site located on the northern Sharon plain, near an ancient crossing of the Ḥadera River, on the western branch of the Via Maris (32°28′ N, 35°01′ E; map reference 1476 × 2038). The 6-ha (15 acres) mound is composed of two spurs connected by a lower saddle. The mound's cemetery (Late Bronze II–Iron I periods) extends over a low hill 150 m west of the mound. The site was excavated by Kiyoshi Ohata on behalf of the Japanese Society for Near Eastern Research in 1964–1966 and in 1974; Moshe Kochavi was field director during the 1964–1966 seasons, and Koichito Goto was field director in 1974. Benjamin Mazar and Nadav Na'aman suggested the site's identification with DRR, number 115 in Thutmose III's topographical lists; Yohanan Aharoni proposed MKTR on the same list (MGDL YN in the Annals of Amenhotep II).
The first occupation of Tel Zeror took place at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age and the last was in the Early Roman period, but remains of not all these periods were found uniformly across the mound. Four strata were assigned to MB I, the only MB phase during which the city existed. Two superimposed city walls were excavated in various areas, which made it possible to follow most of their course. The walls had stone foundations laid on an earthen rampart. A wide moat and a two-chambered tower were found on the western side of the mound. The early city was deserted before the transitional MB I–II phase, and there was an occupation gap in MB II–III.
The Late Bronze settlement had no fortifications, but a major public building was constructed on the mound's southern spur, on whose slope coppersmiths' quarter existed throughout the period. Smelting furnaces, crucibles, clay bellows pipes, and copper slags were found there in abundance. The high percentage of Cypriot pottery found in the coppersmiths' quarter may point to Cyprus as the source of the raw material used there. Burials from the fourteenth to thirteenth centuries BCE were uncovered in the cemetery. These were individual graves cut in the soil, sometimes lined with small stones. The bodies were placed with their heads facing west. [See Burial Techniques.]
Two different types of settlement were observed for the Iron Age I. The earliest dated to the twelfth century BCE, and from it only refuse pits containing pottery sherds and animal bones were found. Several burials in collar-rim jars, exposed in the cemetery, were also attributed to this phase. In the later phase (eleventh century BCE) a brick fort with a casemate wall was built on the northern spur. The tombs in the cemetery were family graves in stone-lined cists. They contained many weapons, some copper bowls, and a unique pinched type of oil lamp. A rhyton in the shape of a lioness and a plaque figurine of a naked female were also among the rich finds from these tombs. [See Tombs; Grave Goods; Lamps.] During Iron II the settlement continued to be concentrated on the southern spur. Storehouses and pillared four-room houses were exposed, protected by a thin wall strengthened on its interior with half-meter-wide piers set at 2-m intervals. [See Four-room House.] The village well was also unearthed, on the low ground south of the northern spur. Among the finds from this period are an Aramaic inscription on a bowl that reads L'LSMK (“belonging to El-samakh”); a “Resheph” bronze figurine; a steatite bowl with a hand carved on its base; and storage jars with the letter mem inscribed on their bodies. Pits dug in the Persian period were found on the northern spur, where a farmhouse was erected in the third–second centuries BCE. The last occupation on the northern spur was an Early Roman watch-tower. The remains of the village of Khirbet et-Tell Dhurur, on the southern spur, dated to the Mamluk period.
- Aharoni, Yohanan. “Zepath of Thutmose.” Israel Exploration Journal 9 (1959): 110–122. .
- Kochavi, Moshe, et al. “Aphek-Antipatris, Tēl Pōlēg, Tēl Zerōr, and Tēl Burgā: Four Fortified Sites of the Middle Bronze IIA in the Sharon Plain.” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 95 (1979): 121–165. .
- Kochavi, Moshe. “Zeror, Tel.” In The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 4, pp. 1524–1526. Jerusalem and New York, 1993. .
- Maisler [Mazar], Benjamin. “Die westliche Linie des Meerweges.” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 58 (1935): 78–84. .
- Ohata, Kiyoshi, ed. Tel Zeror. 3 vols. Tokyo, 1966–1970. .