Tel Arad is one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel, on which were found the remains of a fortified Canaanite city and fortresses from the time of the Kings of Judah.
The fortresses include the remains of a unique Judean temple and an extraordinary water facility from the time of the Kings.
Points of interest:
Remains of a fortified city from the Early Bronze Age
A water facility, begun in the Canaanite period (Early Bronze Age)
A fortified city from the Israelite period (Iron Age), with a unique temple and remarkable water facility
Concentration of Judean Iris (Iris atrofusca) and loess soil vegetation
The Canaanite City
Canaanite Arad was a planned city from the beginning of the Canaanite urbanization period. It is surrounded by a wall and is divided into public buildings and residential areas. The rich findings discovered in the excavations demonstrate a range of economic resources such as agriculture, non-irrigated farming, grazing, art and trade. Arad was an urban center for the inhabitants of the region.
The Tel of Fortresses
The fortress presently on the site is a fortified building (50X50 m.), and it was a link in the series of fortifications of the Judean Kingdom. In the Kingdom period six fortresses were built in Arad, one on top of the other. A unique temple and an remarkable water facility were discovered in the fortress. The Nature and Parks Authority has performed preservation and reconstruction works on the temple and has prepared a pathway for visitors leading down into the water facility.
The Temple: In the north-western corner of the fortress the remains of a temple were found, apparently Judean, that was in use from the 9th to the end of the 8th century BC, i.e. concurrently with the Temple in Jerusalem. This is one of the few temples remaining from Biblical times. The temple in Arad was built according to the plan of the Tabernacle described in the Bible and consisted of three parts: the inner courtyard, the temple and the Holy of Holies.
In the heart of the courtyard, there was a square altar, built of small stones, and faced with unchiseled stones. This altar complies with the Biblical prohibition against building an altar of stones chiseled by means of a metal tool.
The temple is located to the west of the courtyard. Three steps lead up from it to the Holy of Holies. At the sides of the entrance to the Holy of Holies stand two incense altars, and within it there is a monument. Within the boundaries of the temple were found ostraca (pottery shards bearing inscriptions) on which were written the names of the priestly families mentioned in the Bible (Meramot, Ezra 8:33, and Pashkhur, Jeremiah 100:1).
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