About the site

Tel Rekhesh (Arabic name: Tell Mukharkhash) is located in the vicinity of Mt. Tabor, north Israel.  It is one of the two largest sites in the Lower Eastern Galilee.  The site is on the natural hill rising on the riverbed of Tabor River (Nahal Tavor), which runs from the Mt. Tabor and pours into the Jordan River.  The tell is situated in the national park and a lot of hikers visit all year round to enjoy the beauty of the nature.   The peak of the tell is 34 m above sea level, and the area covers 40 dunam (ca. 4000 sq. meters).  The tell is in an oval shape, whose long axis lies in the northeast-southwest direction.  On its south-western side, a long slope declines along this axis and forms three terraces.  There is a flat area on the top of the tell, which we call “acropolis” area.
Several archaeological surveys were conducted in the region of Tel Rekhesh.  Some of the findings from the site, collected by local people, are now exhibited in the archaeological museum in the Kibbutz Ein-Dor, some 5 km from Tel Rekhesh.  The collection includes a fragment of Egyptian stela, a clay model of a temple, and complete pottery from various periods.  According to the surveys, the site was almost continuously occupied from the Early Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period.  Our four seasons of excavation have revealed a massive fortification system enclosing the acropolis area and buildings dating to the Late Bronze and Iron Ages and Roman Period.  Findings are dated to various periods: Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, Late Bronze and Iron Ages, and Persian and Roman Periods.
According to the Bible, this region is allocated to the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:17-23).
Y. Aharoni identified the site with the biblical Anaharath mentioned in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 19:19).  This city is also mentioned in the list of Thutmose III (ca. 1500-1450 BC) and that of Amenophis II (1417-1379 BC).  Recent petrographical analysis of the El-Amarna Letters written on clay tablets show the possibility that some of the letters (EA 238-242) originated from the region of Tel Rekhesh.

Related Publications

Aharoni, A. 1967. Anaharath. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 26, pp. 212-215.
Gal, Z. 1990. The Lower Galilee: Historical Geography in the Biblical Period. Tel Aviv (Hebrew).
Gal, Z. 1991. Map of Gazit (46), Archaeological Survey of Israel. Jerusalem.
Gal, Z. 1992. Lower Galilee during the Iron Age. American Schools of Oriental Research Dissertation Series 8. Winona Lake.
Goren, Y., Finkelstein, I., and Na’aman, N. 2004. Inscribed in Clay: Provenance Study of the Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Tel Aviv University Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology Monograph Series Number 23). Tel Aviv.
Joffe, A., Hansen, J., Nordt, L, and Goldberg, P. 1998a. “Tel Rekhesh, Eastern Lower Galilee, Israel: 1998 Pilot Season.” Orient-Express 1998/3, pp. 66-68.
Joffe, A., Hansen, J., Nordt, L, and Goldberg, P. 1998b. Report on the Pilot Season of Geo-Environmental and Archaeological Surveys at Tel Rekhesh, Eastern Lower Galilee, Israel, Unpublished Report to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Joffe, A., Hansen, J., Nordt, L. and Goldberg, P. 1999. “Tel Rekhesh, 1998.” Israel Exploration Journal 49/1-2, pp. 138-141.
Saarisalo, A. 1927. The Boundary between Issachar and Naphtali: An Archaeological and Literary Study of Israel’s Settlement in Canaan. Helsinki.
Zori, N. 1977. The Land of Issachar: Archaeological Survey. Jerusalem. (Hebrew).

 

 

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