Biblical-era Tel Dan wall collapses as storms hit northern Israel

Part of stone structure dating from time of First Temple was reduced to mud due to heavy rainfall, burying five ancient gravestones

Collapsed wall in Tel Dan dating to First Temple era, 27 December, 2016 (Zvika Tzuk, Israel Parks and Nature Authority)
Collapsed wall in Tel Dan dating to First Temple era, 27 December, 2016 (Zvika Tzuk, Israel Parks and Nature Authority)

Part of a Biblical-era wall in the Tel Dan archaeological site dating back to the First Temple period has collapsed after heavy storms lashed the north of country.

The heavy downpour Tuesday damaged a section of a stone wall in the Tel Dan nature reserve, in the northern Galilee, the Israel Parks and Nature Authority said.

The wall is adjacent to an ancient gate dating back to 1750 BCE, believed to be the entrance to the biblical city of Dan. The falling debris covered five ancient gravestones which were next to the base of the wall.

The wall, along with a gate, had been partially restored in 2000 and is a popular tourist attraction.

The gate is popularly known as Abraham’s Gate, based on the biblical story that the patriarch and his men went there to rescue his nephew Lot. The gate was not damaged.

The biblical city, named for the tribe of Israel that lived there, was built on the ruins of a Canaanite city named Laish, dating to about 4,000 years ago.

While there has never been any serious disagreement over the location of the Biblical city of Dan, this knowledge was confirmed when archaeologists found a stone in the sanctuary inscribed in Greek and Aramaic: “to the God who is in Dan” (the original is in Jerusalem’s Skirball Museum).

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