Ma'ale Michmas was founded in 1981 by 25 young families living in caravans (mobile homes).The site was chosen because of its proximity to the site of ancient Michmas, which is approximately where the Arab village Muhmas now sits.
"Ma'ale" means "rise", and the community is so named because it sits on the high ground
near the site of Michmas.
The actual site of Ma'ale Michmas also shows evidence of ancient habitation.
On the northern side of the hill on which Ma'ale Michmas sits were unearthed the ruins of a Second Temple period inn-house,
apparently used by Jews on their way to the thrice-yearly (Sukkot, Pesah/Passover, and Shavuot) pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Nearby, on the "northern hill", as well as at Mishkenot Zevulun, there are two ancient cisterns (which were actually used until
very recently by nomadic Beduin goat-herders.
The earliest historical mention
of Michmas is in the book Shmuel A (I Samuel) as the scene of a battle between
the Jews and the Philistines.
Michmas is also mentioned in the Book of Maccabees, and in the Mishna, seder Menahot (8:1).