In September 2012, the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage (DACH) conducted four weeks of excavations at the site of Tell al-Ḥassan, located circa 500 m north of Jericho’s city center, adjacent the Arab Bank.
Before the recent excavations by the Department of Antiquities, Tell al-Ḥassan was the subject of archaeological investigation in 1934, after a farmer discovered by chance a mosaic pavement in the course of digging a drainage canal. This led to excavations by Dimitri Baramki, under the aegis of the Mandatory Department of Antiquities. In an article published in 1936, Baramki discusses two strata of occupation, Byzantine and early Islamic. A basilica that is 25 m long by 20 m wide, with a central nave and two lateral aisles highlights the Byzantine period.
The THP'12 season was carried out just south of the basilica discovered by Baramki. Overall, the project continues the Department of Antiquity’s commitment to the systematic exploration of Byzantine and early Islamic Jericho, a period that remains enigmatic especially because of a paucity of reliable historical sources.
At the foot of Jebal Qaruntal (Mt. of Temptation) and west of Tell al-Sultan lies a large sugar mill complex. Dr. Hamdan Taha of the Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage began to clear and excavate the installations of this important medieval industry in 2000. The artifacts recovered during this research closely correspond with the historical documentation of sugar procession in Jericho during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods (ca. 1100 - 1300). This activity was contemporary with the final occupation, period 4, of the palace at Khirbet al-Mafjar.
See Taha, H. Some aspects of Sugar Production, Jericho, Jordan valley, published in A Timeless vale: Archaeological and related Essays on the Jordan Valley in honour of Gerrit van der Kooij on the Occasion of this Sixty-fifth Birthday. Leiden, Leiden University, 2009.
A second project for Khirbet al-Mafjar, entitled "Archaeological Landscape Survey of Khirbat al-Mafjar region, Jericho," is directed by Dr. Mahmoud Hawari, Assistant Professor at Birzeit University, in cooperation with the University College London (UCL). A preliminary report may be found in " Archaeological landscape survey at Khirbet al-Mafjar -- 2009 and 2010," Bulletin of the Council for British Research in the Levant 5.1 (2010), 21-32.
More detail: http://www.birzeit.edu/news/20749/news
Among the original surveys was that of J.F. Bliss, the same year that he described Khirbet al-Mafjar. An Italian mission connected with the University of Rome "La Sapienza" has conducted research with the Department of Antiquities of Palestine from 1997 until 2008. This research has been especially concerned with the early Bronze Age II occupation (3000-2700 BC). In Area H, a small house of the Byzantine period (mid-6th c) was uncovered; this seem to be the latest occupation on the ancient mound.
In more recent years research has been augmented with restorations and site enhancement for tourist interpretation and preservation. Site management and sustainable development have been the focus of conferences under the leadership of Dr. Lorenz Nigro and Dr. Hamdan Taha.
More detail: http://www.lasapienzatojericho.it/index.htm