Tell Arad: Early Bronze Canaanite City and Iron Age Israelite Fortress

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Tell Arad is a prominent horseshoe shaped hill, in the northeastern part of the Beer Sheva valley some 30kms south of Hebron, on the edge of the Negev. Excavations here have focused on two different areas. In the 1960s and 70s, Aharoni and later Herzog led excavations of the upper tell with its Iron Age Israelite fortress, while Amiran concentrated on the lower tell with its early Bronze Age Canaanite city. In addition to the buildings documented in these photographs these excavations pioneered several innovative techniques, their most notable successes came from dipping ostraca in water revealing numerous fragments of writing that would otherwise have been missed.

The conjunction of these two areas allows the Israel Antiquities Authority to display here two different periods more completely than at other sites. Of particular interest for Biblical Studies is the small temple in the Israelite fortress. It is the most complete that we know, and it gives a fascinating glimpse into Judean religion during the period of the monarchy.

It seems that the site was unoccupied between the desertion of the site in EB III (2650-2350bce) till in the Iron Age first an unwalled village and later (10th century) a fortress were built.


©Tim Bulkeley, 2002-4, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.
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Unless marked otherwise Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.