Nahal Shomriya - Renen Forest: a preliminary documentary addendum


Plan number 7/470/03 (Nahal Shomriya-Renen Forest) covers only a small portion of the Besor region that forms part of the northwestern Negev...
Nonetheless, the historical processes that have taken place in Israel in the context of wider events throughout the Middle East have left their mark on the Besor region. Moreover, even within the microcosm bounded by the Blue Line, traces of ancient human civilization can be observed, and the imprint of early historical and geographical process is still stamped upon the landscape.
 
Both in the Besor region and in the more limited area around and between the Shomriya, Patish, Ofakim, Halmut, Hatzerim and Tifrah rivers, archeological remains from almost all known periods of settlement in the country have been found. The sites and remains documented in this research illuminate important chapters in the story of human settlement in the region.
 
To reach a more profound understanding of them, however, we must first describe these major historical processes and / or events and use them to examine the context of the findings and their significance. The region has its own special characteristics that have influenced the processes and events mentioned above. As it is semi-arid and located on the boundary between desert and cultivated land, all populations that have settled it throughout the ages have had to contend with the difficulties presented by this natural environment and find solutions to water-related and agricultural problems.
 
The area is also a geographical bridge between continents, with all the economic, political, logistic and military significance this has entailed throughout the different periods of its settlement. The historical and agricultural remains visible in the area are the direct product of these special characteristics, and they can be divided into four major categories: water-related sites, agricultural sites, military structures, roads and railways. All, however, share a common feature, in that, vulnerable and fragile though they be, they have become an inseparable part of the surrounding environment, and are now “cultural landscape elements,” and, indeed the very form and image of our native scene.