Megiddo, Hazor, Dan, Gezer, Ashkelon. In many ways, these sites have come to define the field of Biblical archaeology. On the one hand, they are the massive, imposing mounds of stratified remains that give archaeologists material insight into the ancient past. On the other, they are Biblical cities, associated with some of the Bible’s most famous events and figures, from the conquests of Joshua to the building programs of King Solomon. In these articles, hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library, you’ll learn why these impressive sites are so important for Biblical archaeology.


Back to Megiddo
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1994 By Israel Finkelstein , David Ussishkin

Tel Megiddo is widely regarded as the most important archaeological site in Israel from Biblical times, and as one of the most significant sites for the study of the ancient Near East generally. It was inhabited continuously for more than five millennia, from about 6000 to around 500 B.C.E. Megiddo’s military importance and […]

The Battleground
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2003 By Timothy P. Harrison

Did King David conquer and destroy Megiddo? Well, that depends partly on the date of Stratum VI. Let me explain why. Most scholars accept David as a historical figure who was an active military ruler in the period portrayed in the Hebrew Bible (the early tenth century B.C.E.). However, there is considerably less […]

King Solomon’s Stables—Still at Megiddo?
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1994 By Graham I. Davies

When Israel Finkelstein and David Ussishkin return to excavate Megiddo [see “Back to Megiddo,” in this issue], I hope they will look for King Solomon’s Stables. In the last few years, although I haven’t actually dug at Megiddo, I think I may have glimpsed them. Maybe Finkelstein and Ussishkin will be able to tell […]

Where Is the Hazor Archive Buried?
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2006 By Sharon Zuckerman

An archive of clay tablets written in cuneiform signs has never been found in what was to be the Land of Israel, although at numerous other sites in the ancient Near East archives holding hundreds and sometimes even thousands of tablets have been discovered. The illustrious Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, who excavated Hazor for […]

Excavating Hazor, Part One: Solomon’s City Rises from the Ashes
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1999 By Amnon Ben-Tor

The fiery destruction of Hazor, the Book of Joshua recounts, was the final episode in the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Once Joshua burned down this key city—“the head of all those kingdoms,” as Joshua 11:10 puts it—the land of Canaan was open to Israelite settlement. Over the centuries, a new city rose from […]

Excavating Hazor, Part Two: Did the Israelites Destroy the Canaanite City?
Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1999 By Amnon Ben-Tor , Maria Teresa Rubiato

A fierce conflagration marked the end of Canaanite Hazor. Across the site, a thick layer of ashes and charred wood—in places 3 feet deep—attests to the intensity of the blaze in the northern Galilee city. Within the walls of Hazor’s palace, the fire was especially fierce: The unusual amount of timber used in the […]

Sacred Spaces
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1998 By Avraham Biran

Upon King Solomon’s death, his kingdom split in two—the kingdom of Judah in the south and that of Israel in the north. A scion of David continued to sit on the Judahite throne in Jerusalem for more than 300 years—until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The north, however, witnessed a succession of rulers from […]

“David” Found at Dan
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1994 By Avraham Biran

It’s not often that an archaeological find makes the front page of the New York Times (to say nothing of Time magazine). But that is what happened last summer to a discovery at Tel Dan, a beautiful mound in northern Galilee, at the foot of Mt. Hermon beside one of the headwaters of the […]

BAR Interview: Avraham Biran—Twenty Years of Digging at Tel Dan
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1987 By Hershel Shanks

BAR Editor, Hershel Shanks, interviewed Avraham Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, in Jerusalem. Hershel Shanks: The name of Avraham Biran is—and will be for generations—inextricably bound up with the name of Tel Dan. When anybody thinks of one, he’s inevitably going to think of the […]

The Sad Case of Tell Gezer
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1983 By Hershel Shanks

031 For Gezer there is still time. But not much.

When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1991 By Lawrence E. Stager

Ashkelon. The summer of 1990. The sixth season of the Leon Levy Expedition, sponsored by the Harvard Semitic Museum. In the waning days of the season, on the outskirts of the Canaanite city, we excavated an exquisitely crafted statuette of a silver calf, a religious icon associated with the worship of El or […]

Will Tel Rehov Save the United Monarchy?
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2000 By Amihai Mazar , John Camp

In the shadow of Mt. Gilboa in the northern Jordan Valley stands one of Israel’s largest, most important archaeological sites—and, until recently, one of the least known. Yet there is nothing hidden or obscure about the site. Indeed, Tel Rehov is hard to miss. The mound stands out prominently just 1,500 feet east […]

Excavating Philistine Gath: Have We Found Goliath’s Hometown?
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2001 By Aren M. Maeir , Carl S. Ehrlich

Three of the five cities of the famous Philistine Pentapolis have long been known—Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gaza. A fourth, Ekron, has recently been confirmed by an inscription, locating it at modern Tel Miqne. Gath, the fifth, remains somewhat of a mystery. We believe we have found it—at Tell es-Safi, where we have been […]

Excavating the Tribe of Reuben
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2001 By Larry G. Herr , Douglas R. Clark

We were lucky. There’s no other way to explain it. When our archaeological survey team, part of a larger expedition known as the Madaba Plains Project, discovered Tall al-‘Umayri1 in 1976, we had no idea it would yield great treasures.2 But now, almost 25 years later and after seven excavation seasons (beginning in […]

The Remarkable Discoveries at Tel Dan
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1981 By John C. H. Laughlin

In the summer of 1979 an astounding structure was uncovered at Tel Dan in northern Israel. Excavators from the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion expedition found a huge mudbrick gateway consisting of two towers joined by a completely intact mudbrick arch. The complex is dated to the Middle Bronze II A-B period, about […]