The Israeli Mount Hermon: 50 years of discoveries

Shimon Dar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the year 1967, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) occupied the southern part of the Mount Hermon range, known as 'The Shoulder of the Hermon,' stretching over 80 square kilometers out of the 1500-1800km2 of the whole range. The harsh climatic conditions on Mount Hermon forced the Israeli authorities to adapt its bases to extreme winds of up to 150 knots. From historical sources, it was reasonable to assume that the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties had political and military interests in the vicinity of Mount Hermon. Those interests led to intermarriage between the Iturean and the Herodian dynasties. During an archaeological survey and excavations, between 1969 and 1989. over 60 ancient sites, including farms, villages, cult sites and local temples dating from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods were discovered. The Mount Sumaq village offered clues about how the ancient Itureans adapted themselves to the Hermon climate: Their houses were built of ashlar stones 1.20m thick to insulate them from the harsh winter and summer conditions. The village stretched over 50 dunams and possessed many oil presses. The cult site of Mt. Senaim included an upper cultic enclosure, a lower cultic enclosure, and a settlement. The upper one contained round standing stelae in hewn rooms. The lower cult enclosure contained a Temenos and two richly ornamented temples, partly hewn in the rock. Altars, architectural elements, an offering table with the Greek word 'Temple', and nine fragmentary Greek inscriptions mentioning the dedicators of the temple which included Iturean auxiliary Roman soldiers, was found on a well paved square: The cult site of Senaim functioned until the Byzantine period. The Golan and Hermon survey is an example of scientific achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCities, Monuments and Objects in the Roman and Byzantine Levant
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Honour of Gabi Mazor
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781803273358
ISBN (Print)9781803273341
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Archaeopress and the individual authors 2022. All rights reserved.


  • Cult sites
  • Farmhouses
  • Itureans
  • Local cults
  • Mount Hermon
  • Qala't Nimrud
  • Roman temples
  • Sinopia Paneas
  • Villages


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