The great American archaeologist W.F. Albright once called Tel Bet Yerah on the Sea of Galilee “perhaps the most remarkable Bronze Age site in all Palestine.” Numerous excavations at the site over the past 70 years have proven Albright correct, revealing a major regional center of the Early Bronze Age (3500-2300 B.C.), unique in its interaction with regions both north and south of Israel.
During the Early Bronze Age, Bet Yerah, also known as Khirbet el-Kerak, grew from a small village into a thriving, fortified city with evidence of advanced urban planning and civic administration. The city’s importance as a regional center was likely the result of both its position at the entrance to the Jordan River and a massive seven-silo granary which held an estimated 500 tons of grain. It was also during this period that a distinctive red and black burnished pottery from the southern Caucasus and Anatolia was widely used at the site, offering clear evidence of the arrival of migrants from that region.
Lake Kinneret, Israel
Early Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Early Islamic
Dr. Raphael Greenberg is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University and has authored numerous publications on the Early Bronze Age in Palestine. He is codirector of the Tel Bet Yerah excavations.
Dr. Sarit Paz is a Buber Fellow in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a specialist in the archaeology of the Early Bronze Age Levant and focuses on issues of urbanism, immigration and diaspora. She is codirector of the Bet Yerah excavation.