Tel Afek

Tel Afek, is an archaeological site located in the coastal hinterland of the Ein Afek Nature Reserve, east of Kiryat Bialik, Israel. It is also known as Tel Kurdani.

At this site is what remains of the ancient town of Aphik, which is mentioned in Joshua 19:30 as belonging to the Tribe of Asher. The name is apparently derived from the nearby abundant springs afikim in Hebrew.

During the Hellenistic period the city expanded northwards and grew into a large area that reached the springs, and the city continued to be in use in the Roman period.

In Crusader times, the northern area was fortified to protect the route to Nazareth. In this era, it was known as Recordane, and in 1154, the mill and village were acquired the Hospitalliers. Between 1235 and 1262 the Hospitalliers had a dispute with the Templars about water rights. In 1283 it was still part of the Crusader states, as it was mentioned as part of their domain in the hudna between the Crusaders based in Acre and the Mamluk sultan Qalawun. There is a two-story fortress which still stands at the site where a water-powered flour mill operated on the lower floor.

The town became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1517 and is mentioned by the name Kufrdani in the census of 1596, located in the Nahiya of Acca of the Liwa of Safad. The village was noted as ‘hali’ ie empty, but taxes were paid, a total of 1,800 Akçe. The stair to the tower roof of the mill, and two more wheel-chambers in the southern part of the mill were added in the Ottoman period.

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund’s Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) found at Khurdaneh east of the mill only piles of stones. In 1900, Gottlieb Schumacher found here markings on the mill which he took to be Phoenician.

In 1925 a Zionist organisation purchased Kordaneh, from Alfred Sursuk, of the Sursuk family of Beirut for the sum of 1,500 dunums. At the time, there were 20 families living there. In the 1931 census of Palestine, Mathanat Kurdani was counted under Shefa-‘Amr.

The Ein Afek nature reserve was declared in 1979 and covers 366 dunams. An additional

300 dunams were added in 1994. The highlights of the park include the Crusader fortress and the natural water canals and lake, which draw their waters from the year-long flowing springs of Afek, which are the source of the Naaman river.