2003 Grant Recipient
Excavations of the Oriental Institute at Beth Yerah (Khirbet el-Kerak) and Nahal Taborin, Israel
Beth Yerah was inhabited during the pre-urban and urban phases of the Early Bronze Age (EB I-III; ca. 3500-2250 s.c.E.), attaining a size of some 20 ha within a massive 8m-thick fortification. It is an important type site for these periods and has given its name to the distinctive "Khirbet Kerak Ware" ceramic tradition that originated in Anatolia and is the hallmark of the EB III period in Palestine. Beth Yerah's location on Lake Kinneret at the nexus of major travel routes and contrasting environmental zones made it a nodal point, both economically and politically, and contributed to its prominence as an early urban center dominating the region. The site was abandoned after the collapse of urban society that ended the EB III period (ca. 2250 B.c.E.) and was not reoccupied until the Hellenistic period, after which it continued in use until the early Islamic period.