New Gate Discovered at Tel Lachish

Prof. Yosef Garfinkel states that current excavations at Tel Lachish have discovered a new, earlier entrance to the city on the northeast side of the tel. This is the opposite side of the mound from the known Iron Age gate.

People who have visited Tel Lachish will recognize the Iron Age gate in the photo below. It lies on the southwest side of the tel and was discovered in the 1930’s by Starkey and Tufnell. This gate and its approach ramp relate to the city levels destroyed by Sennacherib of Assyria in 701 BC and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 587/6 BC.

The gate associated with levels 2 and 3 at Tel Lachish. The gate for earlier levels has not yet been located. (Photo by Catherine Bishop)

The gate at Lachish associated with the Iron IIB and C periods. Entrances from earlier periods of habitation have eluded discovery until the new expedition in 2014.  (Photo by Catherine Bishop)

Garfinkel believes the northeast section of the tel would have been a natural entrance point to the city in earlier times. The 2014 excavations exposed and clarified ancient fortifications in this area. Garfinkel gives the newly-discovered entrances a preliminary dating to the early Iron and Middle Bronze ages. (Biblically, this is the period ranging from the early kingdom years back to the Patriarchs.) The 2014 season at Lachish was cut short by the Israel-Hamas conflict, so these new entrances will be excavated in the 2015 season.

A newly-excavated mud brick wall  (Photo by Luke Chandler)

A newly-excavated mud brick wall along the northeastern side of Tel Lachish. Some individual mud bricks can be seen below the sandbags. Notice the blackened destruction layer at the bottom of the photo. A similar layer of ash was found in numerous excavation squares in 2014, indicating a widespread burning of the city. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Gates are important discoveries for several reasons. They are key fortification points and can provide useful data on the defenses and layout of related city levels. City gates were also centers for trade, exchange, tax collection, worship/cultic practice, legal matters, and record keeping. Traces of these activities may be unearthed through excavation and illuminate much about ancient cultures. One prime example is the famous collection of Lachish Letters found in the southwestern gate of Tel Lachish back in the 1930’s.

Photos of the new northeast entrance(s) may become available later this year. This blog will monitor and provide updates as they become available.

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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.
This entry was posted in 2014 Tel Lachish excavation, Ancient Architecture, General Archaeology, Israel, Lachish, New Discoveries and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Gate Discovered at Tel Lachish

  1. G.M. Grena says:

    Cool! Thanks for sharing this early gate info with us, Luke!

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