Progress in a Dig Square: What Are These Stones?

We have a small mystery in our dig square. Want to track it with us as we uncover the details?

After some work at leveling this part of the slope, this is what we had. There are a few revealed stones toward the top in this photo but nothing else other than pottery and some animal bones.


After some leveling work, a mostly empty square. This will not continue to be the case, however…

Steve Braman suddenly discovered a long, flat stone along the right side of the above photo. Our director Dr. Yossi Garfinkel was there at the time and personally helped to clear its top. This stone could be any number of things. A wall? A threshold or entrance to an ancient building? A fallen “standing stone” that used to represent a deity? Notice there is a small stone standing vertically just above Prof. Garfinkel’s brush. What relation, if any, does it have to the long, flat stone?


Steve Braman found a large, flat stone. Notice his glee at being the one to discover it. At this moment we became the most interesting square in the area, an honor that frequently changes locations.

We continued to lower the section and encountered more stones. The small vertical stone now seems a bit random. Maybe it is part of a collapse? The first one Steve discovered (the big one) looks less like a fallen standing stone. Most of these new stones are also flat on top and all are smaller than the first one. Do we have a pavement? A collapse? A wall? Could this still be an entrance to something? Our imaginations kick into gear as we continue to remove dirt in an even, methodical fashion.


More stones reveal themselves but the new ones are all smaller. Whatever this is, it is growing in size.

After a good bit of work we uncover a few more stones. This is a good point to clean everything and get some photos. What does the image below look like to you?


What we have grows more interesting. What is it? At a glance it may look like a random pile, but there is more to it.

This collection is not a scattered pile of rocks. Most are flat on top and are laid out to create straight lines. Some are marked in the image below.


This pile of stones has corners and lines. Most of the stones are basically the same size but the first one, also flattened on top, is much bigger than the rest. Why is this? 

This is where we are at the time of this writing. We have numerous flat-topped stones laid out to form at least one corner and several straight lines. It is clear someone made this with a purpose. We must keep digging to find out what that purpose was. It could be an entrance, a cultic (religious) installation, a wall, or something else entirely.

Any guesses? Check back later for updates as we continue at the Tel Lachish excavation.

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 with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in 2016 Tel Lachish excavation, archaeologists, General Archaeology, Lachish, New Discoveries and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Progress in a Dig Square: What Are These Stones?

  1. Jenna Welsh says:

    Was the wall originally higher? Maybe it’s a stable.

  2. Hello Luke, how about the other square? was any sign of stones there? animal bones nearer this square?

    • LukeChandler says:

      Yes, the square next to us has indications of what may be a wall in the same line as ours. I do not know how many animal bones they have found, but we have found many. Hope you are doing well!

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