Tel Qedesh

Early Urbanism in Canaan

Tel Qedesh is the largest archaeological mound in the Upper Galilee, located about a mile north of modern Safad. The site is set aside a fertile plain and comprises several components totaling 60 hectares in size, including upper, lower and eastern mounds. Qedesh was studied and excavated several times in the past, however several key questions in the history of the site and its regional role remain unanswered, especially with regard to two of its main periods of occupation—the Early Bronze Age and the Roman period. As established in a recent survey, the Early Bronze age was the heyday of Qedesh, when it was probably the largest Early Bronze Age site in the Southern Levant, and seems to have played an important and unique role in the transition to urbanism in northern Canaan. During the Roman period, Cydasa was an important Pagan town in the district of Tyre, bordering the Jewish Galilee as described vividly by Josephus (Jewish War 4.104). Although this village is yet to be found, several impressive Roman monuments were previously investigated in the eastern mound of Qedesh.

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The Early Bronze Age (EBA)

This part of the project is designed to address several key themes related to the earliest urbanization cycle in the Levant, one of the major transitions in human history in this region. These include the role of demographic agglomeration in initiating and/or consolidating the urbanization process and the emergence of regional polities; the architectural, material and social fabric of the first towns; and the interaction of major urban centers with the cultural landscapes in which they evolved. Using information gathered from landscape survey to detailed excavations and analysis of material remains and bio-markers, the research examines both the preconditions for early urbanism, as well as its social, economic and environmental consequences. Our excavations focus on a newly-discovered, 35-hectare segment of the EBA site located west of the main mound, which was not covered by later occupations.

The Roman Period

Qedesh is renowned mostly for its impressive and well preserved Roman period remains, located on the eastern hill and not on the main mound. These remains, including the most impressive Roman temple wall preserved in Israel and two large mausolea accompanied by several ornamented sarcophagi, are most probably part of the Roman town’s necropolis, leaving some open questions regarding the location, size, and architectural matrix of the Roman settlement itself, which is thus far known only from Josephus writings. Our project aims to expose another Roman monumental building in a location where excavations have yet to take place—the upper mound of Qedesh. The excavation of this large building, built of fine ashlars in dry-building technique, in its architectural context may help in resolving some of the questions revolving around the Roman town of Qedesh.

Uri Davidovich

Dr. Uri Davidovich is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Ido Wachtel

Ido Wachtel is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Roi Sabar

Roi Sabar is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dig Directors

Uri Davidovich
Ido Wachtel
Roi Sabar

Geographic Location

Upper Galilee

Periods of Occupation

Early Bronze–Ottoman Period

Dates of the Dig

September 23 - October 4, 2018

Minimum Stay

6 days

Application Due

August 1, 2018


$100 per 6 days

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution



The team will be hosted at Israel National Trail rooms in Kibbutz Yiron, 5–6 volunteers per room. The rooms are equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, toilet and shower. Please bring your own towel, sleeping bag/bedclothes.


Roi Sabar
The Institute of Archaeology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem 91905
Phone: +928-528282963
Apply now:

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