During March 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted at Mizpe Golany in the northern Golan Heights (Permit No. A-4404*; map ref. NIG 26477/79229; OIG 21477/29229), prior to developing the site. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Golan Regional Council, was directed by O. Zingboym, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), N. Getzov (guidance), Y. Alexandre and Y. Stepansky (pottery reading), H. Tahan (pottery drawings) and M. Sadeh (archaeozoology).
A single excavation square was opened at the top of a basalt hill, revealing a settlement layer on bedrock that dated to Iron II. Several springs located to the northwest of the hill constituted a source of water for the settlement. Most of the site was damaged in the 1960s during the construction of a Syrian military outpost; the excavation, however, was conducted in an undisturbed area. Potsherds that dated to the Iron Age and the Byzantine and Mamluk periods were collected in a survey that had previously been performed at the site (M. Hartal, 1989, The Northern Golan Heights, The Archaeological Survey as a Source of Regional History, p. 79).
The area of the square was leveled with soil and large stones to the height of the top of a large boulder that was exposed in its middle. The remains of walls, floors and a tabun
were discovered on top of the leveled surface. Part of a wall (W1) was discovered in the northwestern corner of the square. It was apparently the outer eastern wall of a building that was not excavated. A wall (W4) was exposed in the south of the square and next to it was a stone pavement (F1); both probably belonged to another building, which was mostly situated south of the square. Three stones in the northeastern corner of the square were probably part of another wall (W3) that extended beyond the excavation area. Floor bedding (L104) was discovered in the center of the square, which may have been used as a covered courtyard, as well as a few remains of a flagstone pavement with small stones between them. Several fragments of pottery vessels were discovered on the bedding and the pavement remains. A tabun
(L106; Fig. 3) was exposed on the floor bedding in the center of the square, with sheep and goat bones gathered nearby.
A large number of ceramic finds was collected in the excavation, mostly dating to Iron II (1000–750 BCE) and including bowls (Fig. 4:1–4), cooking pots (Fig. 4:6–9) and jars (Fig. 4:11–17). A few of the ceramic finds dated to other periods, including a cooking pot from the Late Bronze Age (1500–1200 BCE; Fig. 4:10), a cooking pot from Iron I (1200–1000 BCE; Fig. 4:5), a mortarium from the Persian or Hellenistic periods (Fig. 4:18), as well as potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods.
The time period of the exposed settlement layer in the excavation—Iron II—and the archaeozoological finds discovered near the tabun, which included bones of ritually pure animals, show that the settlement may have been associated with the nearby city of Dan. During this period, Dan had prospered, probably following the establishment of the administrative center of the Kingdom of Israel in the north of the country. Based on the ceramic finds, it seems that a settlement was located on the hill, as of Iron I, and perhaps even from the Late Bronze Age, until the Persian period. After a hiatus the settlement was re-established in the Roman and Byzantine periods, possibly in connection with the city of Banias.