The Chalcolithic period, a key transitional time between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, witnessed the first metallurgy, the first pottery formed on a wheel, and dramatically new burial practices for the dead. Yet in contrast to regions such as the Negev or Jordan Valley, our knowledge of life in the Galilee during the Chalcolithic period (c. 4500-3600 B.C.) is very limited. For example, we have no radiocarbon dates for a Chalcolithic settlement in the Galilee, nor do we have an architectural plan. The research initiative launched by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is designed to examine the dramatic changes in the relationship of villages, ritual sites and mortuary practices during this poorly understood period. The goals for the inaugural investigations in 2009 were threefold: to explore the site for intact sub-surface architecture and features; to collect material culture, botanical and faunal samples; and to determine the depth of anthropogenic strata and the degree of human and animal disturbance to these layers. Based on the good state of preservation of architectural features and faunal remains, Marj Rabba shows great promise for expanded, intensive investigation to offer fresh insights into this key transitional era. For the 2014 season the team will focus on one particularly well-preserved area to expose the earliest floors, wall foundations and associated early features. In addition, we will obtain samples for botanical, faunal, and geomorphological analyses for theses earliest, well preserved strata of the site.
Period(s) of Occupation: Chalcolithic (c. 4500-3600 B.C.)
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Academic CreditNumber of credits offered: none
Rowan, Y. and Golden, J. The Chalcolithic Period of the Southern Levant, Journal of World Prehistory, 22: 1-92, 2009.
Rowan, Y.M., Urban, T.M., and Kersel, M.M. 2012. Recent ground penetrating radar discoveries at Marj Rabba, Israel. Antiquity 86/334. December. http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/rowan334/
Levy, T.E., Cult, Metallurgy and Rank Societies - Chalcolithic Period, In: The archaeology of Society in the Holy Land,, 1998, London