“The area of the mountainous Upper Galilee remains very much a mystery,” Dr. Hayah Katz, a senior lecturer at Kinneret Academic College’s Kinneret Department of Land of Israel Studies said, “With the one exception of Tel Rosh, no excavation has even been conducted in the region, but only some archaeological surveys.” In a paper recently published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, she analyzed the results of these surveys, as well as of the salvage dig in the 1970s by the Israel Department of Antiquities. They exposed the remains of the fortress, which Katz had the opportunity to excavate last year

Based on the findings, she proposes a new way of looking at the issue: the existence of a previously unknown local power, whose population, or at least part of it, would later become part of the Kingdom of Israel.

“… I believe that the fortress has to be dated to a period between the 11th and the first half of the 10th century and not later, while previously it was believed to have been erected any time between the 11th and the ninth century [BCE],” Katz said. “Moreover, in my opinion, the fortress was part of a distinct local entity, even though we do not know its name. At the time, there were several political entities in the area of the land of Israel, including Saul’s Kingdom and Geshur around the Sea of Galilee.” All the rural villages surrounding the Mount Adir fortress were part of this power, Katz said.

“I think that later the population of these villages, many of them refugees from the Canaanite city of Hazor, which had been destroyed, will become part of the Israelites, who, in my view, part of them were not a population coming from abroad, but rather a mixture of local groups” she said. The pottery unearthed in the area also backs a mixture of Canaanite, Phoenician and even Cypriot influences, Katz said. The hope is that further research in the area will be able to shed more light on the mysterious kingdom and the questions surrounding the region.

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