>  Top Tour Destinations in the Shephela   >  Tel Yarmuth – A Canaanite-era Egyptian City


Perched on a hill in the heart of the Judean lowlands (the Shephelah), Tel Yarmuth (also spelled Jarmuth) is a significant archaeological site from Canaanite times, especially from the Early Bronze Age. It is 18 miles southwest of Jerusalem and 3 miles south of Beth Shemesh.

Yarmuth in the Bible

The Book of Joshua records the Canaanite king of Jerusalem calling the king of Yarmuth and other kings to join forces against Joshua and the Israelites. However, Joshua defeated the Canaanites and slaughters the kings (Joshua 10). Later, Yarmuth was included in the lot of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:35). During the return from Babylon Jews settled Yarmuth again (Nehemiah 11:29).

Excavations at Tel Yarmuth

The location of Yarmuth is preserved by its Arabic name –  khirbet el-Yarmuk. It is a 20-acre site with a 3-acre size acropolis. Excavations at the site uncovered significant remains from the Early Bronze Age, including a 1.5-acre palace influenced by Egyptian architecture. This seems to indicate Yarmuth was an Egyptian-Canaanite center about 5,000 years ago. The acropolis was also settled in the 13th century BCE and up to Byzantine times.

Touring Tel Yarmuth

The site is open year-round and is free of charge. A red-marked hiking trail leads to the site’s summit from Ramat Beth Shemesh’s main road. The archaeological remains are mostly fortifications from Canaanite times. It is best to visit the site in the spring when the spring blooms cover it with lush green grass and wildflowers. A modern Ultra-organic city has been built around the site in recent years.

A tour of Tel Yarmuth can be combined with a guided day tour in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah).

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