Rujm el-Hiri: The Monument in the Landscape1

Michael Freikman, Naomi Porat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rujm el-Hiri, located in the central Golan Heights, is one of the largest megalithic monuments in the ancient Near East. Although it was discovered almost 50 years ago and has been surveyed and excavated by several expeditions, there is still no consensus on its date and function, mostly due to the very scanty archaeological evidence found between its walls. In this paper the authors propose an approach to establishing a date and function that differs from what has been suggested previously. The construction of Rujm el-Hiri required a profusion of human and material resources. The monument was an ‘arena of social power’ that undoubtedly played a significant role in the communal and religious life of the population. All this left an imprint on the local landscape. The analysis of various elements of the surrounding area, some of them surveyed and excavated by the authors, demonstrates that it was during the Chalcolithic period that the inhabitants of this area were able to amass the resources required for the construction of such a monument. These conclusions were further reinforced by an OSL study. Based on these data, the authors discuss the role of Rujm el-Hiri in the social and religious life of the Chalcolithic population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-39
Number of pages26
JournalTel Aviv
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 2017.


  • Chalcolithic period
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Megalithic architecture
  • Optically Stimulated Luminescence
  • Rujm el-Hiri


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