Carved ancient dolmen exposed in the Galilee
Archaeologists from Tel Hai College, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have recently discovered a mysterious dolmen (a large table-like stone structure) over 4,000 years old in a large field of dolmens, adjacent to Kibbutz Shamir in the Upper Galilee. What makes this dolmen so unique is its huge dimensions, the structure surrounding it and most importantly the artistic decorations engraved in its ceiling. The study was published last in the scientific journal PLOS One.
|The field of dolmens by Kibbutz Shamir. A giant one with a carved capstone, weighing some 50 tons, |
was found in a tumulus [Credit: Shmuel Magal/IAA]
|The giant dolmen, with a 50-ton capstone and a carved ceiling unique in the Middle East, found by Kibbutz Shamir, |
dates to more than 4,000 years ago [Credit: Gonen Sharon/Tel Hai College]
|The engravings that were exposed on the inside of the built chamber |
[Credit: Gonen Sharon/Tel Hai College]
|The view from inside the complex dolmen's main chamber |
[Credit: Shmuel Magal/IAA]
“The gigantic dolmen at Kibbutz Shamir is without doubt an indication of public construction”, says Professor Sharon, “that required a significant amount of manpower over a considerable period of time. During that time all of those people had to be housed and fed. The building of such a huge construction necessitated knowledge of engineering and architecture that small nomadic groups did not usually possess. And even more importantly, a strong system of government was required here that could assemble a large amount of manpower, provide for the personnel and above all direct the implementation and control of a large and lengthy project".
Despite all this, the circumstances surrounding the construction of the dolmens, the technology involved in it and the culture of the people who built them are still one of the great mysteries of the archeology of Israel.
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [March 05, 2017]