4,200-year-old rock art found in Israel

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Rock art of an ancient mysterious culture was uncovered in the Golan Heights and the Galilee. These engravings were found in enormous graves that are over 4,000 years old, called “dolmens”.

4,200-year-old rock art found in Israel
Wall murals in the dolmen in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve
[Credit: Photo: Yaniv Berman/IAA]
4,200-year-old rock art found in Israel
An illustration depicting the rock art panel on the ceiling of the Shamir Dolmen Field dolmen 
[Credit: Hagit Tahan/IAA]

The dolmens – burial structures built of huge rocks – are one of the most impressive archaeological phenomena in Israel. Most researchers agree that these giant rock structures were built in the Levant Intermediate Bronze Age, 4500-4000 years ago.




Hundreds of dolmens were surveyed in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights, but to this day, the dolmens and the culture who built them never received proper attention.

4,200-year-old rock art found in Israel
The human face-like rock covering the Kiryat Shemona dolmen 
[Prof. Gonen Sharon/Tel-Hai College]
4,200-year-old rock art found in Israel
The human face-like rock in an aerial view of the Kiryat Shemona dolmen
 [Credit: Miki Peleg/IAA]

A new study by Uri Berger, Upper Galilee archaeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Prof. Gonen Sharon, head of the M.A program in Galilee studies at Tel-Hai Academic College discovered four dolmens in the Galilee and the Golan Heights, on the walls of which the builders engraved art motifs.




Paula Foley, an inspector of Israel Nature and Parks Authority, was surprised to reveal the dolmen in Yehudiya Nature Reserve. She identified engravings of animals with horns, such as – mountain goats, antelopes, and wild cows.

Other dolmens were revealed – one in Kiryat Shemona, that was designed as a human face, and another dolmen rock had engravings of a variety of geometric shapes.

This unique dolmen art exposes us to the world of ancient builders. It sheds light on their beliefs, ideals, social practices, and rituals.

Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [July 09, 2020]

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