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Volunteers for the late prehistoric site of Yiftahel

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  • Ianir Milevski
    Dear colleagues, I will be very thankful if you can send this call to the list members. Thanks in advance, Ianir Milevski, PhD Research Archaeologist, IAA
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3 12:40 AM
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      Dear colleagues, I will be very thankful if you can send this call to the list members. Thanks in advance,



      Ianir Milevski, PhD

      Research Archaeologist, IAA



      Volunteers needed to a salvage excavation in the Late Prehistoric site of Yiftahel, Lower Galilee (Israel)

      University students and teachers are being offered a unique opportunity to get involved in one of the most high profile archaeological salvage projects in Israel during 2008. The site of Yiftahel (Horvat Yiftahel, Hebrew; Khirbet Khalladyiah, Arabic) located in the Lower Galilee will be covered by the Trans-Israel highway. The site, located ca. 8 km west of Nazareth and 25 km east of Haifa, was populated mainly during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period (ca. 7,800 BC) and the Early Bronze Age I (EBA I) (ca. 3,500 BC). Remains and finds from the Pottery Neolithic period (ca. 6,500- 5,000 BC) were found as well.

      The season of the 2007 season has recently concluded. The aims of the 2008 excavations are to continue the previous record the much as possible the remains and finds of the site before the highway will be constructed and to understand and compare the architecture of the site during the main periods of occupation.

      It is known from previous research in the site that the inhabitants of the PPNB constructed rectangular houses with plaster floors and stone and mud walls. They cultivated horse-beans (vicia faba); this is probably the most ancient occurrence of this domesticated pulse in the Levant. Faunal remains indicate that the inhabitants of Yiftahel domesticated ovicaprines, bovines and pigs, still part of their diet was also gazelles and other chased animals. The PPNB lithic industry at the site is outstanding because fo the technology to manufacture flint blades, known as the �naviform� technology because the shape of the flint cores, resembling navy vessels. Sickle blades, fine reaping knifes and arrow heads are the most representative flint tools find in the site. Obsidian tools were also found indicating trade exchange with Anatolia. Mortuary practices at the site show the existence of a cult of the ancestors, with intra-site interments.

      Two occupation levels dated to the Neolithic Pottery period were exposed during 2007. One belongs to the Lodian (Jericho IX) culture (ca. 6,500 BC); a rectangular building with several phases was found containing pottery, flint and ground stone tools. The second level, belongs to the Wadi Rabah culture (ca 5000 BC); pottery sherds with characteristic incised motifs are the most outsanding find of this level.

      The EBA I is characterized by large oval houses (averaging 15 x 6 m) with stone foundations and a probable superstructure of mud bricks. The houses contained large storage pottery vessels, fine bowls and other vessels made a particular ware known as the Grey Burnished ware, among other pottery vessels. Flint tools, grinding stones and basalt vessels are also present. Donkey remains were retrieved in the EBA levels at Yiftahel showing that this is one of the first sites in the Levant where this animal was domesticated and utilized for burden. Shells from the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea found at the site show that relations existed with site along the coastal shores and even Egypt.

      The 2008 season of excavations will take place from April to June. Working days are from Sunday to Thursday, 6.30 am to 2.30 pm. Working tasks will include excavating, helping with drawing and surveying, feeding the computer data base, flint and pottery sorting and assisting archaeologists in recording the finds. As part of this project, volunteering students will get short courses on archaeology and prehistory of the Levant. Two weeks of participation is the minimum time required. Health insurance is also required. Accommodations and full board for volunteers will be arranged in one of the kibbutzim near the site.



      Anyone interested can contact:

      Dr Hamoudi Khalaily

      Director of excavations

      hamudi@...



      or



      Dr Ianir Milevski

      Assistant director of excavations

      ianir@...
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