Ahwat אחוואט is not open to the public and is still considered a closed archaeological site. Since our group are students of the Israel School of Tourism and Haifa U. we were able to arrange special permission to enter the site and will share our experience with you.
The ‘Northern (non-Philistine) Sea Peoples – Shardana and Sikulu. These tribes are known for been settled in the northern coast of Canaan in the 12th century BCE, but their settlements were unknown so far, except Tel Dor. In 1992 a new site was discovered, which could have changed our view and opened new horizons in the subject, but so far leaves us only with more questions than answers.
El-Ahwat is a surprising discovery in the Biblical Archeology of Israel. The site was discovered in November 1992 during a survey by archaeologist Adam Zertal. The excavations at the place (el-Ahwat, in Arabic – ‘the walls’), a fortified site located in central Israel and dated to the early Iron Age, exposed architecture influenced by the western Mediterranean ‘Nuraghic’ style. The site was discovered in November 1992, during the survey of the hill country of Manasseh. The large city, hitherto unknown, is located on a high hill overlooking the Samarian mountains, the Carmel range, the Mediterranean coast and the Nahal ‘Iron (Wadi ‘Ara) historical road. Founded in the Iron Age I (end of the 13th century BCE), it lived only about 50 years and then abandoned, never to be settled again. Zertal dates the site to 1160–1150 BCE, which conforms with the alleged date of the Sea Peoples’ incursion to Israel, and the Biblical conflict between Sisera and Barak ben Avinoam (Judges 4-5). Zertal suggest that the site may have been the city of Harosheth Haggoyim, mentioned in Judges 4:2 as Sisera’s place of residence.Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein claims that Zertal erred in his dating of the site by a magnitude of 100 years.The architecture found presumably connects the site with the buildings of Sardinia in the western Mediterranean. There, corridors and ‘tholoi’ typified the Nuragic culture of Bronze and Iron Ages in the island; and similar constructions were unearthed in our site. Historically, it connected the place with the Shardana, one of the well-known ‘Sea peoples’ tribes. The Shardnan were famous warriors and mercenaries. Originated at Sardinia, they said to be settled in Canaan together with the Philistines by pharaoh Ramesses 3rd following his victory over the ‘Sea-peoples’ (ca. 1180 BCE). There are other Shadana villages near Kerem Hamaharal and Tel Dor.