Beersheba

Also known as Tel Beer-Shev'a, Tel Beersheba, Tel es-Sabba', Tel Saba, Tell es-Sabba', Tell es-Saba', Abu Matar, Be'er-Sheva, Beer Sheva, Beer-Sheba, Bir-al-Sa, Bir-es-saba, Bir es-Seba', Sheba (?)

Beersheba aerial from south

 

 

 
     
 

Beersheba gate, well and tamarisk tree

The Outer Gate

Near the outer gate of the city is a well and a tamarisk tree.  Both are later than the time of the patriarchs, but they remind one of the well Abraham dug and the tree he planted (Gen 21).  The tamarisk tree is well suited to life in the Negev with its deep root system and its ability to survive on brackish water.  It secretes salt on its leaves and drips water in the morning.

 

Stratum II

Excavated by Y. Aharoni 1969-1975, broad areas of Stratum II of Tell Sheba were exposed.  

Reconstruction work began in 1990 and has concentrated on rebuilding the city as it was in the latter part of the 8th century, the time of King Hezekiah.  

Beersheba view to east

 

Beersheba Iron Age four-room house

Four-Room House

Better known as an Israelite pillared building, this typical structure has been found around the country throughout the Iron Age (1200-600 BC).  

Subdivided by pillars into smaller rooms, these houses were often built against the city wall, with the house's back wall forming a portion of the city's casemate wall.

 

Stables or Storehouses?

Three tripartite pillared buildings were revealed in the excavations.  The archaeologists believe that these are storehouses in part because of the large quantity of vessels found inside.

Other scholars regard this building design as characteristic of stables and overwhelming evidence suggests this is a more accurate identification.

Beersheba tripartite-pillared building, possible stable or storehouse

 

Replica of four-horned altar discovered at Beersheba

Four-Horned Altar

Sandstone blocks integrated into the walls of the storehouses were originally part of a four-horned altar.  Three of the sandstone blocks preserved the shape of large horns typical of four-horned altars, while a fourth showed evidence that the horn had been broken off. Another of the stones bore the image of a deeply incised serpent. 

Related Websites

Beersheba (Walking in Their Sandals)  Gives easy-to-read information on the location, biblical significance, etc.  Features links to photographs and on-line scripture references.  See also Tel Beersheba

Beersheba: The Southern Border of the Kingdom of Judah (Israel MFA)  Discusses the archaeological findings, starting with the earliest remains and walking through the following historical periods.  Copy of this page at Jewish Virtual Library.

Be'er Sheva: Prehistoric Dwelling Sites (Israel MFA)  Describes the important archaeological  findings relating to the 4th millennium BCE settlements uncovered in the area.

Beersheva (Christian Travel Study Program)  Summarizes the history, location, and archaeological finds associated with the site. 

Beer Sheva (Travel Net, by Bazak)  Highlights the modern culture of an ancient city. 

Beer Sheva History (Travel Net, by Bazak)  Approaches the site from a historical perspective, detailing its history from the Chalcolithic age to modern times.

Beersheba (Jewish Virtual Library)  Blends ancient and modern history, recognizing the common thread: "the untamed wilderness."

Be'er Sheba (Jewish Agency)  Approaches the region from a mainly historical perspective, giving a concise summary of the historical background, both ancient and modern.

Beersheba (Daily Bible Study)  General information about the area with links to many topics related to historical geography, biblical characters, and biblical events.