© Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion

Israelite “high place.” Volunteers armed with trowels and brushes clear the monumental staircase leading to a raised stone platform referred to as a bamah, Hebrew for “high place.”

The bamah, the central cult site of Israelite Dan, dates from the end of the tenth century B.C. and continued in use to the eighth century B.C, the period of the Divided Monarchy. Biran suggests that the bamah was part of the religious sanctuary built at Dan by Jeroboam.

Thus far no trace of the famed golden calf that Jeroboam erected at Dan (1 Kings 12:29) has come to light. Biran suspects that earlier Israelite and even Canaanite shrines may remain buried somewhere beneath the later structures of the cultic enclosure, or temenos.