Biblical Tamar - Ein Hatseva (En Haseva) Israel
Archaeological Site in the Arava.
Pictures & Comment by Bob Joki
Saratoga Springs NY USA

During November 2007 I made two trips to Ein Hatseva Israel and stayed at the archaeological park known as Biblical Tamar. I initally spent a week there with Tom Brown & his daughter Bethany at the facility maintained by Blossoming Rose - a group which cares for the site on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Tom & I had met a year earlier while camping at an archaeological dig in Tiberias. He had worked at Tamar a number of times in the past and I was anxious to see it for myself.

The site is located in the Arava, off the main road (Route 90) to Eilat, about an hour south of the Dead Sea. The border with Jordan is not much more than 5KM due east. The "town" is called Ein Hatseva but really there's just a gas station restaurant/bus stop in the vast desert (some would call it the middle of no-where). After you step off the Egged bus which runs between Jerusalem & Eilat you must walk roughly a mile across the desert to get to the park.

As site caretaker, Blossoming Rose has a few caravans (house trailers) set up nearby for the occasional guest and the workers/volunteers staying there. My initial visit with Tom and Bethany lasted about a week. During this period, we worked on various projects each day but had plenty of time during off hours to explore the facinating landscape surrounding the park.

With the week ending I headed back to Jerusalem for Shabbat while they took off to see the Pyramids of Egypt. A few days later they returned to Jerusalem and the 3 of us headed north by bus. We rented a car in Tiberias and looked for a place to camp along the Kinneret (Galilee) - not finding any campgrounds open we settled on the "abondoned" beach at Sussita. Each day we wondered if we'd be kicked out but luckily the week passed without having to relocate. That week we traveled the north and saw much of the Golan including a number of it's archaeological sites.....this part of our journey will be subject for another website.

Returning to Jerusalem for Shabbat again we parted and they returned to the US. Having found Tamar such a great place, I phoned the site and asked if I could return during the following week. I did - and had another memorable couple days. Unfortunately, I haven't been back to Tamar......but one of these days soon I hope to stay there again.

*********************************************************************************************

My first two photos show the entrance to the park
and signage giving a brief history of the site.


***********************************


***********************************

The next few scenes on the tell show various ruins uncovered during excavations at the site.


***********************************


***********************************


***********************************

Next two photos show part of the bath complex.



***********************************

Beyond the ruins you see a couple of the caravans maintained by Blossoming Rose.


***********************************

Ancient jujube tree - believed to be one of the oldest trees in Israel.
Many visitors stop by specifically to see this landmark tree.


***********************************

West of the site lies the Zin Desert.
About a mile out is a mesa known to some as "Prayer Mountain"


***********************************

The mesa is an inviting spot and although it initially seems very far away,
it's really a short walk through the desert.


***********************************

Looking back at the site before reaching the mesa we turn & see
the lone building on top of the tell. It's from the Bristish mandate period.


***********************************

Climbing the mesa you look back and see a "tiny" Tamar
surrounded by its patch of greenery.
In the backgound haze are the mountains of western Jordan.


***********************************

Bethany and Tom at sunrise over Israel.


***********************************

On top of the mesa in the early morn.


***********************************

The sun paints an ever changing scene as it rises.


***********************************

A few of us woke up around 5am to enjoy the sight.


***********************************

I ventured onto a projecting spur but the cracks I noticed in the ground kept the moment brief.


***********************************

The spice route from Biblical times - southern entrance into Tamar.
This ancient main road was used by camel caravans traveling between Eilat and Jerusalem and beyond.


***********************************

Tom & I would walk it each day after working ....for a little liquid refreshment.


***********************************

....then we'd walk back for a late afternoon siesta.


***********************************

Wandering the desert one day I came upon this accumulation.
There was an interesting textured look to the discarded cans.
Likely left by soldiers who camped nearby & practiced their manuevers.


***********************************

Camel bones bleached by the sun.


***********************************

Colorful plantings courtesy of Blossoming Rose and other benefactors.


***********************************

During my second stay I helped weed them.
Drip irrigation nourishes not just the flowers but the ever present nusant growth.


***********************************


***********************************


***********************************

I wish I could remember everyone's name
- all the others were there on extended stays, tending to work around the park...
...everyting from goundswork, to cooking & cleaning,
doing electrical work, fixing the vehicles ++++



***********************************

The heavens provided a dramatic sunset on my last evening at Tamar.


***********************************


***********************************

If I remember right that's Dave & Marge on a small hill just west of the site.


***********************************

***********************************

Shaina Ettel & I say goodbye to Tom & Bethany
the evening before they headed back to Texas.


***********************************
Click here for photo's of archaeological dig at Tiberias, Israel .

Click here to see us at Disney World, Jan 2009.

Click for our views of the Jerusalem Shuk - Mahane Yehuda.

Return to our home page.

"Email Me"