By Hervé BarbéYoav LehrerMiriam Avissar


Ha-Bonim is located 1 km inland from the Mediterranean coast, 15 km north of Caesarea, and 7 km south of ‘Atlit (Kfar Lam). The remains of a small, trapezoidal castle are situated atop a kurkar coastal ridge, c. 30 m above sea level.

Yaqut al-Rumi (c. 1179–1229 CE) referred to the site as Kafr Lab in a geographical gazetteer compiled in 1224/1225 CE. He dated the castle’s construction to the caliph Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (724–743 CE). Frankish sources from between 1200/1201 and 1262 CE contain several references to the site. They never mention a castle, but refer to an estate (Latin casalibus or Old French casual) sold or exchanged among the lords of Caesarea and the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, or among the latter and the Order of the Temple.


V. Guérin surveyed the site in 1841 and provided the first published description of it in 1875. He described a large enclosure flanked by semicircular towers and assigned its construction to the Crusader period. The site was subsequently visited and described by C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener within the framework of the Survey of Western Palestine. P. Deschamps (1939) accepted V. Guérin’s dating. In the early 1970s, new studies by M. Benvenisti and A. Kloner considered reassigning its construction date to the Early Islamic period.

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