A tell is a mound composed of several strata of occupational debris from various periods.


Yohanan Aharoni was a leading Israeli archaeologist who died in 1976.



The expedition was directed by Israel Finkelstein with the assistance of Shlomo Bunimowitch and Zvi Lederman (who was also the surveyor). Permanent members of the archaeological staff were Pnina Ben-Hanania and Ariella Cohen (registration); Mordechai Kislev (paleobotany); Aharon Demsky; Robert Kaufman (organization of volunteers); Moshe Weinberg (photography); Amalia Katznelson (restoration); Bernardina Luttinger (drafting); Amir Feldstein, Michal Iron-Lubin and Shmuel Yoseph (area supervisors). Students of the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University, youth group members and volunteers from Israel and abroad participated in the excavations. Many official institutions and individuals aided the work of our expedition: the National Council for Research and Development, the Israel Defense Forces, the Archaeological Staff Officer for Judea and Samaria, the Cherna and Dr. Erving Moskovitz Chair for the Study of the Land of Israel (Bar-Ilan University), Ludwig Jesselson (USA), Ernest Strauss (Switzerland), Oved Ben-Ami (Israel), the Dorot Foundation (USA), the Regional Council of Benjamin, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund. Dr. Daniella Saltz translated the manuscript.


In the 1969 publication of the results of the Danish Expedition (see Bibliography), Marie-Louise Buhl fixed the beginning of occupation at Shiloh in the Early Bronze Age, based on her impression of a few isolated sherds. However, our excavations have not produced even one single sherd of that era. The Early Bronze settlement in that fertile valley was at Khirbet er-Rafid, situated 1,000 yards (900 meters) southwest of our mound.


The date of the destruction was determined by the pottery assemblage unearthed in the storerooms in Areas F and H. A sherd of “chocolate-on-white” ware found in one of the rooms is of particular importance, for this type does not antedate the 16th century B.C.


The Danish expedition dated wall AA, found in their northwestern area, to the Late Bronze Age and described it as a fortification wall. Our reinvestigation found this to be a Byzantine terrace.


Various evidence suggests that the debris was brought to Area D at a later date—and it seems that the original burial site was cleared out in Iron Age I, in the course of new building operations carried out on and around the summit.


The impressions recall those found some years ago at Sahab in Jordan.


Area C was at the western boundary of the site and its eastern end did not reach Area D, where only silos were found; the built-up area apparently began south of Area K, where no buildings were discovered, and extended southward to Area J, where the garbage dump of the site was excavated.