Ruins of Bronze and Iron age fortified city, located on a steep hill at the junction of Misgav. According to a notable scholar, it may have been the Biblical city of Hukuk (Huquq).
Joshua 19 34: "...and went out from thence to Hukok".
Ruins of Bronze and Iron age fortified city, located on a steep hill at the junction of Misgav. According to a notable scholar (Aharoni), it may have been the Biblical city of Hukuk (Huquq), although that place is normally identified near the modern Kibbutz of Hukuk.
On top of the hill are traces of ruins spread over a round area with a diameter of (roughly) 70M, arranged in 2-3 levels. There are traces of walls around the circumference. The stones found in the site are made of medium size un-hewn (rough, natural) rocks, typical of the Bronze/Iron age sites.
Inside the enclosed area are bases of houses. Fragments of crude pottery are located in the ruins. Several cisterns are located between the houses, which used to supply water.
The site is located north to the road (#805), at the junction of Misgav. The height at the top is 320M, 40-80M higher than its sides. The best access is from the south slope, a climb of about 40M. You can park your car in the parking lot of the Regional council of Misgav, cross the street lights, and then walk up the hill.
An aerial map of the area around the site is seen below. The stone quarry is the bright white area on the west side of Gamum. You can point on the purple points to navigate to the selected site.
Bronze/Iron age in the area:
The Hilazon (Chilazon- "snail") creek was an ancient route from Acre to the east, one of the branches of Via Maris (the Biblical "way of the sea"). A number of Bronze/Iron age sites were established along this route (including Ne'iel and Fachir inside the valley, and Rosh Zayit and others around the valley).
In the wide valley of Sachnin (Siknin, Sikhnin, Suginin, Sagani), on the eastern side of the Hilazon creek, was the Canaanite city of Sachnin. It was mentioned as "Sachan" in the list of cities that were conquered in 1468BC by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Their residents produced leather goods and used the purple dye extracted from the snail, which may have been the source of the name of the Hilazon creek. Later, the Israelites conquered the Canaanite cities and resettled them during the Iron age.
Gamum, perhaps known as the Biblical Hukok, was one of the towns south of the Hilazon creek. The ancient route climbed up the mountain from Ne'iel, Rosh-Zayit, then to nearby Sachan, and further down east to the Sea of Galilee. Another route came from Kabul on the south-west. This mountain route may have been used more frequently in the winter when the Hilazon creek was muddy.
The ruins of Gamum are located on a steep hill located just above the ancient mountain route, on its north side. It is easily protected, and the walls around the hill side made it a strong fortress. As most of the highland Bronze/Iron age cities, their population was "essentially small, well developed strongholds with very small populations" ["Galilee through the centuries" p.5-6]. However, these cities controlled several farming villages around them. The Biblical description calls them "...with her suburbs", meaning the villages under their control. "Most of the population lived in unfortified villages, while only the elite lived within the walls of the political and economical center."
The Israelite sites were probably destroyed by the Assyrians in the 8th C BC (734-732), after the intrusion Tiglath-Pileser III (Kings II 15: 29). This intrusion wiped out most of the Galilean sites, as written in the Bible. The ruins may have been resettled partially after the return of the exiles during the 5th C until the 3rd C BC (Hellenistic period), and were abandoned since then.
The site is in ruins and not yet excavated. A stone quarry is located on its west side, which sadly chopped away a section of its foothills.
Modern settlements were established in its vicinity -
The nearby Regional council Misgav (500M to the south-west), was established in 1982. It is interesting to see that both sites, Gamum and Misgav, functioned as administrative centers (the former in the Bronze/Iron age, the latter in the modern period) and are located side by side. After all, history repeats itself.
A view of the site is seen from the west side.
Click on the photos to view in higher resolution...
A more impressive view is seen from the regional council of Misgav, south of the site. You may notice the ruins on the upper quarter of the round hill, scattered between the bush. The ancient route passed at the same way as the modern road - from left (west0 to right (east).
The south side of the hill, closest to the junction, is seen below. The ancient route passed exactly at this point, from left (west from Acre) to east (to Sachan and Sea of Galilee). Few pine and cypress trees form a small forest. A section of a winepress can be seen on the west side, closer to the quarry.
On these foothills some large rocks decorate the hillside, as seen below.
The south side is the easiest way up. The photo below shows the walls of the city just behind the trees. A trail leads up to the top.
A view of the south-west foothills is seen below. A section of the wall is seen in the bottom of the photo. In the background is the regional council of Misgav and the settlement of Rakefet.
Another view of the walls on the south side is seen below. In the left side of the far background is the Arab city of Sachnin, once the Bronze/Iron age city of Sachan.
Yet another view of the south walls is seen below.
On top of the hill are traces of ruined houses and walls. The trail continues to the center of the hill.
Between the ruins are several deep cisterns. They collected the rain and provided drinking water for the residents of the city.
Fragments of pottery are seen between the ruins.
A view of the eastern foothills is seen below. In the background, 300M to the east, is the industrial zone of Misgav, "Teradion". It is named after the 2nd C martyr, Rabbi Hannaniah ben Teradion.
According to Aharoni, Gamum is Hukok, a Biblical city in the region of the tribe of Naphtali (Naftali). The border between them and the tribe of Asher may have passed at this area.
This text describes the area belonging to the tribe of Naphtali (Naftali), where the city is named in Hebrew: "Hukoka".
"The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.... And the border turned westward to Aznoth-tabor, and went out from thence to Hukok; and it reached to Zebulun on the south, and reached to Asher on the west,..."
The city of Hukok was also mentioned in the cities of the Gershonite Levities. In this text, however, Hukok was now part of Asher, which may have been transferred to them after the pact of King Solomon and Hiram, when the Asher tribe lost the cities of Cabul and was compensated with cities of Naphtali.
"And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs, And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs":
Note that in Joshua 21 31, a parallel text on the sites of the Levites, the city is actually called "Helkath".
* Nearby sites of the same period: