The 2007 Excavation Campaign at Tell el-‘Oreme / Kinneret on the Sea of Galilee: Reappraising Current Excavation Finds

The excavations recently undertaken in cooperation between the universities of Helsinki and Bern—in which chalcolithic, Early, Middle, and Late Bronze Age as well as Second Iron Age levels were detected—demonstrate that Kinneret was an important site for the culture of the entire region, particularly in the First Iron Age (c. 1200–1000 BCE).

The ceramics discovered—Kinneret is the richest First Iron Age site in northern Palestine, especially with respect to nearly intact or intact vessels—along with the architecture—previous excavations have allowed extensive architectural remains to be identified that are very unusual for Israel in this time period and must be more closely examined concerning their cultural relationships—can be used to verify cultural relationships with regions to the north and east (which developed into the Aramean Kingdom), the south (to become Israel), and the west (home to the Phoenicians).

Kinneret is ideally suited for studying the stage at which the ancient states established intercultural relationships and, with the help of above all the ceramics, to determine which cultural exchanges, and which limits on exchange, existed. The same is true for the architectural remains.

Moreover, Kinneret is an ideal location to explore questions concerning crisis management (the period of 1200 BCE marked a national crisis in which numerous cultural disintegrations occurred). An important problem therefore is to what extent the residents of Kinneret were successful in preserving Late Bronze Age culture in their major cities, and to what extent they were critical or open toward new cultural developments.

Term of Project: April 2006–2007

Research endowment funding 2006/2007

Additional funding through the German Association for Research on Palestine (dt. Gesellschaft zur Erforschung Palästinas)

Project Members:
Prof. Wolfgang Zwickel (Protestant Theology)
Prof. Christopher F.E. Pare (Institute for Ancient Studies)