Hershel Shanks

Neglected for years and now overgrown with weeds, ancient remains at Izbet Sartah belie the site’s significance during Biblical times. Likely the site of Biblical Ebenezer, the area was the scene of a major battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. Today’s half-hidden walls were originally part of a 50-by-40-foot four-room house, a type of structure popular with the early Israelites. The house’s current sorry state contrasts sharply with the way it looked about 20 years ago (see photograph), shortly after it was restored by the Biblical Archaeology Society. The case of Izbet Sartah, notes Hershel Shanks in the accompanying article, shows that those who care about the archaeological heritage must think beyond excavation and restoration.