Tel Shaddud is strategically located in the northern Jezreel Valley, on the only road that crossed the valley from south to north and led from Tel Megiddo to Tel Shaddud. It is identified with biblical Sarid, a town that is only mentioned in the context of pre- and early monarchic Israel. According to Joshua 19: 10–15, Sarid was a border town between the tribal allotment of Issachar and Zebulun. In addition, biblical Sarid is mentioned in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:13), most probably as the location of the decisive battle between the Israelites and the Canaanites from Megiddo and Taanach. Tel Shaddud is also identified as the Canaanite settlement śrt, recorded by Thutmose III.
Tel Shaddud was never excavated before, but archaeological explorations at the foot of the tel revealed a unique burial site, demonstrating continuity in burial practices from the LB II to the Iron IIA. This implies that the site was settled continuously from the time of Egyptian rule in Canaan utill the formation of early monarchic Israel. This is contrary to all other centers in the Jezreel Valley, which were destroyed during the turmoil of the 12th – 11th centuries BCE and their burial sites were abandoned. Moreover, an Egyptian-style anthropoid coffin was also found in the unique burial site of Tel Shaddud, implying that the site was related to Egyptian rule in Canaan during the Late Bronze Age. The unique and remarkable continuity and the possible relations to Egyptian rule brought them to explore this site.
The Tel Shaddud Excavation Project was formed by a collaboration between Tel Aviv University, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Ruhr University of Bochum, and Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena. It aims to explore the socio-cultural shifts from Canaanite urbanism and Egyptian imperial influence to early monarchic Israel. Following a survey season (2022) the first excavation season unearthed a series of Mamluk, Crusader, and Hellenistic structures overlaying at least two Iron Age strata, the earliest of which showed signs of a destruction event from the late Iron IIA.
In the coming season, they will focus on both the Iron Age buildings (fortress?) and apparent fortifications including a gateway. They will also further clarify the medieval strata and aim to explore Late Bronze Age structures linked to Egyptian elite rule. Enthusiasts and scholars can join this international excavation, engaging in fieldwork, lectures, and hands-on exploration of Tel Shaddud’s rich history.
Jezreel Valley, Northern Israel
July 7 – August 3, 2024
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Volunteers will stay in a school dormitory in the historic village of Nahalal. Prices are based on triple occupancy. All meals included. Grocery and restaurants nearby. Bed linens and towels are included and laundry is on-site. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Omer Sergi: Tel Aviv University
Karen Covello-Paran: Israel Antiquities Authority
Joachim Krause: Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Hannes Bezzel: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena