Jezreel Valley Regional Project Archaeology and History of a Regional Landscape

Geography of the Levant

Stretching along the eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, the Levant is generally a patchwork of small regions defined by small-scale topographic barriers. In very general terms, the Levant is greatly shaped by a macro-scale geological feature, the Great Rift Valley, which runs parallel to the sea along with laterally segmented ranges that are further dissected by seasonal wadis.

Northern Levant
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In the northern Levant, the Hauran Plains merge with the Damascene east of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, which are an extension of the Jordanian Plateau, and the Beq’a Valley, an extension of the Jordan Valley. To the west of these, the Lebanon Mountains rise dramatically, descending westward to the coast.

Southern Levant

In the southern Levant, the Rift Valley creates a division resulting in the Cisjordan in the west and the Transjordan in the east (modern Israel-Palestine and Jordan, respectively).

The Cisjordan may be further subdivided into three roughly longitudinal strips: the Coastal Plain(s), the Highlands and the Jordan (Rift) Valley (cf. Orni and Efrat 1964, 5ff). Westward from the Jordan Valley, the Central Highlands rise and fall southward to the Negev Desert and westward to the Shephelah, an area of rolling hills, and continue northwest forming the Carmel Ridge that extends to the Coastal Plain with a patchwork of inland valleys in the north. Eastward from the Jordan Valley, the Jordanian Plateau runs parallel to the valley and highlands to the west, and is characterised by wadis and rolling hills beyond which lie desert to the east and south, and the Hauran Plains to the northeast

Images below of the geography of Cisjordan (Israel-Palestine): (1) sub-regions of the Coastal Plain (after Orni and Efrat 1964, Fig. 20); (2) sub-regions of the hill regions (ibid, Fig. 27); and (3) regions of the Rift (ibid, Fig. 41).

(1)                                                      (2)                                                   (3)


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