The excavation of the Templar fortress at Jacob's ford (1993-2009): in memory of Professor Ronnie Ellenblum

Kate Raphael, Amotz Agnon, Reuven Amitai, Miriam Belmaker, Uri Berger, Ronnie Ellenblum, Robert Kool, Nili Liphschitz, Shmuel Marco, Hadas Motro, Yossi Nagar, Rivka Rabinovich, Yael D. Arnon, Ron Kehati, Emma Miller, Piers Mitchell, Assaf Peretz

Research output: Book/ReportBook


"Construction of the Templar fortress at Jacob's Ford on the Jordan River began in October 1178 as part of the Frankish array of forts established to assert control over important roads and agrarian hinterlands. As such they comprised a threat to the Muslim polities surrounding the Latin Kingdom. The Templar fortress at Jacob's Ford was never completed, for in the spring and summer of 1179 Saladin laid siege upon it and in August 1179 the fortress fell. The excavation of the fortress, initiated by Professor Ronnie Ellenblum of the Hebrew University, revealed extensive and evocative evidence of the fortress' construction and demise. The narrow bracket of its timeframe makes the site an important chronological marker -- a snapshot of medieval Levantine history. Moreover, the contemporaneous historical sources supplement the archaeological data creating a dialectic between the two founts of information. This volume first presents and analyzes the historical sources and the geopolitics of Crusader-Muslim interaction in the Levant, as the background to the fortress' construction and destruction. Following this it delves into its construction techniques and then into a close analysis of Saladin's siege and the culminating battle. Subsequent chapters deal with the later Mamluk village and its material culture, the faunal assemblage (especially the horses that were killed in the battle for the fortress), the botanical remains, the forensic anthropology of the human remains -- those killed in battle, the weapons, the tools, the pottery and the coins found in the construction and destruction debris. The penultimate chapter is a fascinating account of the relationship between the well dated archaeological remains and the geological fault along the Syria-African rift, upon which the fortress was constructed. The final archaeological chapter is an account of what occurred at the site in World War I. " --
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationJerusalem
PublisherNelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology
Number of pages399
ISBN (Print)087820511X, 9780878205110
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAnnual of the Hebrew Union College/Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology
PublisherNelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology


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