Mi‘ilya: Evidence of an Early Crusader Settlement
By Edna J. Stern
‘Atiqot, Vol. 70 (2012)
Abstract: A salvage excavation carried out on the upper hill of the village of Mi‘iliya exposed remains from the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Crusader period. Fifty-six diagnostic sherds, dating to the Crusader period, were found in a pit. Most of them represent local Crusader types, with a few belonging to imported types. The chronological range of the Crusader-period pottery dates from the mid-twelfth to the early thirteenth centuries CE.
Introduction: The village of Mi‘ilya is situated approximately 20 km northeast of ‘Akko, on the hills of the western Galilee, above the southern bank of Nahal Keziv. Most of the village houses are built on two hills, with a Crusader fortress located on the upper hill. Although remains of the settlement and fortifications that are visible on the surface have been studied in the past, no Crusader-period remains were previously excavated at Mi‘ilya. During July and August 2007, a salvage excavation was carried out on the upper hill of Mi‘iliya, between the present-day Greek Catholic church and the Crusader fortress, in preparation for development of the area by the local community.
The excavation consisted of one square, yielding remains from the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Crusader period. As this is the first excavation of Crusader remains at Mi‘ilya, the scanty elements exposed here are very important for understanding the development of the site during this period, and allowing the comparison of excavation data with previously collected information from surveys and historical studies.