A Paleodemographic Study of the Population of Jindās, a Mamluk- and Early Ottoman-Period Village in Palestine

Vered Eshed, Ron Toueg, Shahar Krispin, Israel Antiquities Authority
ISSN 2788-5151
Open Access Journal

Abstract

العربية
עברית
English

Bayyārat Shannīr is one of Lydda’s most recognizable neighborhoods in the eyes of the general public. However, its rich social and architectural history has yet to receive sufficient scholarly attention. In this article, the second of our series about the Bayyāras (orchard\well houses) in Lydda (Sasson 2019a), we seek to enrich the recent academic work about the modern history of Lydda by presenting a local micro-historical case study. Our sources include relevant academic publications in Arabic, Hebrew and English, diverse archival sources, a field survey of the site and oral testimonies gathered from the elderly residents of Lydda. In our discussion, we trace the history of land uses around Bayyārat Shannīr on the western margin of Lydda’s Late Ottoman plantation (krum) belt. Next, we trace its establishment by Ahmad Shannīr, an orange grove owner from Jaffa, to the beginning of the British Mandate. As an agricultural estate, Bayyārat Shannīr exemplifies the expansion of the city of Lydda beyond its historical core. Subsequently, we point to the combination of circumstances in which the orchard became a haven for internally-displaced Arab people from the Abu Kishk Tribe, originally from the Yarkon River (Nahr al-‘Auja) basin, and from south of Israel\Palestine. Finally, the article addresses the interplay between the physical arrangement of the neighborhood and the enduring social constructs of kinship, patronage and protection in the shadow of socio-economic and political upheavals throughout the twentieth century.

בשנת 2014 נחפר בחלקו בית הקברות של הכפר החרב גִ’נְדַאס (בשדות המושב גינתון). חפירת ההצלה, בניהולו של רון טואג, מטעם רשות העתיקות, התקיימה לצורך מתן היתר להנחת צינור גז בתחום האתר. הכפר תוארך לסוף תקופת שלטון הממלוכים ולראשית התקופה העות’מאנית. בבית הקברות נחפרו קברים רבים, בהם זוהו שרידי שלדים של 90 פרטים, השייכים לאוכלוסיית הכפר, שהייתה אוכלוסייה חקלאית. מדגם הפרטים הגדול אפשר בפעם הראשונה מחקר מעמיק באוכלוסייה כפרית מהתקופה הממלוכית וראשית התקופה העות’מנית בארץ. המדגם כלל 90  פרטים, בהם 44 בוגרים ו-46 ילדים וצעירים. במחקר נעשתה השוואה בין אוכלוסיית הכפר גִ’נְדאס, המייצגת אוכלוסייה כפרית חקלאית, ובין אוכלוסייה עירונית מאותה התקופה, שקבריה נחפרו בבית הקברות של ממילא, בירושלים. מניתוח הנתונים אפשר לראות שתוחלת החיים בעיר הייתה גבוהה יותר מזאת שבכפר. שכיחות התמותה בקרב הילדים, עד גיל עשר שנים, כפי שהיא באה לידי ביטוי בבית הקברות של הכפר, הייתה גבוהה במיוחד והגיעה כמעט לכדי 50% מכלל הנקברים. נמצאה תמותה גבוהה יחסית של נקבות ביחס לזכרים בגילאי הבוגרים, והיא קשורה, ככל הנראה, לתמותת נשים בשנות הפוריות כתוצאה מסיכון ומסיבוכים בזמן הריון ולידה. במסגרת המחקר נבחנו נתונים דמוגרפיים אחרים, כגון: תוחלת החיים בזמן הלידה, הגיל הממוצע של הזכרים ושל הנקבות בזמן המוות, וכן נתונים השוואתיים בין האוכלוסייה הכפרית מגִ’נְדַאס לאוכלוסייה העירונית בירושלים.

تعتبر Bayyārat Shannir واحدة من أكثر الأحياء شهرة في ليديا لعامة الناس. ومع ذلك ، فإن تاريخه الاجتماعي والمعماري الغني لم يلقَ اهتمامًا علميًا كافيًا بعد. في هذه المقالة ، وهي الثانية في سلسلتنا حول البياريات (البستان / بيوت الآبار) أثناء الولادة (ساسون 2019 أ) ، نسعى لإثراء أحدث الأعمال الأكاديمية حول التاريخ الحديث للولادة من خلال عرض حالة تاريخية دقيقة محلية. تشمل مصادرنا المنشورات الأكاديمية ذات الصلة باللغات العربية والعبرية والإنجليزية ، ومصادر أرشيفية متنوعة ، ومسح موقع على الموقع وشهادات شفوية تم جمعها من سكان اللد المسنين. في مناقشتنا ، نتتبع تاريخ استخدامات الأراضي في منطقة بيارات شنير على الأطراف الغربية لحزام المزارع العثماني المتأخر في ليديا (العثمانية). بعد ذلك نتابع تأسيسه على يد أحمد سنير صاحب بستان برتقال من يافا حتى بداية الانتداب البريطاني. بصفتها عقارًا زراعيًا ، تجسد بيارات شنير توسع مدينة اللد إلى ما وراء قلبها التاريخي. بعد ذلك نشير إلى مزيج من الظروف التي أصبح فيها البستان ملاذاً للنازحين العرب من قبيلة أبو كشك ، وهم في الأصل من حوض نهر اليركون (نهر العوجا) ، ومن جنوب إسرائيل / فلسطين. أخيرًا ، تتناول المقالة التفاعل بين الترتيب المادي للحي والهياكل الاجتماعية المستمرة للتقارب والمحسوبية والحماية في ظل الاضطرابات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية طوال القرن العشرين.

