Archaeologists disagree on whether the highway running over Tel Beth Shemesh should be expanded or not. That was the plan when a salvage dig was initiated several years ago, but now one of the responsible archaeologists claims that the site must be preserved at all costs.

Not so, says Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University. “The extent [of the tell] is huge, but there is nothing special there or grandiose that would justify turning the site into a tourist attraction.”

Yesterday’s article in Haaretz magazine (premium) walks through the politics of the decision. From those interested in the archaeological results, the main discovery is that Judahites returned to living at the site soon after the Assyrian destruction in 701 BC. This contradicts the theory of some that there was a long occupation gap, possibly the result of an Assyrian policy forbidding resettlement. Whether or not such a finding justifies building a tunnel, overpass, or alternate route is the point of dispute.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Beth Shemesh new excavations aerial from southwest, ws062018211
Tel Beth Shemesh from the south, June 2018
About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.


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