M. Weinberg

The excavated altar is situated on the northeastern slope of Mt. Ebal in the Biblical territory of Manasseh. At this stage of the excavations, the structure in the center of the photo appears as a large rectangle to which a square is attached on its left. The lower horizontal “wall” of the square on the left is, in fact, a ramp leading up to the rectangular altar platform. On either side of the ramp are courtyards. These structures can be easily distinguished in the drawings.

In this view from the southeast, a thin wall of fieldstones is barely visible to the left of the courtyards. A thicker retaining wall appears as a line separating the dark area to the right of the altar and the light-colored stone slope. Both the thin wall and the earlier, thicker wall originally looped entirely around the excavated structures to form a sacred area archaeologists call a temenos.

Although the territory of Manasseh is dotted with sites that date to Iron Age I, the period when the Israelites settled here, this structure is the only Iron Age I site on Mt. Ebal.