The article

The village of Jindās is located in the Lod Valley region, north of the ancient city of Lydda (Lod), east of the channel of the Ayalon River. The archaeological survey conducted at the site identified archeological remains from the Early Islamic period (Gophna and Beit-Arieh 1997: 73, Site 159).

Fig. 1: Location map (prepared by A. Delarsohn, IAA)

West of Jindās, over the Ayalon River, stands the Lod Bridge, also known as Jisr Jindās and sometimes Jisr Baybars (Gat 2020:9). The bridge is about 30 meters long and 13 meters wide. According to the inscription incorporated in the bridge, it was built in 1273, during the reign of Sultan Baybars (Gat 2020; Czitron 2020). In 1873 the French historian Charles Clermont-Ganneau wrote that according to the local tradition, which he heard in the village of Jindās, the village was founded only after the construction of the bridge. He said that when he first heard this, he was puzzled, because according to the Latin charter written in 1129, 144 years before the bridge was built, a fortress called Gendas appears in the vicinity of the city of Lydda, and in his opinion, this fortress should be identified with the village of Jindās. Indeed, while staying in Lod and documenting the bridge, he identified an ancient construction phase, claiming that it may even be Roman or Byzantine, since the bridge is at a strategic point that connects the city of Lydda (Diospolis) to Caesarea via Afek (Antipatris). Clermont-Ganneau added this bridge may be the same one as that mentioned in the Talmud as ma‘abarata de-Lod. This claim can be consistent with local tradition, in which the village was founded only after the bridge was built, and therefore the founding of the village must be dated to the Roman or Byzantine period (Clermont-Ganneau 1896). As for the name of the village of Jindās, Clermont-Ganneau writes that it has no Arab or Semitic origin. In his opinion the word Jindās is a corruption of the name Gennadius (Γεννάδιος) or Gennadis (Γεννάδις). These names were common in the Byzantine period, so Jisr Jindās could simply mean “the bridge of Gennadius.” Clermont-Ganneau suggests that perhaps Gennadius was a local official in the Byzantine period, who was involved in the construction or renovation of the bridge. Gennadius linked his name to the bridge, and later the village received the name (Clermont-Ganneau 1896).

Most of the historical documentation of the village comes from the censuses conducted during the Ottoman period (16th-20th centuries). Data from these censuses show that in the 16th and 17th centuries, the village of Jindās was a small hamlet of about 150 inhabitants (for a comprehensive overview of the history of the village, see Marom 2021 in this volume). At the end of the 19th century the village was abandoned, and there is no longer a record of tax collection in the village (Grossman 1983: 96-94). Al-Dabbāgh (1972), who compiled a great deal of information about the inhabitants of the Arab villages in Palestine, claims that the last inhabitants of Jindās, who were members of the same family, emigrated to the village of Lubbān in Samaria (near the village of Rantīs). That is, they moved from the coastal plain to the mountainous region. According to Grossman, this migration direction is contrary to the usual direction in recent centuries, and he adds that according to a family report, they emigrated to the village of Lubbān following a request for help that was addressed to them due to a quarrel. According to him, this story gives the impression that at the time of the final abandonment of the village, the population of Jindās was very small and did not number more than four brothers who lived alone (Grossman 1983: 96).

The question arises: what happened to this area after the village was abandoned? Benvenisti (200: 192) brings in his book a picture of a place on the coastal plain called Nabī Jindās, but it is not clear if this is the village we are discussing. The photo was taken in the 1940s, and shows the remains of a sheikh’s tomb (similar to the one in the village of Jindās) and a temporary tent settlement. Whether this picture is indeed of the village of Jindās or not, it is probable that after the abandonment of the village there was a seasonal temporary settlement in the area. The excavation findings described below strengthen this argument.

Description of the excavation

The excavation was conducted in three areas. In Area A, remains of three buildings from the Ottoman period and a Mamluk cemetery were exposed. In Area B, remains of buildings, similar to those uncovered in Area A and of the same period, were revealed, as was a drainage canal from the Early Islamic period (Fig. 2). In Area C, remains of a field wall from the Byzantine period were exposed. The remains of the Arab village of Jindās, abandoned in the second half of the 19th century, can be seen nearby, including the remains of buildings, a ruined tower and a concrete water reservoir. The site was surveyed (Gophna and Beit Aryeh 1997) and the remains of scattered buildings, installations and potsherds dating to the Early Islamic period were identified.