Also known as Tel Dan, Tell el-Kadi, Tel el-Kady, Tel/Tell el-Qadi, Antiochia, Dan-jaan (?), Danjaan (?), Daphne, Kefar-Dan, Laish, Leshem

Headwaters of the Jordan

The largest of four sources of the Jordan River, the Dan Spring emerges at the base of Mt. Hermon next to Tel Dan. It flows for 4 miles (6.5 km) before joining the second largest source of the Jordan River, the Banias Spring. Together the four sources (including the Iyon and Hasbani) of the Jordan River drain a total area of more than 1,040 square miles (2,700 sq km).

Middle Bronze Gate

Built circa 1800 BC, this mudbrick gate was in use for approximately 50 years before it was covered (and thus preserved) by an earthen rampart.

The style of the gate is typical for this period; it is a “Syrian gate” with three pairs of piers and four chambers, like those found at Megiddo, Shechem, and Gezer.

Iron Age Gate

On the northern frontier of the kingdom, Dan was particularly well fortified. This gatehouse was built in the 9th century, probably by Ahab, and is part of a series of gateways discovered.

The foreground of this picture is the area of the discovery of the Dan Inscription which mentions the “House of David.”

Podium for Ruler

This may have been a place for the ruler next to the gate or a place for an idol to be set up.

2 Samuel 18:4: “So the king stood beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.”

2 Kings 23:8: “He broke down the shrines at the gates.”

High Place of Jeroboam

Nearly all archaeologists agree that this excavated podium was the one that Jeroboam constructed to house the golden calf at Dan. Archaeologists now think the platform was roofed.

Evidence of a four-horned altar has been found as well as religious objects such as three iron shovels, a small horned altar, and an iron incense holder.

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Related Websites

For Bible chapters related to Dan, see Joshua 19 and Judges 18. See also the page titled Sources of the Jordan River at Life in the Holy Land.

Dan (All About Archaeology) An archaeological discussion of Dan, including discussions of the Middle Bronze gate and the Tel Dan Stele.

Tel Dan (The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology) A detailed look at the archaeology of Tel Dan, including photos.

The Site of Tel Dan (official excavation site) Information about specific items found at Dan, along with limited photos; also includes brief information about the Biran excavations of 1966–1990s.

An 1856 Account of Visiting Dan (book excerpt from archive.org) Read about the historic site of Dan, then known as Tell el-Kady. Written by the eminent geographers Edward Robinson and Eli Smith in Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions, it gives a unique look at the site from well over a century ago. This account starts on page 390 of the original, and page 387 of this digital version.

Biblical Sites: Three Discoveries at Dan (Bible Archaeology Report) An excellent starting place for your study of Dan; it highlights the gates, altar/high place, and stele discovered at the site; the pictures are wonderful too.

Abraham’s Gate (Madain Project) Helpful photos supplement this look at the Middle Bronze Gate at Tel Dan, along with a nice architectural drawing.

The Tel Dan Inscription: The First Historical Evidence of King David from the Bible (Biblical Archaeological Society) A readable and helpful introduction to the importance of the Tel Dan Stele (also called the House of David Inscription).

“House of David” Inscribed on a Victory Stele (Israel Museum) The official museum site with the Tel Dan Inscription, including a translation.

The Altar and High Place at Dan (That the World May Know) A particular focus on the altar and high place, along with a biblical history.

Tel Dan Nature Reserve (official site) For those interested in visiting, this website has all the details.