Elaine Kirby

A stone’s throw from al-Mudayna’s gate stood a 13-foot-square tower (part of its wall is visible in the upper right of the photograph) that guarded the approach road to the city. In front of the tower was a bench and, perpendicular to it, a niche with a pair of standing stones. The stones are aniconic—without any kind of inscription—and are similar to those found outside the gates at other Iron Age towns like Bethsaida. These high places may have been used by visitors to the town, making offerings according to their local religious traditions—perhaps in thanks for safely arriving at their destination.