Institute of Archaeology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Home News & Excavations Academic Programs People Departments & Units Publications Library About the Institute Search
  Old News

A roaring success from Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov

Recent large-scale operations to deepen the Jordan River between the Pkak Bridge and the Crusader fortress of Metzad Ateret caused tremendous damage to the many prehistoric sites in this area. In wake of this, a geo-archaeological salvage survey was conducted jointly by the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Just north of the well-known Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, the survey uncovered a Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) and Upper Paleolithic site that contained large amounts of stone tools, animal bones, wood and other botanical remains, all in excellent preservation, with much potential for future research.

One of the most outstanding finds was the skull of a lion found embedded in the east bank of the Jordan , at the outlet of Nahal Mahanayyim. A lion femur was found immediately below the skull. The bones are in a very good state of preservation, though while the femur was found in one piece, the skull was smashed and some parts were missing. This is most likely the work of the heavy machinery used at this spot. The skull was refitted at the archaeozoology lab at the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University by Gali Biner. The femur was sampled for C14 dating and the age was determined as around 25,000 years BP.