Tel Be'er Sheva Altar 001

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  • Title:  Tel Be'er Sheva Altar 001
  • Description:  Tel Sheva is an archeological site in southern Israel believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Beersheba.[1] It lies east of the modern city of Beersheba and west of the new Bedouin town of Tel Sheva/Tell as-Sabi. Tel Sheva has been preserved and made accessible to visitors in the Tel Beer Sheva National Park.

    The site was restored by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority in 1990. In 2003, its water system was opened to the public as well. The excavated town is now open for visitors under the name Tel Be'er Sheva National Park.

    In 2007, Tel Sheva was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of more than 200 tels in Israel, Beersheba was cited as one of the most representative, containing substantial remains of a city with biblical connections.

    One of the most significant discoveries at Tel Beer-sheba is that of a horned animal altar, the first ever unearthed in Israel. Altars with horns at each of their four corners are mentioned frequently in the Bible (Lev. 4:7, 18, 25; Ex. 29:12, 30:2; 38:2; 1 Kings 1:50; 2:28). The altar was not found assembled in situ, but was discovered in secondary use—the stones of the altar had later been incorporated into a wall. There was an unresolved debate about the dating of the altar between Professor Aharoni and Professor Yigael Yadin of Hebrew University that remains undecided. Professor Aharoni believed that the Beer-sheba altar was one of the altars which was dismantled as part of Hezekiah’s religious reforms. Its stones were then reused in an 8th-century wall, and the wall itself was destroyed at the end of the 8th century, probably during Sennacherib’s Judean campaign of 701 B.C. However, Professor Yadin of Hebrew University dates this wall more than 100 years later than Professor Aharoni. According to Professor Yadin, the wall was probably destroyed about the time the Babylonians captured and destroyed Jerusalem (587 B.C.).
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  • Keywords:  Altar, Sheva, Tel Be'er
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