Zeev Meshel

Kadesh-Barnea, an oasis nestled between barren hills in the western Negev, was the last stop on the Israelites’ Exodus trek before they attempted to enter the Promised Land. Here they spent 38 years. Standing beside the small stream, fed by a spring located near the top of the photo, Tel Kadesh-Barnea (Tell Ein el-Qudeirat), in the foreground, contains the remains of three fortresses. Built one atop the other, the earliest of these fortresses dates to the tenth century B.C.E. Despite the lack of archaeological evidence from the time of the Exodus, generally thought to be 300 years earlier, nearly all scholars identify Kadesh-Barnea with this site; it fits the geographical requirements well, and the name was preserved at the nearby spring, Ein Qadis.