Sites - Israel: Tel Arad
Tel Arad in Wikipedia
Tel Arad (Hebrew: תל ערד) or 'old' Arad is located west of the Dead Sea, about 10 km west of modern
Arad in an area surrounded by mountain ridges which is known as the Arad Plain. The site is divided
into a lower city and an upper hill which holds the only ever discovered 'House of Yahweh' in the
land of Israel. Tel Arad was excavated during 18 seasons by Ruth Amiran and Yohanan Aharoni.
The Lower City And Upper Hill --
The lower area was first settled during the Chalcolithic period, around 4000 BCE. Excavations at the
site have unearthed an extensive Bronze Age Canaanite settlement which was in place until
approximately 2650 BCE. The site was then apparently deserted for over 1500 years until resettled
during the Israelite period from the 11th century BCE onwards, initially as an unwalled piece of land
cut off as an official or sacred domain was established on the upper hill, and then later as a
garrison-town known as 'The Citadel'.
The citadel and sanctuary were constructed at the time of King David and Solomon. Artifacts found
within the sanctuary of the citadel mostly reflect offerings of oil, wine, wheat, etc. brought there
by numerous people throughout the reign of the kings of Judah until the kingdom's fall to the
Babylonians. However, during the Persian, Maccabean, Roman, and early Muslim eras, locals continued
to transport these items to the sacred precinct of the upper hill. Markers of these ancient Israelite
rituals remain to this day, with broken pottery littering the entire site.
Under the Judaean kings the citadel was periodically refortified, remodeled and rebuilt, until
ultimately it was destroyed between 597 BCE and 577 BCE whilst Jerusalem was under siege by
Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. Among the most significant artifacts unearthed from this time are
ostraca dating from the mid-7th century BCE, referring to this citadel as the House of Yahweh
Habitation of Tel Arad and the upper citadel did not end with the Babylonian siege. During the
Persian period (5th - 4th centuries BCE) almost a hundred ostracon and pottery were written in
Aramaic, mostly accounts of locals who brought oil, wine, wheat, etc. to the upper hill.
Thus, several citadels were built one upon the other and existed in the Hellenistic and Roman
periods. Herod even reconstructed the lower city for the purpose of making bread. The site lasted til
the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and completely expelled the 'circumcised' in 135 AD. Tel Arad laid in
ruins for 500 years until the Islamic period when the former Roman citadel was rebuilt and remodeled
by some prosperous clan in the area and functioned for 200 years until around 861 AD when there was a
breakdown of central authority and a period of widespread rebellion and unrest. The citadel was
destroyed and no more structures were built on the site...
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