Tel Kedesh (Galilee)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

  • This article is a stub as it does not provide effective content depth for the core subject discussed herein. We're still working to expand it, if you'd like to help with it you can request expansion. This tag should be removed, once the article satisfies the content depth criteria.
    What is this?

  • This article is undergoing or requires copyediting. Once done, this tag should be removed.

Tel Kedesh (also spelled as Cadesh or Cydessa) is an ancient Canaanite archaeological tel site in Upper Galilee, occupying an area of about 20-25 acres. It is located some 10 kilometers northwest of Hazor. It has been identified with the biblical Kedesh of Nephtali, mentioned in the Book of Judges (4:6, 10), but this is still debated.


Kedesh was first documented in the Book of Joshua as a Canaanite citadel conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Ownership of Kedesh was turned over by Lot to the tribe of Naphtali and subsequently, at the command of God, Kedesh was set apart by Joshua as a Levitical city and one of the Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron) (Joshua 20:7).

Situated in one of the richest agricultural zones of modern Israel/Palestine, the area of Kedesh and the Upper Galilee has been home since antiquity to a tapestry of cultural and ethnic groups, from the Israelite tribe of Naphtali to Phoenicians from the nearby city of Tyre.


circa 1950 CE

A small Palestinian village, known by its Arabic name Qadas (قدس) existed at the site until it was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It was one of the seven Shia Muslim villages, called Metawalis, that fell within the boundaries of British Mandate Palestine, and lay adjacent to al-Nabi Yusha', near the tel of the Biblical city of Kedesh Naftali. Under the rule of the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate in the 10th century CE, Qadas was a town in Jund al-Urrdun ("District of Jordan"). Qadas was occupied by Israeli forces during Operation Yiftach on 28 May 1948.


circa 1950 CE

Tel Kedesh and its environs are demonstrably rich in remains from the Early Bronze Age to modern times. The University of Michigan/University of Minnesota Excavations at Tel Kedesh began in 1997 to investigate material evidence for Phoenician presence in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. After two exploratory and survey seasons and seven excavation seasons, the team has uncovered evidence of a monumental administrative building dating to the Persian (6th-4th centuries BCE) and Hellenistic (3rd-first half 2nd) periods. The discovery of over 2000 clay seal impressions, or bullae, in 1999 and a Ptolemaic gold coin minted in Cyprus in 2010 attest to the prominence and wealth of Kedesh in the regional landscape.

See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Starting in November 2023 we will be publishing a monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy