En Esur

En Esur
עין אֵסוּר
Aerial photo of Tel Esur in the foreground with En Esur to the left, Highway 65 in the middleground, and Barkai in the background
En Esur is located in Israel
En Esur
En Esur
Shown in Israel
En Esur is located in Eastern Mediterranean
En Esur
En Esur
En Esur (Eastern Mediterranean)
Alternative nameEin Asawir
LocationMenashe, Haifa, Israel
RegionCanaan, Southern Levant
Coordinates32°28′55″N 35°1′10″E / 32°28′55″N 35°1′10″E / 32.48194; 35.01944
Area50 ha (120 acres)
Foundedtemple c. 5000 BCE; most of city c. 3000 BCE
AbandonedEarly Bronze Age I[1]
PeriodsPottery NeolithicEarly Bronze Age I[1]
Associated with6,000 occupants
Site notes
  • Itai Elad
  • Yitzhak Paz
  • Dina Shalem

En Esur (Hebrew: עין אֵסוּר‎; [ʕen ʔsuʁ] N eh-s-oor) or Ein Asawir (Arabic: عين الأساور‎, lit. 'Spring of the Braceletes') is an ancient site located in the northern Sharon Plain in the Israeli Coastal Plain. The site includes an archaeological mound (tell), called Tel Esur or Tell el-Asawir, another unnamed mound, and two springs, one of which gives the site its name. During the Early Bronze Age, around 3000 BCE, a massive fortified proto-city with an estimated population of 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants existed there. It was the largest city in the region, larger than other significant sites such as Tel Megiddo and Tel Jericho, but smaller than other distant sites. The city was discovered in 1977 during a salvage excavation in the site of a future water reservoir, but its massive extent was realized only during excavations in 1993. A major excavation was conducted between 2017 and 2019 ahead of the construction of a new highway interchange for the new town of Harish exposed the city's houses, streets and public structures, as well as countless pottery, tools and artifacts. An even earlier settlement with a 7,000 year-old temple was discovered below the ruins of the Bronze Age city.

Archaeologists Itai Elad and Yitzhak Paz announced the discovery of the city in 2019, calling it the "New York City of the early Bronze Age".[2]


A 1692 depiction of Canaan, by Philip Lea.

Tel Esur was known locally as a Tell el-Asawir. It appears in a map drawn by French geographer Pierre Jacotin from 1799.[3] American archaeologist and biblical scholar William F. Albright visited the site during his 1923 trip to Mandatory Palestine. He recalled the opinion of German scholar Albrecht Alt that Tel Esur is the site of an ancient city called "Yaham", mentioned in the sources of the 15th century BCE Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III, who campaigned against a coalition of Canaanite city-states, led by the king of Kadesh in Megiddo, located just north of the Menashe Heights. According to the Egyptian account, Thutmose III camped in Yaham before he marched on Megiddo to fight the Battle of Megiddo. Albright stated that the location of the site corresponds with the geographic descriptions of the Egyptian sources, and his discovery of Bronze Age pottery while surveying the mound further confirmed this identification in his opinion.[4] Today however, Yaham is identified with a site located in Kafr Yama in Zemer, some 10 kilometers south of Tel Esur.[5]

The discovery of the larger site around Tel Esur and its springs occurred in 1977, when during the digging of a water reservoir south of the mound. A salvage excavation was conducted by archaeologists Azriel Zigelman and Ram Gofna of the Tel Aviv University. They discovered two settlement layers, one from the Chalcolithic period (the last period of the Stone Age) and the Early Bronze Age. The former included the foundations of structures made of rough stones and some installations. These are dated to the early Chalcolithic (c. 6000 years ago). The latter included the foundations of massive structures made of large stones. The widest wall measured 1.7 meters wide. The pottery there is dated to the Early Bronze Age I period (3300–3000 BCE).[6]

A survey and an excavation was conducted in 1993 by Eli Yanai of the Israel Antiquities Authority. It revealed the massive extent of the site during the Early Bronze Age, as well as settlement remains from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, and sherds from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.[7]

En Esur was excavated by professional and volunteer archaeologists over two and a half years beginning in January 2017, with the research overseen by archaeologists Itai Elad and Yitzhak Paz.[1][8] The work was organized in part by the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Netivei Israel, Israel's national transportation infrastructure company.[1][8] During the process of excavation, archaeologists found a temple within the city that was built approximately 2,000 years before the rest of the site.[8]

In an announcement of their discovery, researchers called En Esur "cosmopolitan" and the "New York City of the early Bronze Age".[2]

Other Languages
العربية: تل الأساور
català: En Esur
Cebuano: Tel Esur
čeština: Tel Esur
Deutsch: En Esur
eesti: En Esur
فارسی: عین اشور
Bahasa Indonesia: En Esur
עברית: תל אסור
português: En Esur
русский: Эйн-Эсур
Tiếng Việt: En Esur