Avraham Biran/Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

The Canaanite gateway. Biran and assistant Hanni Hirsch view Dan’s massive mudbrick gate, which was discovered in 1979 and dates to about 1800 B.C. The arch spans 8 feet; the entire structure—the central gateway and flanking towers—measures 50 feet across and is preserved to a height of 20 feet. The gateway owes its preservation to the fact that the Canaanites buried it under a huge defensive rampart that they later built around the city. But Biran and his team had to contend with the fear that if they cleared the gateway, it would collapse. They opted to expose only one half of the structure and to keep the archway filled in.