About the Ramat Rachel archeological site:

Ramat Rachel is situated halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.  From its vantage point atop one of the tallest hills in the region it has an excellent view of both cities.  It overlooks the ancient north-south and east-west roads, giving anyone who occupied the hill control over Judea’s traffic and commerce.

Ramat Rachel has been settled many times, by many different peoples and cultures.  It has served as:

  • an Iron Age administrative center (8th-2nd cent. BC)
  • a Roman villa and bathhouse (2nd cent. AD)
  • a Byzantine church and monastery (4th-7th cent. AD)
  • an Abbasid palace (10th cent. AD)
  • an Israeli kibbutz (20th-21st cent. AD)

This site has been the source of many important archeological finds, among them:

  • royal seal impressions in pottery from the time of the biblical king Hizkiyahu (Hezekiah)
  • regional seal impressions in pottery from the Hasmonean and Persian periods
  • irrigated gardens, with pools and fountains, from the days of the last kings of biblical Judah
  • a large public building from the Abbasid period

Archeological findings from the Iron Age, especially the recently discovered gardens, seem to indicate that Ramat Rachel was used as an administrative center by the Assyrians around the time of king Hezekiah, when Judah was a client kingdom of the Assyrian empire.  From Ramat Rachel the Assyrians could keep a discreet eye on Jerusalem and collect tribute (the source of the royal seal impressions) from Judah.  Subsequent occupying empires such as Persia apparently continued the tradition.

The dig at Ramat Rachel is currently in the fourth season of the most recent round of excavations.  For more information, see the Ramat Rachel official dig site.

How to contribute:

Are you participating in the dig, or were you a member in the past? Contribute your own experiences to this blog.  Send your thoughts and pictures to Keren at carnadyne [at] gmail [dot] com.  Full credit will be given.

About this blog:

This site is managed by Keren Pedersen, a volunteer at the dig.  You can find her personal website here.