Welcome to the Tel Kabri 2011 Web site!

UPDATE, 26 September: The 2011 season was a great success! For the preliminary results, see
Preliminary report on the results of the 2011 excavation season at Tel Kabri final version

(Previous Information)

Come dig with us at Tel Kabri this coming summer! When else will you have the opportunity to excavate in a Canaanite palace more than 3,500 years old, decorated with Minoan-style floor and wall paintings?

We’ll be digging for six weeks, from June 19th to July 28th, 2011. You are welcome to join us for either one of the three week sessions or for both. The cost to you will be $490 per five-day work week for room and board (airfare and course credits are extra, plus you’ll need additional money for traveling on the weekends).

How else can we put this? Airfare, Room and Board, Weekend expenses, and course credits equals ca. $3,000 for three weeks; the opportunity to dig in Israel at a Canaanite palace and receive college credit for doing so, priceless!

For those who work for a living and who cannot make it for a full three weeks, or even a full week, we’re happy to work with you and/or your group to make special arrangements (if we have room), so please contact us.

Tel Kabri

Located in a quiet rural setting within the western Galilee of Israel, only a ten minute ride from the historical town of Acco, with its Medieval and Ottoman old city, fishing harbor and traditional market, and the modern resort town of Nahariya, the site of Tel Kabri has what may be the earliest-known Western art yet found in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Today the Tel and its surroundings are an agricultural land, with lush plantations of bananas and avocados overlying the ancient remains. During excavations conducted at the site from 1986-1993 by the late Professor Aharon Kempinski and Professor Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, a floor and wall frescoes painted in an Aegean manner—probably by Cycladic or Minoan artists—were discovered within a building that they identified as a palace. Our preliminary excavations in 2005 indicated that this building, which dates to the Middle Bronze (MB) IIB period during the early second millennium BCE, is at least twice as large as previously thought, with much still remaining to be excavated.

During the 2008 season of excavations we were able to retrieve data from the entire history of the MB palace, from a pre-palatial period through to final destruction. We also found approximately 45 more fragments of wall plaster, at least some of which appear to be painted, and additional evidence for red paint on one of the plaster floors in the palace.

Our 2009 season saw the continued excavation of the palace, with the goal of investigating its life cycle, from humble beginnings to its destruction three centuries later. We were successful in doing so, and in the process found approximately 100 additional pieces of wall and floor plaster, including 60 which were painted. We anticipate finding more during the 2011 season.

Goals for the 2011 Season

Some of the scientific goals for the 2011 season will include:

1) Continuation of excavation of the fresco-bearing floor in Area DS

This floor is part of a very solid structure of the MBII period which yielded numerous pieces of Aegean-style fresco. It is expected that additional pieces of fresco will be found on the floor of the structure this season too.

2) Exploration of the underground passages in Area DW

A large passage and at least two doorways belong to a well-built underground complex of the early phase of the palace, of yet unidentified function. We shall try to understand their function by excavating under the floors of the rooms of the later palace.

3) The processional road (?) in Area DW

This paved road encircles the external wall of the palace in Area DW and seems to turn towards what may be a western entrance to the palace. This will be the focus of the 2011 excavations in this area.

4) The southern monumental wing of the palace in Area DS

This wing contains large halls and a courtyard which are still little understood, buried under massive mudbrick collapse. We will excavate a possible large hall to the east of the courtyard, aiming to reach the eastern boundary of the palace.

5) The chronology of the fortification system

The massive fortification rampart and built stone core will be re-examined in order to understand the history of monumental construction at the site, i.e. whether the palace preceded the fortifications or whether the two were built during the same period.

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