The intriguing dolmen, which is believed to date back over 4,000 years, was found near Kibbutz Shamir in Upper Galilee by Professor Gonen Sharon of Tel Hai College’s Galilee Studies Program.
Thousands of dolmens ( single-chamber megalithic tombs typically surrounded by piles of stones ) have been discovered across the Middle East over the years.
“The engraved shapes depict a straight line going to the center of an arc,” said study partner Uri Berger. “No parallels exist for these shapes in the engraved rock drawings of the Middle East and their significance remains a mystery.”
“The three-dimensional scan enabled us to identify engravings that otherwise could not be seen with the naked eye,” said Prof. Lior Grossman, the laboratory director. “The chamber inside the dolmen, where the engravings were found on its ceiling, is large, measuring two by three meters, and the stone covering it is also huge, weighing an estimated 50 tons at least. This is one of the largest stones ever used in the construction of dolmens in the Middle East.”
“It bears witness to the existence of a significant and established governmental system in the region during the ‘Middle Ages’ of the Bronze Age,” Grossman said. “Archeologists tend to interpret the past based on material finds. The absence of cities, large settlements and monumental buildings attests to the collapse of the governmental and economic systems during a dark period in history.
The dolmen field at Kibbutz Shamir was first surveyed by the late Moshe Kagan in the 1950s. More than 400 huge structures overlooking the Hula Valley have been identified in the field.