The Moshe Stekelis Museum exhibits the prehistoric cultures of the Land of Israel. Two exhibits deal with submerged settlements: the prehistoric villages discovered off the Carmel coast, including reconstructions of structures and water wells, and the Epipaleolithic village found in the Sea of Galilee. The museum is named after the archaeologist Moshe Shtekelis who excavated extensively in the nearby ancient caves of Oren and Sefunim Streams.
The museum has dozens of prehistoric European figures. There are findings from the Neolithic villages which were discovered at the Carmel coast, including reconstructions of houses and wells from a Mediterranean fishing village that were discovered in the Atlit-Yam site. There are also findings from the Neolithic – Ceramic sites Neve Yam, Kfar Samir and Kfar Galim. This is the first museum in Israel and the Middle East dedicated solely to the prehistoric era, and one of the few such museums in the world. The museum is located in the Haifa Educational Zoo.
Moshe Stekelis (1898–1967), Israel archaeologist, born in the Ukraine. As a result of his Zionist activities, he was exiled to Siberia. In 1928 he settled in Palestine and was appointed lecturer (later professor) in prehistoric archaeology at the Hebrew University in 1948. Stekelis excavated the Neolithic Yarmukian culture at Sha’ar HaGolan. Stekelis made many notable discoveries during numerous excavations, working with Dorothy Garrod on the Neolithic of the Levant. It was remarked that his research and finds “shed light on early man and which are invaluable in reconstructing his development.”
He directed various archaeological expeditions to prehistoric sites: Bethlehem; Jebel al-Qafza (with R. Neuville); Abu ʿUṣba (Mt. Carmel); the megaliths in Transjordan; the Yarmukian site of Sha’ar ha-Golan; the Kabbāra cave and Naḥal Oren on Mt. Carmel; and al-ʿUbaydiyya in the Jordan Valley. Stekelis was the founder of a prehistory library in Jerusalem and a museum in Haifa.
address: 124 Hatishbi Street, Haifa
Open Hours: Sun-Thu 10:00-15:00, Fri 10:00-13:00, Sat 10:00-15:00
Prehistoric sites in Israel
What is YARMUKIAN CULTURE?
The Yarmukian culture was a Neolithic culture of the ancient Levant. It was the first culture in prehistoric Israel and one of the oldest in the Levant to make use of pottery. The Yarmukian derives its name from the Yarmouk River which flows near its type site at Sha’ar HaGolan, a kibbutz at the foot of the Golan Heights. The first Yarmukian settlement was unearthed at Megiddo during the 1930s, but was not identified as a distinct Neolithic culture at the time. At Sha’ar HaGolan, in 1949, professor Moshe Stekelis first identified the Yarmukian culture, a Pottery Neolithic culture that inhabited parts of Israel and Jordan. The site, dated to ca. 6400–6000 BC (calibrated), is located in the central Jordan Valley, on the northern bank of the Yarmouk River. Its size is around 20 hectares, making it one of the largest settlements in the world at that time. Although other Yarmukian sites have been identified since, Sha’ar HaGolan is the largest, probably indicating its role as the Yarmukian center. The site was excavated by two teams from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: one led by Stekelis (1949–1952), and the other by Yosef Garfinkel (1989–90, 1996–2004).