Foot-Shaped Stone Enclosures Discovered in Israel

This discovery announced by the University of Haifa today could be very interesting.  There’s not enough information here for me to be bold enough to offer my thoughts, but I look forward to learning more about it. 

The article is entitled “Exceptional Archaeological ‘Foot’ Discovery in Jordan Valley”, and a summary is given:

Researchers at the University of Haifa reveal an exceptional archaeological discovery in the Jordan valley: Enormous “foot-shaped” enclosures identified with the biblical “gilgal” stone structures. “The ‘foot’ structures that we found in the Jordan valley are the first sites that the People of Israel built upon entering Canaan and they testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot.”

You can click on over to read the entire article and view the two photographs (large size: 1, 2). 

Among the things I would like to know more about are the locations of the five structures, including how many are in the Jordan Valley.  The skeptic in me wonders how much imagination is required to see a “foot” in each one.  Regardless of the shape, they could be quite helpful in our understanding of ancient Israel.

HT: Joe Lauer

UPDATE: A.D. Riddle sends along the coordinates for a couple of sites that may be among the five. 

You can download them in Google Earth format here.  Both are on the south side of the Wadi Farah (aka Faria), about 3 miles (5 km) north of Alexandrium/Sartaba.

UPDATE (4/9): Joe Lauer sends along notice of a couple of articles on the discovery: Haaretz and Science Daily.


4 thoughts on “Foot-Shaped Stone Enclosures Discovered in Israel

  1. Brian – the article talks a bit about the foot design, but whether the ancients intended this, as it can only be seen from above, is another question.

  2. The ScienceDaily article says, “The sites are believed to date back to the outset of the Iron Age I (the 13th-12th centuries BCE).”

    Does this date fit better with the early date of the Exodus or the later date? I always get that mixed up.


  3. Krista – the early date puts the Israelite arrival about 1400 B.C.; the late date puts it closer to 1200 B.C. Thus these sites could fit with either view, but the way it is being presented in the news reports is as corresponding with the late date (that is, very shortly after the Israelite arrival or emergence).

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