The Montfort Castle Project was established in 2006. with the aim of studying the history of the castle, carrying out archaeological excavations, planning and carrying out conservation work and restoration, and preparing a plan for development of the castle and its surroundings as a heritage site. Four years of surveying were carried out funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF grant no. 1161/06) and a new plan of the central part of the castle was drawn up (surveyors Dov Podovski and Slava Pirsky).
Since 2011 four seasons of excavations have been carried out in three different parts of the castle (see EXCAVATIONS) and over the next few years additional seasons are planned, mainly in the lower part of the castle, the outer ward, and around the outworks.
New historical studies are underway including re-examination of Latin sources (Kristjan Toomaspoeg) and entirely new research based on Arabic sources (Rabei Khamisy) , and will be published in a forthcoming volume - MONTFORT CASTLE: History, Early Research and Recent Studies (Brill).
Conservation work has been carried out by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority (INNPPA). The MCP has carried out conservation in the areas excavated since 2011 (conservation by ARCO L.t.d.) and has recorded the condition of the ruins with the aim of preparing a master plan for future conservation.
The location of Montfort Castle in a national park and in an area of virginal Mediterranean forest with its unique flora and fauna, including some plants and animals found only in this region, makes it imperative that conservation of the natural forest life be taken into account in all archaeological and development work carried out. The preservation of the natural setting and of the romantic nature of the ruins with the native forest is an integral part of the MCP's aims.
the castle keep
The keep viewed from the south.
chamber in the central wing
Chamber in the central wing (chamber E) facing west.
fallen keystone from the Great Hall
Fallen keystone from the Great Hall
central domestic wing
Central domestic wing from the keep facing west.
excavations Summer of 2011
Excavations in the Great Hall
round tower on the outer north wall
round tower on the outer north wall
building below the castle
Mill and first floor hall and tower below the castle on the south bank of Nahal Kziv
Gate on the northern outer wall
Gate and machicolation on the outer wall at the north-west, facing south
gate tower of the inner defenses
Gate tower seen from the south-east
Second season, Spring 2012
Second season of excavations, Spring 2012. View of the join between two sections of the outer defenses, facing south, with a small section of repair wall between.
excavations Summer of 2011 (2)
Excavations in the Great Hall (2)
Third season, Summer 2012
Beginning of the season, August 2012
In the past several plans were made for developing the site but very little has been done to date. The MCP aims at advancing plans for development of the site as a national and international heritage site, including the opening of new paths, placing of information signs, preparing guides etc.
Prof. Adrian Boas - Project Director
Department of Archaeology/Department of Land of Israel Studies,
University of Haifa
Dr. Rabei Khamisy - Assistant
post-doctorate, University of Cardiff
Dr. Rafael Lewis - Assistant
post-doctorate, Tel-Aviv University
Dr. Robert Kool - Numismatist
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA)
Adrienne Ganor - Glass Conservation
MA candidate, University of Haifa, Head of Glass Conservation lab of the IAA
Jonathan Gottlieb - Plaster and Mortar Studies
MA candidate, University of Haifa
Nuha Agha - Fauna Research
Ph.D candidate, University of Haifa
Vartdit Shotten-Hallel - Stone Research
Ph.D candidate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem