Archaeologists uncover first evidence of Crusader camp in northern Israel

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Archaeologists excavating in northern Israel have uncovered evidence of a European Crusader encampment in the Galilee region, All Israel News (AIN) reports. The Crusaders had conducted military campaigns in the Levant to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim control between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Evidence of a transitory encampment was discovered near Tzipori Springs in Israel’s northern Galilee region, AIN said. Sources from the era record a time when a Christian army had camped in the Tzipori Springs area for around two months before a major battle against Sultan Saladin’s troops. The excavation was conducted in the area of Route 79 that connects Nazareth to the coast.

Rafael Lewis, a Haifa University researcher and senior lecturer at Ashkelon Academic College, said in a statement: “The area along Route 79 was known as the site of the Frankish encampment ahead of the battle of Hattin in 1187, as well as for other encampments by both the Crusaders and the Muslims during a period of 125 years.”

“In the site, we found different clusters of artifacts,” Lewis said. “The majority of artifacts the archaeologists uncovered were horseshoe nails, both of a local type and of a more sophisticated European type, which were prevalent closer to the springs. We saw that the closer we got to the water, the richer the material culture became.”

The findings are particularly noteworthy as they constitute the first record of transitory Crusader military camps, AIN said. The discovery has been documented in a new book called “Settlement and Crusade in the Thirteenth Century.”

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