site located on the northern perimeter of Ramallah, 16 km (10 mi.) north of Jerusalem on a ridge surrounded on three sides by deep valleys with perennial springs (map reference 70835 × 553305). It was, therefore, strategically located with regard to security. Radannah is not mentioned in the Bible and remains essentially anonymous. Yohanan Aharoni (1971) proposed identifying the site with biblical 'Ataroth (Jos. 16:5, 18:13), a border town between Benjamin and Ephraim.
Four seasons of excavation were conducted at the site (about 32–40 acres) between 1969 and 1974 by Joseph Callaway and Robert Cooley on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities. Its occupational history includes four phases. The earliest evidence is represented by a few Early Bronze I sherds and no definable structures. The second and third phases appear to be an Iron Age I settlement comprised of five–six structures that give evidence of their original construction and subsequent remodeling. Settlers of unknown origins seem to have arrived at the site toward the end of the thirteenth century or early twelfth century BCE, lived through two phases of village life, and then disappeared in the middle of the eleventh century BCE. Ashes and disturbed architecture indicate that this phase was terminated by a violent destruction. After a long period of abandonment there is evidence of a fourth occupational phase, during the Byzantine period. The site was excavated in three major areas (R, S, T), moving east–west.
The first and fourth phases suggest minimal human activity, whereas the second and third phases point to a well-preserved single-period site with a relatively well-developed material culture. A common feature of the Iron I settlement is the pillared house. [See Four-Room House.] A large room was divided by hewn pillars or stacked stone piers to support the roof beams, and there was a chamber at the back. Multiple chisel marks were preserved on the top and sides of the hewn pillars. Benches were built against the outer wall of the largest room, and in one case they were cut into bedrock on two sides. A hearth was located in the center of the room. Bell-shaped cisterns for water storage and silos for grain storage were regular features in the houses. These pillared houses were clustered around the top of the ridge, leaving a common open space in the middle area of the settlement that probably served as an animal enclosure and storage space for grain. Below the settlement the hillsides were shaped by agricultural terraces.
An abundance of cereal food-processing tools was found throughout the site, including large, well-worn saddles and querns, stone mortars and pestles, rubbing stones, and flint sickle blades. There is considerable evidence for primitive metalworking. Fragments of crucibles, some with slag adhering to the inside, were discovered, along with pieces of tuyeres, or bellow tips. Numerous bronze objects were identified along with three iron implements.
Other significant finds include an inscribed jar handle with three letters in Proto-Canaanite script and a large multihandled krater. A channel built into the Krater's upper wall terminated in spouts on the inside of the bowl, each of which is in the shape of a bull's head. A cultic function may be inferred. Large collar-rim storage jars were recovered throughout the site.
- Aharoni, Yohanan. “Khirbet Raddana and Its Inscription.” Israel Exploration Journal 21 (1971): 130–135. A useful discussion of the date for the inscribed jar handle and the identification of the site with biblical 'Ataroth.
- Callaway, Joseph A., and Robert E. Cooley. “A Salvage Excavation at Raddana, in Bireh.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 201 (1971): 9–19. The first synthesis of archaeological work at this site, which must be supplemented by later reports.
- Cooley, Robert E. “Four Seasons of Excavation at Khirbet Raddana.” Near Eastern Archaeological Society Bulletin, no. 5 (1975): 5–20. Features a reconstruction of the cultural pattern at the Radannah settlement.
- Cross, Frank Moore, and David Noel Freedman. “An Inscribed Jar Handle from Raddana.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 201 (1971): 19–22. A brief description of the jar handle and its chronological significance.
- Finkelstein, Israel. The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement. Jerusalem, 1988. Provides a cultural context for Radannah as a flourishing farming village in the Israelite settlement pattern.
Robert E. Cooley