Biblical Archaeology doesn’t get more exciting than this!
Tel Dan is one of the most important sites for the archaeological and historical recovery of ancient Israel. The city of Dan represented the northern border of the biblical kingdom of Israel. It was here, 2900 years ago, that King Hazael of Damascus punctuated his invasion of Israelite territory with the erection of the famous House of David inscription, the oldest document to mention the historical King David. It is here that visitors can explore King Jeroboam’s temple, which the Hebrew Bible indicates he established to house the golden calf and challenge the temple in Jerusalem for religious supremacy. It was here that Bronze Age inhabitants constructed the world’s oldest known gated archway more than 1500 years before the Romans supposedly invented the arch.The Hebrew Bible attributes the city’s name to the eponymous Israelite tribe of Dan, but the site was clearly significant for millennia before the ancestral traditions of Israel’s prehistory. There is evidence of settlement dating to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities of the sixth to fourth millennia BCE. Massive Early Bronze Age stone fortifications ring a site that would boast even more impressive mudbrick structures during the Middle Bronze Age. The Egyptian execretion texts and cuneiform tablets from the Mesopotamian city of Mari both attest to Dan’s significance in the early second millennium BCE. Throughout the Iron Age, Israelites, Aramaeans, and Assyrians vied for control of a city whose cultic significance stretched well into the Greco-Roman period. A Greek dedicatory inscription reading “for the god who is in Dan” indicates not only the memory of the city’s religious history, but also confirms beyond doubt the identification of Tell al-Qadi (as the site is known in Arabic) with the biblical city of Dan. Please click on the links at the top of the page for more information!