View with the lofty Mount Hermon beyond
|Type||crater lake (maar)|
|Primary inflows||precipitation, underground springs|
|Basin countries||Israeli occupied Golan Heights|
Lake Ram (Arabic: بحيرة مسعدة, Hebrew: בריכת רם) is a crater lake (maar) in the northeastern Golan Heights, near Mount Hermon. The only sources of the lake are rain water and an underground spring. The water does not leave the lake to any other body of water. The crater is a maar. The Lake is traditionally known as "Berekhat Ram" (also spelled Birket Ram), meaning High Pool. The area is associated with the Druze community.
The site has been excavated for evidence of human activity during its history. Research on lacustrine sediments at the site concluded that the area has been heavily settled four times over history, first during the early Bronze Age, secondly during the "Hellenistic–Roman–Byzantine periods", thirdly during the period of medieval Crusader occupation, and finally in modern times. Between these periods the area became overgrown as local woodland regenerated, evidencing phases of low human occupation.
During excavations evidence was discovered of Palaeolithic human and hominid activity. Most notably, excavation led to the discovery of the Venus of Berekhat Ram, a pebble allegedly worked by Homo erectus. The artefact has been claimed to be the oldest known example of representational art in the world.
According to The Talmud, Sanhedrin 108a, Brekhat Ram is one of three underground springs, along with Hamat Gader in the southeastern Golan Heights and Hamat Tiberias, that opened up in The Flood of Noah and didn't close up again after The Flood.
In a local Druze legend the lake is the "eye" of the "sheik's wife", the name for a hill nearby. Mount Hermon, referred to as the sheik himself, is supposed to have been separated from the "wife", whereupon her eye filled with tears.
Most geologists believe that the lake was probably formed from the crater of an extinct volcano.
- The Vilnay Guide to Israel, Volume 2, Beit-Or-Vilnay, 1999, p.298.
- Israel Ministry of Tourism Website
- Holocene palaeoecology of the Golan Heights (Near East): investigation of lacustrine sediments from Birkat Ram crater lake