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Into the Dabouki land

Our study concentrates on a roughly 30-kilometer swath of land between Ziqim and Nitzanim where preliminary geo-historical field research led us to identify a specific cultivation region for endemic grapes. The location is characterized by shifting sand dunes, as it is here that the Negev desert meets the Mediterranean coastal plains, creating a unique habitat that joins the milder semi-arid Mediterranean climate with harsher Sahara-Arabian arid topography. This unique corridor has a well-developed agricultural history, especially from the Roman and Byzantine periods when vines were the main crop grown in the region. Past farmers cultivated various species that over the years adapted to the relatively extreme temperature and arid conditions.

Tentatively dubbed the “Dabouki Lands,” for the varietal that was predominantly grown here, this area constitutes our research domain and extends along the Israeli southern coastal plains into the western Negev hinterlands. As it sits on the margins of the settled areas, it is relatively well preserved and so contains a wealth of critical horticultural data.

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