Tel Bet Yerah: Hub of the Early Bronze Age Levant

Raphael Greenberg*, Sarit Paz, David Wengrow, Mark Iserlis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kinrot Valley, a small triangle of rich alluvial soil formed by the Jordan River, the Yarmuk River, and Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), should certainly rank among the candidates for the terrestrial garden of Eden (fig. 1). Having every resource that early humans could desire, the valley was a stopping point for the earliest hominins from Africa, at Ubeidiya, some 1.5 million years ago, and was home much later to the wonderfully preserved fishing village of Ohalo II (some 23,000 years before the present; Nadel 2002) and the richly expressive Late Neolithic "Yarmukian" culture of Sha'ar Hagolan (about 6000 b.c.e.; Garfinkel 2004). Tucked into the northwest corner of this valley, where the Jordan River exits the lake, was a low oval hill made of soft marl sediment deposited in the bed of the enormous Lake Lisan, the Ice Age predecessor of the Jordan River system. This hill, forming a small triangular peninsula between river and lake, about 800 m long and 400 m wide at its base, underlies the archaeological mound of Bet Yerah (fig. 2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalNear Eastern Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


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