An ancient site located on a steep round hill on the bend of the Hilazon (snail) creek, south of Karmiel.
An ancient site located on a steep round hill in the bend of the Hilazon (snail) creek, south of Karmiel.
The site is located on a high hill (altitude 261M) in the center of a loop of the Hilazon creek, south of Karmi'el . The valley around the steep hill is about 150M, more than 100M lower than the top of the hill. You can point on the purple points to navigate to the selected site.
On top of the hill are traces of ruins spread over an area of (roughly) 80M x 80M. There is a trace of a wall around the circumference.
Inside the enclosed area are bases of houses. Fragments of crude pottery are located everywhere. A well is located in the center of the hill which used to supply water.
The stones found in the site are made of medium size un-hewn (rough, natural) rocks. A small stone quarry is located on the north side.
This was probably an Iron age (Biblical) period site. Another site from that period - Khirbet Yanin - is located several KM down the creek and is identified by scholars as the Biblical city of Ne'iel, which was mentioned in the region of the tribe of Asher (Joshua). The Hilazon (Chilazon- "snail") creek was an ancient trade route from Acre to the east, and the sites protected this route and provided services.
On the southern foothills are a number of structures, including an Ottoman period arched house.
Around the Ottoman period structure is a Bedouin farm, which raises goats and cows. Further south are additional houses occupied by Bedouins.
A settlement named Eshchar was established in 1986 on the hill south-west to the site (1.5km). It is accessed from the road to Yuvalim.
The site is located on top of the hill seen in the photo below, which is seen from the southern neighborhood of Kermi'el.
Click on the photos to view in higher resolution...
A closer view of the round hill is seen below. The Hilazon creek bends around the hill, and flows from left (east) to right (west) towards the plains of Acre.
The west side of the hill is seen below, with the Hilazon creek flowing to the sea towards the right side. A section of a paved road is seen on the right side, ending in the bottom of the creek. It enables an easy ride down the steep hill from Karmi'el to the bottom of the creek.
After reaching the bottom of the deep valley, you can then climb up the foothills seen on the left side of the photo below (looking towards the south). We have used this side to climb up, but due to its steep climb (100M of altitude difference) we reached breathless to the south side. Therefore, our advice is to use an access either from the north-east side or from the south-west side further down the creek.
The photo below shows a view of the western side. In the background are the Bedouin buildings, south of the site.
After walking on the west side, you reach a flat area on the south side. The trees seem to be bent to the left even without wind. This is due to the fierce winds that blast here almost constantly. The Hilazon creek acts like a funnel, causing strong winds to flow from the sea and reshape the trees.
A general view of the south side of the hill is seen in the photo below. The closer structures include the ruins of an Ottoman period house, seen on the right side. The other farm houses are modern, and the Bedouins raise goats and cows.
The Ottoman period structure, seen below, is used as part of the farm.
A closer view of the ancient structure is seen below. In the center of the house is an arch, which was used to support a roof. This is a common Ottoman architectural design in the Galilee, where arches were used to support the roof on top of wooden beams or plates of stones.
Another view of the farm is seen below. The dogs are tied up to the trees to protect the livestock and bark against strangers (like us). A small stone sheepfold is seen on the right side of the ancient structure.
On the far-right background are the houses of the southern neighborhood of Karmi'el.
The photo below shows another view of the Ottoman structure, as seen from the road that climbs up to the top of the hill. On the far left side, on top of the hill, is the new settlement of Eschar (established in 1986).
Walking up the south side of the hill we reach to the top (alt. 261M). The wall around the top of the hill is clearly seen.
Inside the enclosed area are traces of ruins of ancient houses.
Another view of the area, looking towards the north. The city of Karmi'el is seen in the far background.
The area is littered by fragments of crude ancient ceramics, probably from Iron age.
A well is also located between the ruins. It is normally covered by the iron sheet. You can notice that the stone on the bottom left has scars, which were carved by the ropes that were used to pull up the buckets while fetching the water.
There are also some stone heaps, such as the one seen below in the center of the walled area.
A view towards the south-east side is seen below, with the peripheral wall seen at the edge of the hill. In the background is the east side of the creek, which bended around the hill and is oriented to the south. In the far background are the large Arab villages of Sachnin (mostly hidden behind the right hill) and Arab'e.
The photo below shows a closer view of the bend of the creek, as seen from south-east foothills.
A fossilized rock is seen along the foothills, as seen below.
The north-east side foothills are seen below. The high mountain on the other side of the valley is called "Zuf" hill (alt 347M).
There is a small ancient stone quarry just below the top side - square rock cuttings which are seen in the center of the photo below.
A pair of carob (Harub) trees are seen in the lower foothills.
The cows easily walk the foothills, as seen below.
Due to the high winds blowing up the creek, the bush along the foothills lean away towards the east, and are "skinny" due to the grazing of the goats and cows.
These natural sculptures bring surprises, such as the one seen below. This bush looks like a scene of the soldier on the right hitting the fallen soldier on the left (a typical icon on Roman coins). Feel free to use your imagination and come up with alternative scenes.
Another work of natural art is seen in the photo below.
The rocks also are part of this natural museum. Come and visit - Nature does not collect admission fees!
A view of the north side of the hill is seen from the neighborhoods of Karmi'el. This is the junction of two creeks - Hilazon from the top left side, and Shezor from the bottom left side. A trail is seen going up the foothills from the center towards the left, which seems like a good choice for climbing up the steep hill on our next tour of the site.
A view from the other side is seen below. This path along Shezor creek was probably one of the ancient trade routes from the plains of Acre, along Hilazon creek, into Beit-Kerem valley and eastwards. Alternative routes were more difficult due to the high mountains that surround Beit-Kerem.
A bike route was established along the Hilazon creek. The sign points to the next stop, up the hill to Karmi'el.
A biker is seen riding the paved section, just before reaching to the creek.
Along the path we saw a Hyrax (rock rabbit, or Hebrew: Shafan Sela) which is a typical mammal along the Hilazon creek and the upper Galilee.
A closer view of the cute rock-rabbit is seen below. The Hyrax is mentioned in KJV Bible as coney (an English word for rabbit, "Shaphan" in Hebrew), as in Leviticus 11 5:"And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you".
The Bible does not allow to eat these mammal's meat - rabbits and hares are not Kosher ("unclean"). As per Leviticus 11,4: "Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud". Cud is the part digested food that animals bring back into their mouths from their first stomach, to chew at leisure. The animals who chew the cud ("ruminate") are Kosher only if they have cloven (split) hooves. As in verse 3: "Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat". Thus, goats and sheep are clean (Kosher to eat), but the Hyrax are not - they fail the cloven-hoof requirement.
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