This is the blog for the 2012 excavations of the prehistoric site of Marj Rabba in the Galilee, Israel, a Chalcolithic period (c. 4500-3600 BCE) site in the lower hill country of the Galilee. Our fourth season of excavations begins in early July and continues for 5 weeks. The Chalcolithic period, a key transitional time between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, is much less intensively studied than the biblical periods, yet was fundamental to the formation of the early towns and cities. In the southern Levant (Israel, Palestine Authority and Jordan), the Chalcolithic period witnessed the first metallurgy, the earliest pottery formed on a wheel and dramatic new burial practices for the dead. This research initiative, launched by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, is designed to examine the reasons for these dramatic changes in the way people lived, worshipped, raised plants and animals, and interacted with their neighbors. During the 2012 season, our team will expand the excavation area, explore the well-preserved earlier strata, and hopefully test some new areas. We will regularly update this blog during the excavations. You can also visit our Facebook group, MarjRabba – The Galilee Prehistory Project for additional photographs and contributions from the participants. We hope that you will visit often, and we will be on the lookout for your comments.