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Archaeology The ancient mound of Afula, known as Tel 'Afula, is close to the city center, west of Route 60 and south of Ussishkin Street. Very little of the initial six-acre tell remains due to construction work done in this area since the British Mandate period. The southern peak of the mound is the better preserved part. It was once widely considered to be the biblical site of Ophrah, the hometown of the judge Gideon,<ref name="100 Off-the-Beaten-Path Sites"></ref> but contemporary scholars generally disagree with this supposition. Archaeological finds date from the Chalcolithic through the Byzantine period, followed by remains from the Crusader and Mamluk periods.
The first excavations at Tel ‘Afula, carried out in 1948, found Late Chalcolithic–Early Bronze Age remains. Tombs from the Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age II, Late Bronze Age–Iron Age I and Roman period were discovered near the municipal water tower. Archaeologists discovered the Crusader-Mamluk fortress on the southern peak of the tell, a Byzantine olive press and evidence of an Early Bronze Age settlement near the northern peak.<ref name="Tel Afula final report">Feig, 2012, Tel Afula final report</ref>
In 1950–1951, excavations on the northwestern slope of the peak revealed a pottery workshop for Tell el-Yahudiyeh Ware from Middle Bronze Age II and another pottery workshop from Middle Bronze Age I.<ref name="Tel Afula final report"/>
From the 1990s, several small excavations unearthed an uninterrupted sequence of settlement remains from the Chalcolithic until the Late Byzantine periods as well as remains from the Mamluk period.<ref>Dalali-Amos, 2008, ‘Afula Final Report</ref>
In 2012, excavations were conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority on the southern peak of Tel Afula where the Crusader-Mamluk fortress is located. Due to construction activity from the 1950s, settlement layers on the tell may have been destroyed. Only meager remnants were found, indicative of a settlement from Early Bronze Age I and the Roman period. Pottery from Early Bronze Age III, Iron Age I and a single Hellenistic Attic fragment indicate settlement on the tell in these periods. Fragments of glazed bowls from the thirteenth century were found along the southern edge of the excavation.<ref name="Tel Afula final report"/>
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