Tel arad all

Aerial photograph of the city and the fortress.

Tel arad fortress

Aerial photograph of the fortress.

Tel Arad (Hebrew: תל ערד‎) or 'old' Arad is located west of the Dead Sea, about 10km west of modern Arad in an area surrounded by mountain ridges which is known as the Arad Becken. The site is divided into a lower city and an upper hill which holds the only ever discovered 'House of Yahweh' in the land of Israel[1].

The Lower City And Upper Hill

The lower area was first settled during the Chalcolithic period, around 4000 BCE. Excavations at the site have unearthed an extensive Bronze Age Canaanite settlement which was in use until approximately 2650 BCE. The site was then apparently deserted for over 1500 years until resettled in the Israelite period from the 11th century BCE onwards, initially as an unwalled piece of land cut off as an official or sacred domain was established on the upper hill, and then later as a garrison-town known as 'The Citadel'.

The citadel and sanctuary were constructed in the time of King David and Solomon. Artifacts found within the sanctuary of the citadel mostly spoke concerning offerings of oil, wine, wheat, and etc. brought to there by numerous people from David and Solomon's time and throughout the reign of the kings of Judah til the kingdoms fall to Babylon. However, in the Persian, Maccabean, Roman, and early Muslim eras locals continued to transport these items to the sacred precinct of the upper hill. Markers of this ancient Israelite service remain until this day as broken pottery littered upon the entire site.

During the reign of the kings of Judah the citadel was periodically refortified, remodeled and rebuilt one upon another until ultimately it was destroyed between 597 BCE and 577 BCE whilst Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar. Among the most fascinating artifacts unearthed from this time are ostraca from the mid-7th century BCE that referred to this citadel as the House of Yahweh (Biblical term).

Habitation of Tel Arad and the upper citadel did not end with the Babylonian siege. In fact, during the Persian period (5th - 4th centuries BCE) almost a hundred ostracon and pottery were written in Aramaic and were mostly accounts of locals who brought oil, wine, wheat, and etc to the upper hill.

Thus, several citadels were built one upon the other and existed in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Herod even reconstructed the lower city for the purpose of making bread. The site lasted til the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and completely expelled the 'circumcised' in 135 AD. Tel Arad laid in ruins for 500 years til the Islamic period in which the former Roman citadel was rebuilt and remodeled by some prosperous clan in the area at the time and functioned for 200 years til around 861 AD when there was a breakdown of central authority and a period of widespread rebellion and unrest. The citadel was destroyed and no more structures were built on the site.

Sanctuary At Arad

The temple at Arad was uncovered by archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni in 1962 who spent the rest of his life considering its mysteries but died there in the mid-1970s.

This impressive temple is the only Judean temple recovered by archaeologists to date. The incense altars and two "standing stones" may have been dedicated to Yahweh and Asherah.[2] An inscription was found on the site by Ahroni mentioning a 'House of Yahweh', which William G. Dever suggests may have referred to the temple at Arad or the temple at Jerusalem.[3].[4] However, the temple was probably demolished around 700 CE, which is before the date of the inscription.[5]

The lower settlement and the upper Israelite citadel are now part of the Tel Arad National Park which have begun projects to restore the walls of the upper and lower sites.

See also


Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Tel Arad. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

  1. Aharoni, Yohanan (1981). Arad Inscriptions. University of Virginia: Israel Exploration Society. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  2. Mazar, Amihai. “The Divided Monarchy: Comments on Some Archaeological Issues.” Pages 159–80 in The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel (Archaeology and Biblical Studies) Society of Biblical Literature (Sep 2007) ISBN: 978-1589832770 p.176
  3. Aharoni, Yohanan (1981). Arad Inscriptions. University of Virginia: Israel Exploration Society. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  4. Dever, William G. What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (June 2002) ISBN: 978-0802821263 p.212
  5. King, Philip J.; Lawrence E. Stager Life in Biblical Israel Westminster/John Knox Press,U.S.; 1 edition (19 April 2002) ISBN: 978-0664221485 p.314

External links

Coordinates: 31°16′51″N 35°07′30″E / 31.28083°N 35.125°E / 31.28083; 35.125