small site in the northeastern corner of modern Israel (map reference 2105 × 2869). The site was first excavated between 1968 and 1973 by the Museum of Art and Archaeology of the University of Missouri, under the directorship of Saul Weinberg. These excavations revealed evidence for occupation from the Early Bronze II period through the first century BCE. The remains of the Late Hellenistic era were the best preserved and were striking for the numbers of imported luxury products—fragments of thousands of cast-glass bowls and the red-gloss pottery known as Eastern Sigillata A, as well as hundreds of mold-made lamps and coins of Tyre and Sidon. The principal building uncovered was lavishly decorated with gilded and painted stucco in the manner of the Hellenistic buildings on Delos. Indeed, the variety of finds led Weinberg to speculate that the Late Hellenistic settlement might have been a trade emporium providing amenities for those plying the caravan route from Damascus to Tyre and that was abandoned, never to be reoccupied, when the campaigns of Alexander Jannaeus made the area too dangerous for trade. Study seasons between 1974 and 1977 cast some doubts on these hypotheses and led to the reopening of the site for a second series of excavations between 1978 and 1986. This series was jointly sponsored by the Missouri Museum and the Kelsey Museum of the University of Michigan with Sharon Herbert and Weinberg serving as co-directors. The excavations were funded by the sponsoring universities, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and private donors. The first of three projected volumes of final reports on the site appeared In 1994 (Herbert et. al., 1994). There is still no evidence for the ancient name of the settlement. G. Fuks (Scripta Classica Israelica, 1979–1980, pp. 178–184) has argued it to be Arsinoe of Coele-Syria. Arguments against this identification appear in Tel Anafa (vol. 1.i, p. 10, note 25).

The second series of excavations at Tel Anafa focused on two issues: the form and function of the Late Hellenistic stuccoed building, only a corner of which had been exposed in the first series; and the date of the final phase of occupation in antiquity. Study had shown substantial numbers of early Roman artifacts at the site but no clearly Roman buildings. With the exposure of more than 50 percent of the stuccoed building by 1986, it was established that this structure was modeled after Greek peristyle private houses. Significant variations from the prototype include Phoenican masonry techniques, an elaborate bath complex, and its large size. All these variations might be attributed to lingering Phoenician customs of the residents of nearby Tyre into whose territory the Late Hellenistic site can be argued to fall. Tyrians are, in fact, the most likely candidates to have built and lived in the structure now thought to be a private country villa rather than a trade center. The Roman occupation was also clarified with the exposure of eleven small dwellings datable to the first century CE. Unlike the Hellenistic remains, the Roman levels showed little evidence of contact with Tyre but were much more closely connected with the economy of the Galilee and Herod Philip's nearby capital of Caesarea Philippi. In summary, the richness of the site and controlled stratigraphic contexts of the finds allow Tel Anafa to serve as a Hellenistic type-site for the Levant, presenting a broader and more closely dated range of Hellenistic artifacts than ever before possible. Its location in the border area between Phoenicia, the Galilee, and the Golan also makes it an important site for studying changing interactions between Greeks, Phoenicians, Ituraeans, and Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman eras.

[See also Galilee, article on Galilee in the Hellenistic through Byzantine Periods; Golan; Phoenicians; and Tyre.]


  • Fuks, Gideon. “Tel Anafa: A Proposed Identification.” Scripta Classica Israelica 5 (1979–1980): 178–184.
  • Herbert, Sharon C. “The Greco-Phoenician Settlement at Tel Anafa: A Case Study in the Limits of Hellenization.” In Biblical Archaeology Today, 1990: Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Biblical Archaeology, Jerusalem, June–July 1990, edited by Avraham Biran and Joseph Aviram. Jerusalem, 1993.
  • Herbert, Sharon C., et al. Tel Anafa I: Final Report on Ten Years of Excavation at a Hellenistic and Roman Settlement in Northern Israel. 2 vols. Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series, 10.1. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1994. Includes an introduction and chapters on occupational history and stratigraphy, stamped amphora handles, coins, a Tyrian sealing, the geological setting, and vertebrate fauna.
  • Naveh, Joseph. “Unpublished Phoenician Inscriptions from Palestine.” Israel Exploration Journal 37 (1987): 25–30.
  • Weinberg, Saul S. “Tel Anafa: The Hellenistic Town.” Brochure for an excavation exhibit, Rockefeller Museum. Jerusalem, 1970.
  • Weinberg, Saul S. “Tel Anafa: The Hellenistic Town.” Israel Exploration Journal 21 (1971): 86–109.

Sharon C. Herbert