Sha’ar HaGolan

Excavation of a wall with a stone sub-base dating from the last phase of Neolithic occupation of the site (6000-5800 BC).
Source : Sha’ar Hagolan team 2022 - Excavation permit n°G47-2022

Présentation du site

The Franco-Israeli excavation of the Sha’ar HaGolan site aims to better understand the definitive shift of Levantine societies towards a fully Neolithic way of life (the famous “Second Neolithic Revolution”), by examining the profound economic upheavals (linked to the concomitant development of pottery and pastoralism), social (caused by the emergence of the first villages structured into neighbourhoods) and symbolic (materialised by the scarcity of burials and the multiplication of human figurines) upheavals that occurred during the 7th millennium BC. J.- C. In order to achieve this objective, we undertook a meticulous excavation of the Pre-Ceramic Neolithic (PPN) and Ceramic Neolithic (PN) transitional levels of the site (2m thick) over a total area of 250m2. The fieldwork is being carried out using an innovative methodology, combining chrono-stratigraphic and planimetric reading of the Neolithic occupation soils, which are exceptionally well preserved on this emblematic site of Levantine prehistory.

Historique des travaux

Covering an area of 20 hectares, Sha’ar HaGolan is one of the largest Neolithic villages in the Near East. The site, located in the upper Jordan Valley, was discovered in 1941 by Yehuda Ruth and Motik Golani while digging fish ponds. Between 1949 and 1952, Moshe Stelekis carried out four test pits (pits A, B, C and D – 155 m2), uncovering a unique material culture that he called Yarmukian (Stekelis, 1972). Between 1989 and 2004, Yosef Garfinkel excavated the last phase of Yarmukian occupation at this stratified site (6200-5800 BC) over a large area (2775 m2), uncovering exceptional living quarters separated by alleyways (Garfinkel et al., 2009). In 2022, Julien Vieugué (researcher, CNRS) and Anna Eirikh-Rose (researcher, IAA) are undertaking the excavation of the multiple phases of Neolithic occupation of this key site, preserved over 2m in thickness, in order to gain a better understanding of the NPP-NP transition (6600-6200 cal. BC).

Recherche de bénévoles

Autres projets en lien avec le site

ANR CERASTONE – From stone to ceramic vessels: paces, causes and processes underlying the late adoption of pottery in the Southern Levant (7th millennium cal. BC)

Shelby white & Leon Levy foundation project – Munhata and the Second Neolithic Revolution in the Near East (8th-6th millennia cal. BC).


Exhibition of the painting “The Goddess” by watercolourist Shirley Siegal during the first excavation campaign at the Sha’ar HaGolan site. See for more details)

Selected bibliography

  • Julien Vieugué, Anna Eirikh-Rose, Brent whitford, Kamen Boyadzhiev, Carine Harivel, Eyal Marco & Maïa Tzur (2022). Sha’ar HaGolan and the second Neolithic revolution in the Near East (second half of the 7th millennium cal. BC). Rapport de fouille n°1 - campagne 2022. 24 p.
  • Julien Vieugué, Anna Eirikh-Rose, Kamen Boyadzhiev, Michele Miller, Carine Harivel, Eyal Marco, Brent whitford & Maïa Tzur (2023). Sha’ar HaGolan and the second Neolithic revolution in the Near East (second half of the 7th millennium cal. BC). Rapport de fouille n°2 - campagne 2023.