Judith Dekel

Since Adam Zertal wrote “How Can Kempinski Be So Wrong!” his ongoing excavations have shed still more light on the building phases, or levels, at the Mt. Ebal site. This plan incorporates the new information. According to Zertal, the earliest (Level II) construction (tinted orange) on the site was paved courtyards and a revetment wall of large boulders laid against the steep slope to support the courtyards. Zertal also uncovered a raised step behind the courtyards, which he assigns to Level II. Animal bones from Level II have been found in the area of the courtyards; these bones are not burnt and thus are probably the remains of meals, not sacrifices. Cultic installations in the area of the later altar are also attributable to this early phase.

In Level I (the later phase), many new structures were added (tinted red). The Israelites constructed a thin stone wall parallel to the old revetment wall. They filled in the space between the Level II revetment wall and the Level I wall with medium-size stones to make a sturdy temenos wall that supported the courtyards. At the same time, says Zertal, they built the altar. Surrounding the inner temenos, the altar and the courtyards, an outer temenos wall was constructed. Entrance to this larger walled area was from an opening on the southeast. A three-stepped entrance from the west in the inner temenos wall gave access to the altar area.