Ohalo II: A 23,000-Year-Old Fisher-Hunter-Gatherers' Camp on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee
Curator: Dani Nadel

The exhibition "Ohalo II: A 23,000-Year-Old Fisher-Hunter-Gatherers' Camp on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee," is devoted to finds recovered from a prehistoric site on the shore of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The excavations that took place at the site between 1989 and 1991 and again from 1998-2001 were directed by Dr. Dani Nadel of the University of Haifa. The discovery of the site was a byproduct of the decrease in the water level in recent years, following long periods of drought in the country. The lower water level exposed the remains of the camp that until then had been submerged. The site is located at a height of 212/213 meters below sea level, about 3-4 meters below water level when the lake is full.
The finds that were revealed while exposing the 23,000-year-old camp are impressive in both preservation and quality. The remains of six brush huts, the oldest of their kind ever found, were revealed at the site. Also discovered were a grave, hearths and other installations. The area of the site is more than 2,000 square meters. The finds indicate that there were many water level fluctuations in the past, some reaching several meters.
The purpose of the exhibition at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa is to present these unique finds, which will be studied for several years to come, as close as possible to the time when they were found; this allows the public to take part in the experience of the discovery.
The exhibition includes reconstruction of a brush hut, a variety of consumed foods, as well as evidence of past technologies and beliefs. The exhibition also reconstructs the natural environment – the fauna, flora, past water levels in the Jordan Valley lakes, geology, and climate of the area during the last Ice Age.
This exhibition is the first at the Hecht Museum to focus on a prehistoric theme. It presents to the public the unique characteristics of a prehistoric excavation and the relevant laboratory research. The visitor has the opportunity to experience an excavation and to become acquainted with a variety of laboratory studies in the fields of archaeology, dating, botany, zoology and geology.
View a short video of the exhibition Ohalo