Excavations at Tel Michal, Israel
Ze'ev Herzog, George Rapp, Jr. and Ora Negbi


The archaeological site known today as Tel Michal lies north of Tel Aviv on Israel’s coastal plain, high on a barren windswept cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Lacking the arable soil that might have encouraged permanent settlement - most of the region is covered with sand dunes - Tel Michal was probably a maritime station for military or commercial use during its periods of occupation, which extended intermittently from the Canaanite period (Middle Bronze Age II, about 2000 B.C.E.) throughout the Early Arab Period (9th century C.E.). The site’s archaeological remains are not confined to a single ancient tel or mound but are dispersed over five hills, where, despite severe erosion, seventeen strata have been excavated, yielding particularly rich and extensive finds in the Persian period.

The excavations at Tel Michal were conducted over a period of four summers, from 1977 through 1980, by a consortium that included Tel Aviv University and the University of Minnesota, joint publishers of this volume. As the first phase in a much broader regional project, Tel Michal drew together a multinational group of scholars and students in a cooperative, interdisciplinary effort. Experts in traditional archaeological fields - pottery, architecture, numismatics - were joined by geologists, metallurgists, botanists, zoologists, and materials scientists; 43 of these participants have contributed to this full report of the excavations.

The book first traces the historical geography and settlement patterns of Tel Michal and its environs, then covers the stratigraphy and architecture of its settlements during the Bronze and Iron ages and the Persian, Hellenistic, and Arab periods. Included in this historical section are chapters on pottery and on special finds like the Iron Age wine presses, the Persian cemetery, and the Roman fortress. Subsequent chapters deal with the region’s geology and its botanical and skeletal remains; with computerized, petrographic, and chemical modes of analysis; and with metal and flint objects, numismatics, and small finds like seals, glass artifacts, beads and pendants. the text is illustrated throughout with line drawings and tables. Photographs of the excavations site and artifacts appear in a separate section at the end of the book.

Ze’ev Herzog and Ora Negbi are associate professors in the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University. George Rapp, Jr., is dean of the college of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.