The village is located on the east side of via Maris, the main ancient road from north (Damascus, Syria) and the south (Cairo, Egypt). For thousands of years caravans have passed this village. Even today the Israel's main Toll road (6) passes this site.
The site has been identified with Biblical "Gilgal" of the Sharon (not to be misplaced with the city on the Jordan river). The only remains that are seen today are located at the west side of the congested Arab village: the ruins of a large Khan (motel), and a Crusaders sugar factory.
According to the ceramics survey in the village, the site has been inhabited from the late Bronze period (1550-1200BC), through the early and late Israelite/Iron period (1200-1000BC, 1000-586BC)), and on to the Persian period (586-332BC). Therefore, the scholars identify the place with "Gilgal" in the Sharon, as referred in Joshua (see references). The name of the Arabic village (Jaljulia) preserved the ancient site's name.
The ceramics and other findings show that the site was inhabited in the early Arabic and Crusaders period (640AD-1099AD, 1099AD-1250AD). In the east of the village there are ruins of buildings from the Crusaders period and the Mameluks period (1250-1517AD).
A large sacred Arabic tomb is in the north side of the modern cemetery east to the main old road. According to Arabic tradition, it is the holy tomb of Shams E-Din, Saladin's general. In the Crusaders period this building, now in restoration, was used as a sugar factory ("Miskara"). The sugar canes were grown in the area and brought to the factory. Then they were chopped, smashed, boiled, then poured into pots. During the cooling the juice would crystallize into sugar, and sold. The water that was used in the process was fetched from the well nearby and the factory was operated by oxen.
In Cypress, near Kolossi, Limassol, there is a similar sugar-refining factory which was also built by the Crusaders. Another sugar processing factory is located in the west upper Galilee - in Manueth (Manot).
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A detail inside the building. Its entrance is towards the west and it is built in Gothic style.
North to the sugar factory is the ruins of a large Khan, an important and impressive middle-ages Hotel that used to host the caravans from Damascus (Syria) to Cairo (Egypt). This Khan was built in the 13th C AD.
A detail of one of the rooms of this large roadside motel. A lot of the stones have been stolen for reuse in the houses around. The site is also filled with rubbish, hopefully one day the municipality will clean it up and restore parts of it, bringing back a touch of its glory.
Gilgal of the Sharon is mentioned in the list of Kings that were defeated by Joshua and the Israelites:
7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west...
23 The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;