For half a century the ancient remains at Ramat Raḥel slumbered, without paths or signs to point out the significance of the site. People coming for a swim at the Ramat Raḥel kibbutz pool parked their cars in a lot adjacent to the ancient city and never suspected what lay so close.
On November 4, 2002, however, a festive ceremony featuring the president of Israel inaugurated the archaeological park of Ramat Raḥel on the grounds of the kibbutz.
In the new archaeological park, pathways and explanatory plaques help guide the visitor through the sometimes confusing and fragmentary remains, which date from the eighth century B.C.E. to the early Islamic period.
To recapture the grandeur that once was here and to define the outlines of the Judahite palace that is the focus of the site, Ran Morin, a sculptor born at Kibbutz Ramat Raḥel and who designed the park, erected stylized sculptures made to look like large falling building blocks at each of the presumed four corners of the ancient Judahite palace. Within the internal palace courtyard, he placed replicas of four Proto-Aeolic capitals that were found at the site—stunning examples of royal architecture from the time when the First Temple still stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, only 3 miles to the north.