zondag 19 oktober 2014


Tell Abu Hawam is situated within the bay of Akko in the delta region of the river Kishon and the wadi Selinan. Some scholars think that this was ancient Akshap, but that is not probable. Akshaph should be situated at Tell Keisan a little bit further to the north. I follow the view of Shmuel Ahituv in his Canaanite Toponyms in ancient Toponyms in ancient Egyptian Documents (Jerusalem/Leiden 1984), that Tell Abu Hawam is LBNT (Libnath), which is mentioned by Ramesses III in Medinet Habu (XXVII:71, XXIX:9). The name Lib(i)nat is most probable preserved in the Biblical compound Shihor-Libnath, the name of the lower part of the Kishon river.
Libnath should therefore be located at Tell Abu Hawam on a former outlet of the Kishon river close to the sea. This identification and location are favoured by the mention of Libnath in the vicinity of Beth Dagan (XXVII:72), which should be located at Tell el-Far also in the plain of Akko. The name LBT appears on Phoenician city-stamps.
Moreover we know some Phoenician inscriptions, who mention the town of Qerumin. One of thos inscriptions (EH 102) says: “Abdešmoen, son of Me’edder, a Canaanite of Qerumin, a citizen of the island of trees.” Qerumin is also a alternative name for the river Kishon. In Judges (5:21) the place is called Kqdwmym. The Romans and Byzantines much later called it Qr(y)mywm.
It looks like that Tell Abu Hawam was named in antiquity by two names: Libnath and Qerumin. The meaning of LBT is stone-quarry. It is highly probable, that town is called Libnath and the river and harbour: Qerumin .
The ancient settlement, which originally bordered the beach (it is now located roughly 1.5 kilometers inland), covered at least 4 hectares (10 acres). In antiquity the town was blessed with three harbour facilities: a natural bay to the north, a lagoon (between Mount Carmel and the tell) to the south-west, and the Kishon estuary to the east.
Tell Aby Hawam was served by two neighbouring cemeteries: a rock-cut necropolis to the west on the slopes of the Mount Carmel in the Persian period and a maritime cemetery of the Late Bronze Ages located along the ancient coastline.
The earliest Tell is occupied in 1500-1400 BC with a protective wall. At that time it covered at the most 1 hectare with a Canaanite temple within. Some Mycaean pottery was found here. Following its destruction at the end of the Late Bronze Age, Tell Abu Hawam was reoccupied c.1100 BC. The early Iron Age settlement (Iron I), which revealed Phoenician Biochrome pottery, was marked by a new building orientation and the appearance of the three-room house type. Following its destruction (by whom?), the city was resettled in the early tenth century BC. This Iron II settlement was characterized by a dense urban arrangement of modestly sized rectangular rooms. During this period the river Kishon estuary replaced the lagoon as the city’s primary harbour facility. Following the third destruction (by the Assyrians?) in the second half of the eight century BC, Tell Abu Hawam lay abandoned for two centuries until the Persian period, when the city re-emerged as a strategic stronghold and regional maritime commercial centre. The city saw major urban redevelopment in the fourth century BC. The acropolis was levelled and crowned with a casemate wall and stone glacis, while the lower settlement, newly fortified, was rebuilt according to an axial grid plan (hippodamic streetplanning).
The former texts are for a part an adaption of the text of Glen.E.Markoe, Phoenicians, Berkeley, 2000.
In the fourth century we see the appearance of Attic and Tyrian coins. In this time the whole region of the plain of Akko was under the control of Tyre. In the meantime the alluvium of the coastal deposits goes on and in the second century BC the harbour activities are moved to Shiqmona (Sycaminium).
Who lived in Libnath-Qerumin? It was a mixture of Philistines, Phoenicians, Jews, Arabs, Persians and Egyptians. It was a cosmopolite town, who had to endure at least three destructions, but every time the town re-emerged out of the misery. For almost 2000 years this town existed with intervals. It is buried now under the outskirts of Haïfa in Israël.
At the moment the Israël Antiquity Authority and in the University of Haïfa are doing more excavations (Uzzi Ad + Amani Abu Hamid) in corporation with the Yefe Nof Transportation and Infrastructure Company and the Israël Electricity Company.

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