Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tel Hadid and Tel Bareket

Tel Hadid is on top of the tunnel on highway six just before you get to the junction with the Jerusalem road (near the ben shemen interchange). Yochai told me about it a while back when he went orienteering in the area. We set out this morning not knowing that this is probably the most probably the most popular biking spot in the country. While we drank our coffee and ate our Pillsbury chocolate muffins, we got to enjoy the company of a least a hundred potential Israeli Lance Armstrongs. Tel Hadid was not really much to look at, so we took off to another Tel, Tel Bareket, more on that later. Yeah, I broke my own rule and we took in two sites in a single day. It's been that kind of week.

Tel Hadid (there is an easy access path off the 444), seems to have been a typical Iron Age (9th-8th Centuries BCE) settlement. Two Assyrian legal documents were found nearby. Both were clay tablets written in Cuniform, the earlier noted the sale of land (from 698 BCE) the second is a promissory note (from 664 BCE). It appears that these documents record the purchase of land in the area by exiles (possibly Akkadian or Arameans) in the wake of Sargon's war with Babylon. By the time of the end of the Judean Kingdom, Hadid was once again Israelite and its citizens were banished to Babylon and later returned. During the time of the Hasmoneans, Hadid was an important fortified city (see this site for more info).
Here you can see Highway Six and what I think is Modi'in in the distance.
Some of the very overgrown archaeology in the area. There are not many standing walls and things, but it is a very nice place with a lot of picnic tables and an awesome view.
The only interesting artefact we saw was this 21 century head covering. I think it has something to do with cultic activity.

Once we were done walking around Tel Hadid, we drove a few kilometers up highway 444. Every time I pass the huge Nestle factory I always look at Tel Bareket which is right next to it. We decided to go check it out finally.

I heard a lecture by Sarit Paz once where she told about the dig at the lower city. It was a salvage dig and they found a lot of interesting stuff before it was all covered over and converted into factory space. There is a nice write up here. I think that what we wondered around was the upper Tel. It was very cool and there are tons of excavations. I was not able to find a write up anywhere (there is probably one somewhere in Hebrew), but there is a lot of work going on there.
Of course, we ignored the signs. This is Israel after all.
This is the view of the ever encroaching industrial area. It sucks that they are slowly eating up this pretty and unspoiled area.
Looks like they uncovered a mosaic floor. Very nice indeed.
Higher up the hills we found this. I have no idea what these cuts in the rock are for. They are incredibly interesting. I will look around on the web and see if I can find out.
The best thing of all was this sort of temple (I think). The standing stones are huge and must have taken some effort to get raised up.
This is a more or less front on view of the same structure. Note the standing stones on the left and another arch like thing in front. There are steps leading up to the structure. It is completely excellent.

All in all we had a wonderful time (bso, bno and myself), clambering over rocks and prickly shrubs. I just wish I knew more about the site. It is worth visiting, just drive past the Nestle factory and go as far north as the access road allows then park and climb the hills. A good morning. We were home by 9am.

No comments: