Tel Dan is a rectangular mound in the northeastern reaches of the Hula valley, where the largest tributary of the Jordan River, the Dan, begins its course south. In the Hebrew bible, the site is also referred to as Laish (Joshua 19:47; Judges 18:29). This name may appear in the 18th century BCE Egyptian Execration Texts and in documents from Mari, on the Euphrates River in modern Syria. In the early 15th century, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III named Laish as one of the cities he conquered.
Tel ‘Aroer is located on the banks of the ‘Aroer stream in the southernmost part of the Beersheba-Arad Valley, about 22 km (15 miles) southeast of modern Beersheba (map reference 1479.0623). Tel ‘Aroer was first identified by Edward Robinson as biblical ‘Aroer (I Sam. 30: 26-28). The site was first excavated in 1975 under the direction of Avraham Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology (NGSBA), and Rudolf Cohen of what was then the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM). Additional short seasons took place between 1976 and 1978 and between 1980 and 1982, under the direction of Biran alone.
The site is ca. 20 dunams (2 hectares) in area, 10 dunams of which are located outside the fortifications in the lower part of the site. Six main fields were opened: Areas B, H and Y inside the fortifications, Areas A and D outside the walls and Area C on the lower part of the mound.Two main periods of occupation are represented: the Iron Age IIb-c, from the 8th century BCE until the beginning of the 6th century (Strata IV-IIB), and Roman period, from the 1st century BCE to the early 2nd century CE (Strata Ic-Ia).
The modern town of Lod, located some 7 km south of Ben Gurion International Airport, is constructed over an archaeological site on the banks of the Ayalon stream. Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic, Frankish, Mameluke and Ottoman periods have been reported in the tens of excavations that have been carried out over the years.
The earliest settlement--that of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages--was under the northern part of the modern town, where large banking and hi-tech buildings have recently been erected. With time, the settlement core migrated to the south, along the west bank of the Ayalon. What remains of the old Ottoman town is in this section, built over Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic and Mameluke remains. This is where we the townspeople--mostly schoolchildren are excavating.
The new Tel Arad excavations are a small-scale project directed by Yehuda Govrin, focussed on the Iron Age water system underlying the citadel. Our preliminary conclusion at this point in that this system is larger, with more branches, than previously realized. The majority of the finds from the interior date to the Persian period, providing a probable terminus ante quem for the system's last use.
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In 1936, Avraham Biran carried out a small sounding at Ras el Harube, on a hill northeast of Jerusalem. Nearby is the site known as Deir e-Sid, where further soundings uncovered an Iron Age II village. Each of these surveys sought to identify the location of the Biblical Anatot (Josh 21:13,18; 1 Chr. 6:54,60; 7:8; 12:3; 2 Samuel 23:27; Jer. 1:1; 29:27; 32:7-9; Neh. 7:27; 10:19; Ez. 2:23).
Image: Anathoth (Anata), Palestine, picture p. 549 in W. M. Thomson: The Land and the Book; or Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land. Vol. II. New York, 1859.
Bergman, A., Soundings at the Supposed Site of OT Anathoth, BASOR62 (1936), pp. 22-26.
David Alon identified this Chalcolithic ritual and trading center, located ca. 20km northwest of Beersheba, in the 1950s. Initially, three seasons of excavation were carried out under the auspices of the Israel Department of Antiquities from 1975 to 1977. Three further seasons were undertaken by Thomas E. Levy and David Alon on behalf of the NGSBA in 1989, 1990 and 1991.
Although the earliest occupation is indicated by many large pits and very little architecture (Stratum IV), remains of the later Stratum III were found to contain a complex of buildings, courtyards, and silos. Pottery remains inside a rectangular building, certainly a temple, included statuettes, fenestrated stands, violin figurines, stone palettes, and torpedo vessels among other finds.
Horvat Sher (Umm es-Sur in Arabic) was first mentioned in the publication of the British Survey of Western Palestine, conducted at the close of the 19th century. Since then it has been visited by several archaeological surveyors (Vincent, Shavit, Gibson) who reported various features—stone columns, walls and strange stone edifices of unknown function.
David Alon first surveyed the site, located on a strategic plateau looking over the Beer Sheva valley, in the early 1950s. Excavations from 1979 to 1987 were conducted, first by the Israel Department of Antiquities, and then by Tel Aviv University and the NGSBA. The sites Biblical identification is unknown. Nine strata were identified, dating from the 27th century BCE to the early Arab period 8th century CE. The richest finds came from the Iron Age and Byzantine periods. Although seven areas were excavated, the area uncovered is less than 1/20th of the total area of the tel.
The largest Chalcolithic village in the Nahal Beersheva valley (9.5 hectares or 24 acres), Shiqmim has been identified as a major chiefdom center, with evidence for social stratification, political integration, wide-ranging trade relations, metalworking and other craft specialization (Levy et al 1991). Four Chalcolithic strata were identified (I-IV) though only Strata I and II have anything approaching coherent plans. A series of C14 assays have resulted in calibrated dates ranging from 5500-3300 BCE, with the majority falling in the 4500-3600 BCE range (Burton and Levy 2001: 11-12).
This Medieval site not far northeast of Safed was partially cleared in 1974 by Avraham Biran and Dan Urman on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities. In 1982 and 1983, further excavations were carried out by Y. Shoham under the auspices of the NGSBA.
A large hall divided by two rows of columns into a nave and flanking aisles was uncovered. Biran and Urman suggest that this structure was originally an early Byzantine synagogue. Stone channels and three pools were found nearby.
Conical bowls with a hole in their base and jars with flat bases are typical of pottery used in the sugar industry. This pottery dates to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. A Cypriot Crusader coin from the 13th century was also found.
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Tel Dan is located in the Hula valley, where the largest tributary of the Jordan River begins its course south. In the Hebrew Bible, the site is also referred to as Laish (Genesis 14:14; Joshua 19:47; Judges 18:29). The name appears in ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian texts dating from the 19th to the 15th century BCE. Massive ramparts and an intact mud-brick gate with three complete arches dating to approximately 1750 BCE were uncovered, the gate being one of the earliest found anywhere.