic period at Sha’ar Hagolan (Late Yarmukian) which are characterized by stone-wall terraced houses according to Yosef Garfinkel’s previous excavation.
Lower Galilee, Northern Israel
June 6 - June 27, 2022
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
9 ECTS credits are offered by the New Bulgarian University. €450 for EU students or €675 for international students.
Julien Vieugué: The French National Centre for Scientific Research
Anna Eirikh-Rose: The Israel Antiquities Authority
Kamen Boyadzhiev: The National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science