Excavations at Tel Michal, Israel

Ze’ev Herzog, Ora Negbi, and George Rapp Jr., editors

The archaeological site known today as Tel Michal lies north of Tel Aviv on Israel’s coastal plain, high on a barren windswept cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Lacking the arable soil that might have encouraged permanent settlement - most of the region is covered with sand dunes - Tel Michael was probably a maritime station for military or commericial use during its period of occupation, which extended intermittently from the Canaanite Period (Middle Bronze Age II, about 2000 B.C.) through the Early Arab Period (ninth century A.D.). The site’s archaeologicial remains are not confined to a single ancient tel or mound but are dispersed over five hills, where, despite severe erosion, seventeen strata have been excavated, yielding particularly rich and extensive finds in the Persian period.

The excavations at Tel Michal were conducted over a period of four summers, from 1977 through 1980, by a consortium that included Tel Aviv University and the University of Minnesota. As the first phase in a much broader regional project, Tel Michal drew together a multinational group of scholars and students in a cooperative, interdisciplinary effort like that pioneered in Greek archaeology by the Minnesota Messenia Expedition. Experts in traditional archaeological fields - pottery, architecture, numismatics - were joined by geologists, metallurgists, botanists, zoologists, and materials scientists; 43 of these participants have contributed to this full report of the excavations.

The book first traces the historical geography and settlement patterns of Tel Michal and its environs, then covers the stratigraphy and architecture of its settlements during the Bronze and Iron ages and the Persian, Hellenistic, and Arab periods. Included in this historical section are chapters on pottery and on special finds like the Iran Age winepresses, the Persian cemetery, and the Roman fortress. Subsequent chapters deal with the region’s geology and its botancial and skeletal remains; with computerized, petrographic, and chemical modes of analysis; and with metal and flint objects, numismatics, and small finds like seals, glass artifacts, beads and pendants. Illustrated throughout with line drawings and tables, by photographs of the excavation site and many of the artifacts found there.

Ze’ev Herzog was born in 1941. He is an Israeli archeologist and a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University. In 2005 he became the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology.

Ora Negbi is retired Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University.

George Rapp Jr. was born in 1930 in Ohio. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1960. He became a professor of ancient studies at the University of Minnesota as well as the founder of Division of Marine and Coastal Geology at Hellenic Institute of Oceanographic and Fishing Research.

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