Tel Shimron is located in the Jeezrel Valley, in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee, and has a rich occupation history waiting to be further explored. It is situated in a major east-west communication and trade conduit through the Judean mountains and straddles coastal regions and inland regions. The occupation history of the tel is not yet fully understood, but in 2016 pedestrian surveys, geophysical surveys, and test pits exhumed material ranging c. 3000 BCE – 1500 CE (Early Bronze Age through Mamluk/Late Islamic periods).
The inaugural excavations of 2017 uncovered a substantial Middle Bronze Age occupation, Hellenistic to Roman domestic contexts, and a Byzantine to Mamluk neighborhood. Small finds already indicate that Tel Shimron was connected to spheres of influence from both Mesopotamia and Egypt, although to what extent is still to be determined. Major research goals of the project include determining the site’s archaeological stratification and chronology and understanding its social and economic functions in the context of the Jezreel Valley and beyond. The project also has a focus on public outreach both in Israel and the U.S.
For more information, check out the project website.
Environmental Archaeology Lab Member Involvement
John M. Marston joined the inaugural season of the project as director of paleoethnobotany in 2017. He developed a systematic strategy for taking soil samples for flotation during excavation, as well as a sample processing protocol utilizing the project’s FloteTech machine. Kathleen M. Forste and Kali Wade also joined the staff as archaeobotanists. Marston, Forste, and Wade will guide sampling as excavations progress and are developing storage strategies for samples. They will also train excavation volunteers in paleoethnobotanical methods of flotation and curation of samples, as well as in basic identification of plant remains.