Biblical Archaeology Tours
The Land of Israel is naturally home to many Biblical narratives (from the Old Testament). Archaeological sites have been dug over the past 150 years and the effort still continues today. Over 50 Biblical names have been proven by Archaeology. You may start reading about the sites related to the patriarch Abraham (click here), and about Beth-El, the so-called Gate to Heaven (click here). But, truly, there are hundreds of such sites in Israel. There are however sites that are mentioned in the Bible more than others, and abundantly proven by Archaeology. Some examples of are shown below and are truly worth the trip to see how Archaeology meets Bible !
Gezer was a Canaanite city conquered and burnt to the ground by Pharaoh, as a gift to his daughter, wife of King Solomon. What sort of "gift" you may ask yourselves! And you will find answers to many questions in this tour. Gezer is mentioned in the Bible and in historical sources until the Hasmonean period. Archaeologists findings have helped to understand and to confirm many obscure passages of the Biblical text (click here to read about its cultic place). Gezer is also the site of discovery of one of the most ancient text using an alphabet. And beyond the Bible, Gezer was the site of battles: the best victory of the Maccabees, Crusaders defeating Saladin, the Independance War of 1948. This visit is suitable for lovers of History and Bible. Although close to both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the site is rather unknown. Its access is off the beaten tracks. You would need a tour guide with a 4x4 vehicle !
Lachish was the second most important city of the Kingdom of Judah after Jerusalem in the days of the First Temple. This is one of the most important Biblical site in Israel where so may sources have confirmed the Bible. Lachish is mostly known for its fall, in 701 BCE, at the hand of Sennacherib, king of Assyria and "of the world" as he liked to portray himself. During this visit, we will talk about the famous Lachish letters (click here), the secret behind the throne of Sennacherib (click here), the enigmatic Solar temple and its relation to the Temple of Jerusalem, the tree of the ghosts, and so on. The Dept of Antiquities of Israel is currently preparing the site as a National Park.
The ruins called Khirbet Qeiyafa are the only archaeological site in Israel which dates from the time of King David ! It started as a fortified city guarding the border with the Biblical arch-enemy, the Philistines, and the gateway of the Judean Mountains up to Hebron and Jerusalem. In front of the city is the Elah Valley, the famous location where the Biblical battle between David and Goliath took place.
The findings there resolved past controversies in the archaeological world: was there really a Kingdom of Judah as the Bible narrates? Did King David ever exist? What was the name of this city in the Bible? And more. Access to the archaeological site is not easy and requires the guidance of a tour guide with 4x4 vehicle. But it is truly worth the visit.
The attractive site of Tel Dan in the north of Israel combines Biblical archaeology and Nature trail across one of the sources of the Jordan river. The ancient city is mentioned multiple times in the Bible as a Canaanite (Sidonian) city called Laish captured by the tribe of Dan who renamed it. It uniquely features a system of three city gates ans was the seat of the cult established by Jeroboam to counter Jerusalem. The extensive excavations lasted 30 years. One of the most interesting finding was the so-called Tel Dan stele which contains two important mentions: "king of Israel" and "dynasty of David". It is not the first time that the name "Israel" is mentioned in an archaeological piece (the earliest mention is the stele of Pharaoh Merneptah, dated 1208 BCE), but it is the earliest mention of a king called "David". A visit to Tel Dan in the north can be combined with so many other attractive places so it is worth arranging a day tour to the region.