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 four 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 about 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 our page Sources of the Jordan River at Life in the Holy Land.

The Ancient City of Dan (Land of the Bible) A nice overview of the history and archaeology of the site of Dan.

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

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 1966–90s.

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 437 of this digital version.

The Tel Dan Inscription (K.C. Hanson) Technical description of the Tel Dan Inscription (a.k.a. The Bytdwd Inscription, a.k.a. The House of David Inscription.)

The Sanctuaries at Dan and Bethel (Bible Odyssey) Strongly biblical and archaeological commentary on Dan.

Biblical City of Dan (Jewish Virtual Library) Highlights the history of the site, beginning with the Canaanite city, and several of the important archaeological findings, including the “House of David” inscription (there called the Aramaic Stele).