Korazim Plateau

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Korazim Plateau is located in Israel
Korazim Plateau
Korazim Plateau
Location of the Korazim Plateau in Israel

The Korazim Plateau (Hebrew: רמת כורזים, Ramat Korazim, also spelled Corazim), is a volcanic plateau, located in northern Israel. The plateau is bordered by the Hula Valley in the north, by the Sea of Galilee in the south, by Mount Canaan to the west and by the Jordan River to the east,[1] it is named after an ancient Jewish settlement also called Korazim, or "Chorazin".[2] Its peak is at Filon Hill, which is 409 meters above sea level.[3] According to different ways to draw its borders, it spans an area of between 80 km2 to 135 km2.

The plateau is home to a few Israeli communities, including Rosh Pinna, Hatzor HaGlilit and the Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangariyye; the plateau's rural settlements make part of the regional councils of Upper Galilee Regional, Mevo'ot HaHermon and Emek HaYarden. Several important archeological and historical sites are located on the plateau, including Tel Hazor, Daughters of Jacob Bridge, Mount of Beatitudes and Jubb Yussef. Historically the plateau also served as a transit region for the valleys to the north and south, and the heights to the east and west. Armies passed through the plateau towards the Golan during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I in 1918, the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, Six Day War and Yom Kippur War.

Geography[edit]

Relief map of Ramat Korazim with surrounding regions

The Korazim Plateau is a distinct geographical region, that is not part of either of the regions that surround it.[4] According to Yosef Stepansky from the Israel Antiquities Authority who made extensive research of the region, as well as of Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection, the borders of the plateau are the Hula Valley to the north, the Sea of Galilee to the south, the Jordan River to the east, which separates it from the Golan Heights, and to the west by Mount Canaan, as well as parts of the Safed Mountains. Stepansky measured the area of the plateau at 135 km2.[3] According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which does not include the shore of the Sea of Galilee and parts of the slopes of the mountains to the west, which Stepansky do include, the area of the plateau is 117 km2.[1] According to Mapa, which marks the northern border at the Mahanayim stream, the area of the plateau is only 80 km2.[2]

Geology[edit]

Geologically, the plateau is divided into two main sections; the southern two-thirds are covered in layers of basalt. The basalt area falls from a height of 409 meters above sea level to 210 meters below sea level at the coast of the Sea of Galilee; the basalt is aged between 1.6 and 2.9 million years in the upper part as measured near Kfar HaNassi, and 3.5 to 5 million years in the lower part as measured near the village of Korazim. Some volcanic cones were found near Tel Ruman, Filon Hill and probably also in Tel Nes and Tel Ya'af; the origin of the young basalt is probably from these volcanic cones, but the older part of the basalt is part of a big layer of basalt which also covers the Golan Heights and southern Syria. The basalt part of the plateau is very similar to the nearby Golan with its rocky landscape, the characters of the ancient settlements found there, as well as the abundance of dolmens found here; the northern third of the plateau is characterized by lower hills of limestone, conglomerate and some young basalt near Yarda. The height of this part ranges between 100 to 250 meters above sea level. On this area, the city of Hazor was established, which was an important city in ancient and biblical times; some limestone layers can also be found in around the banks of the Jordan River (such as the area of the Daughters of Jacob Bridge). The plateau is bounded by faults to the east (the Jordan River Valley) and to the west (on the slopes of Mount Canaan). Other signs of fracture in the basalt indicate recent tectonic activity in the region (which may be the cause of the Galilee earthquake of 1837.[3][5]

Water[edit]

Mahanayim River valley

The rivers of the Korazim Plateau flow eastward to the Jordan River, and southward to the Sea of Galilee; the biggest river in the region is the Rosh Pinna River, which is 13 kilometer long and has a water basin of 40 square kilometers, which flows to the Jordan. Other rivers include the Mahanayim River and Tubim River, which flow to the Jordan as well, and the Korazim River, Or River and Koach River which flow to the Sea of Galilee. Next to these rivers, there are plenty of springs, around which plenty of ancient settlements existed.[6]

Archeology[edit]

Although the Korazim Plateau is considered a peripheral area, for the most part, it was a dense region where some 100 settlements existed; the rural basalt regions in the center and south of the plateau were inhabited by semi-nomadic people. The plateau also served as a transit region for the valleys to the north and south, and the heights to the east and west.[3]

The plateau was first settled extensively during the Chalcolithic period (4th millennium BCE). Over 25 settlements were established in that period in the plateau's basalt areas; these settlements resemble the Golan Heights, Hula Valley, and the Dalton Plateau's Chalcolithic cultures, with unique rectangular houses and pottery. Through the Early Bronze Age the settlement continued to exist only in some of the Chalcolithic sites, and a few sites were formed, mostly in the northern part of the plateau. During Early Bronze Age II (3000–2700 BCE) the city of Hazor was first established, while in the rest of the plateau there were between 10 to 15 settlements. In that period there was a growth in the settlements in the southern slopes of the plateau on the shores of the Sea of Galilee; as Hazor grew to be one of Canaan's largest and most influential cities, the settlements in the Korazim Plateau became its suburban area. During Early Bronze Age III (2700–2200 BCE), the city of Hazor grew to the size of an urban settlement with an area of between 100 to 150 dunams, while all of the plateaus settlements were depopulated. During Middle Bronze Age I (2200–2000 BCE), Hazor shrank to a small village, while in the plateau there was only one settlement in Khirbet Berech. In that period hundreds of megalithic tombs called "Dolmens" were built in the southern part of the plateau. During Middle Bronze Age II (2000–1550 BCE) the size of Hazor reached its peak as a metropolis of 800 to 1000 dunams; some 15 to 20 small villages existed on the plateau during that period, most of which next to springs. In total their combined size was between 100 to 150 dunams. During the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BCE), the city of Hazor became smaller but still was the largest in Canaan at 700–800 dunams. Only two settlements existed in Tel Kinnarot and Kfar Nahum. After the Late Bronze Age collapse and during Iron Age I (1200–1000 BCE) the city of Hazor was destroyed and replaced by a semi-nomadic settlement, while the settlement in the Korazim Plateau flourished, with 10 settlements with a combined area of 100 dunams and a city in Tel Kinnarot of 100 dunams alone. Between 1000 BCE and the Assyrian conquest in 733, Hazor became a royal center, while the settlement in the plateau increased with 20 settlements, some of which were fortified and they had a combined area of 200–250 dunams.[7]

Modern settlement[edit]

Because the soil is difficult to cultivate, and there is a lack of water sources, the number of settlements is low;[2] the settlements located in the Korazim Plateau from north to south are: Ayelet HaShahar, Gadot, Mishmar HaYarden, Mahanayim, Hatzor HaGlilit, Kfar HaNassi, Rosh Pinna, Tuba-Zangariyye, Elifelet, Karkom, Ami'ad, Korazim, Almagor and Amnun. All of the settlements are Jewish and rural, except for the Bedouin-Muslim town of Tuba-Zangariyye.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ramat Korazim". Ministry of Environmental Protection.
  2. ^ a b c "Ramat Korazim". Mapa.
  3. ^ a b c d Stepansky, 2008, p.271
  4. ^ Stepansky, 2002, p.5
  5. ^ Stepansky, 2002, p.11
  6. ^ Stepansky, 2002, pp.12–13
  7. ^ Stepansky, 2008, pp.275–282

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]