Courtesy Moshe Kochavi

Tel Hadar sat astride a major international trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean coast to Mesopotamia. During Iron Age I (12th and 11th centuries B.C.), the site was surrounded by two formidable concentric defensive walls built of basalt. Given the massive dimensions of the defensive fortifications, the number of luxury items discovered at the site and the presence of two orthostats—usually an indication of royal architecture—Tel Hadar was almost certainly a major stronghold of the Geshurites, a people mentioned in the Book of Samuel as living in this area.