The formation of a Mediterranean terraced landscape: Mount Eitan, Judean Highlands, Israel

Yuval Gadot, Uri Davidovich, Gideon Avni, Yoav Avni, Michal Piasetzky, Gala Faershtein, Dan Golan, Naomi Porat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Here we present the first results of a new interdisciplinary research project entitled "The Formation of Terraced Landscapes in the Judean Highlands, Israel". The research traces the socio-economic and historical contexts in which terraces were constructed in the rural periphery of Jerusalem, a thriving political, economic and religious center for four millennia, by using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of terraces fill in combination with careful analyses of related geomorphological and archaeological records. The first sub-region studied is Mount Eitan, an isolated hilly spur located ca. 12 km west of the ancient city, above the Soreq Valley, the main drainage basin of the region. The results demonstrate a complex history of terrace construction and use, beginning with sporadic activity during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and reaching a zenith during the mid-second millennium CE. The results enable to put to test current paradigms regarding the relation between extensive terracing operations and settlement oscillations and the antiquity of the terrace phenomenon in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-417
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


The research is supported by an Israel Science Foundation grant (Grant No. 0606714492 ) awarded to Y.G. and N.P. The Israel Antiquities Authority (license no. S-320/2011) and Jewish National Fund (G. Bashan and H. Zoref) approved and supported fieldwork. We wish to thank I. Wachtel, I. Sharon and students from the Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University, for their assistance in the systematic survey of Mount Eitan (2011). We thank Z. Dolgin, I. Boianju and N. Ben-Melech for sample preparation, and the Geochemistry Division at the GSI for chemical analyses. Y. Elgart and Y. Guttlib and N. Cohen of the Tel-Aviv Institute of Archaeology art studio assisted in processing the survey results. Yoav Farhi assisted in idnetifying the coins ( Fig. 19 ).

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation0606714492


    • Jerusalem Highlands
    • Land-use
    • Landscape archaeology
    • OSL dating
    • Subsistence economy
    • Terraces


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