A formation of stratified (layered) rock raised up, by folding, into a broad arch so that the strata slope down on both sides from a common crest in known as a Anticline.

A Syncline is a downward fold in stratified rock.



A spring of sweet water. Also applied to the settlement that ‘springs’ up around it.


The definite article ‘the’.


A desert inn or lodging.


A ‘crater’ formed by the erosion, unique to the Negev. Although commonly referred to as ‘craters’, these formations are ‘erosion cirques’ (steephead valleys or box canyons).

A crater is formed by the impact of a meteor or volcanic eruption, whereas a makhtesh is created by erosion. Before the makhteshim became makhteshim they were islands in a sea that receded. They comprised a hard outer layer of rock covered by softer rocks. Erosion relatively quickly removed the softer minerals, and they were washed away from under the harder rock. The harder rocks eventually collapsed under their own weight and a crater-like valley structure was formed.

A makhtesh has steep walls of resistant rock surrounding a deep closed valley which is usually drained by a single wadi. The word makhtesh is the Hebrew word for a mortar grinder. The geological landform was given this name, because of its similarity to a grinding bowl.




A moshav is a cooperative settlement consisting of independent small farms, or land farmed by the whole community with each family having its own house and garden.

Note that it is different from a kibbutz which is a communal farm or factory run collectively and dedicated to the principle that production work and domestic work are of equal value.

Nahal/ Nakhal

A brook or river.


The name of region and the desert is derived from the words for either ‘Dry’ or ‘South’.

Wadi (also Vadi)

Wadis, as drainage courses, are formed by water, but are distinguished from river valleys or gullies in that surface water is intermittent or ephemeral. Wadis are generally dry year round.

The desert environment is characterised by sudden but infrequent heavy rainfall often resulting in flash floods in the wadis.