The Dig Across the Valley – Excavations at Tel Azekah

Tel Aviv University recently began a new dig at Tel Azekah, literally next door to Khirbet Qeiyafa. The substantial discoveries at Qeiyafa have produced fresh interest in the Shephelah (Judean foothills) and new digs are popping up in the region.

Tel Azekah as seen from Khirbet Qeiyafa (Photo by Luke Chandler)

The first week at Azekah overlapped with the last week at Qeiyafa. We could see some of the new work areas from my square at Qeiyafa, as you can see below.

Tel Azekah on the first day of its new excavations. Notice the shade tarps over work areas near the top of the tel. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

New excavation areas at Tel Azekah, as seen from the Qeiyafa “spy cam.” What are they finding under those shade nets? (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Barnea Selevan is part of the excavation team and is blogging the activities and results at the Tel Azekah Expedition. Be sure to note the progressing Scorpion Count in the first week. Even after a couple of disappointing-yet-humorous setbacks they appear to have made good progress in uncovering ancient architecture and finds.

Azekah is mentioned several times in the Bible:

  • The book of Joshua records fighting in the vicinity of Azekah during the Conquest. (Josh. 10)
  • The city was originally allotted to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:20-35ff). It turned out to be a border city/fortress throughout much of Israelite Kingdom period.
  • The Philistines encamped between Azekah and Socoh during the “David and Goliath” confrontation. (1 Sam. 17)
  • It was one of the last cities to fall to Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian conquest of Judah. (Jer. 34:6-7)
  • Nehemiah lists Azekah as one of the places resettled following the Babylonian Exile. (Neh. 11:25-30ff)

King Sennacherib of Assyria described Azekah as “an eagle’s nest with towers that project to the sky like swords.” Considering the size of the hill, this description would not be surprising.

We’re looking forward to seeing the results over the next several years.

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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One Response to The Dig Across the Valley – Excavations at Tel Azekah

  1. Pingback: Digging Deeper – The Weekly Blog Round-Up – 5th August 2012 « The Amateur Archaeologist

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