After worship yesterday morning we visited several sites in northern Israel. One of them was Tel Dan, described as the northern boundary of Israelite settlement in the Bible. (“From Dan to Beersheba…” – Judges 20:1, et al.) The site is one of my favorite places in Israel. It has abundant water, shaded walking trails, and big archaeological finds from biblical times.
Visitors interested in the Bible can see the following at Tel Dan:
- A reconstructed wall/gate complex from the Iron Age (Divided Kingdom period)
- An altar with standing stones (“high place”) in the gate plaza
- The cultic center for worship of the golden calf installed by Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12
- A mud brick gate with two towers, dating close to Abraham’s lifetime
- A major source of the Jordan River
- By the way… the Tel Dan inscription, the only known writing outside of the Bible that mentions David’s name, was found in the Iron Age gate plaza.
Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati has conducted excavations at Tel Dan for years. They’ve been digging in the gate plaza again this year and have a couple of explanatory signs for their current excavations. This short video shows what they’re trying to figure out in the gate area.