Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tel Dan

Blackwifeo and I set out from Raanana on Thursday morning on our weekend away up north. It's now later on Saturday and we are back home. We had a wonderful time filled with lazing around an excellent B+B and meeting friends, eating way too much and just taking in the view.

On Thursday we went about as far north as one can go (the Hermon is further) and visited the site of Tel Dan. Now Tel Dan is a site that has been occupied from Neolithic times (around 4500 BCE). It is identified with the biblical city of Dan which the book of Judges states was known as Laish before it was conquered by the tribe of Dan. The coolest find there was a basalt stele (engraved piece of stone) which is believed to be from Hazael (around 840BCE) King of Aram-Damascus who boasts defeating the "house of David" and is the first time David is mentioned outside the Bible. I saw this in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and have included a picture below.

Tel Dan is located in the Tel Dan Nature Reserve which follows the Dan river and its springs. It was particularly beautiful at this time of the year and the river is flowing very strongly. It's all in all a very nice place.
This is the Tel Dan Stele. The part in white is the first mention of the "House of David" outside the bible (around 840BCE).
O.K. This is starting to annoy me. Everywhere you go there are verses from the bible. But there are very few explanations of what you are looking at. Instead of these worthless verses how about giving us more explanations - the pamphlet they give you at the entrance is all well and good, but it is not clear, so how about giving each person a pamphlet with verses from the bible they can ignore if they want, and change those expensive metal signs into archaeological explanations. I think I will write my congressman.
This is my lovely wife. She was most kind and did not complain about having to trek over ruins during her birthday weekend. I mostly behaved and this was the only site we visited although there are dozens I would like to see in the North.
Some of the impressive walls of the City. There was in Neolithic times apparently a huge embankment around the city.
This is some sort of altar. It has clearly been rebuilt.
There are some nice excavations going on. This is a big site and I doubt they will ever be done with the digging.
This is the "cultic" area. Dan was part of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. These guys are not popular in the bible and it was in this area that King Jeroboam was supposed to have placed his golden calf.
The views from the lookout that was in use around the six day war time. You can see what was once Syria and the Hermon range (I think that's the Hermon, but I am probably wrong - there are no signs, only bible verses).
The Dan was flowing strongly. Nice to see a real river in Israel.
This is one of the pools in the park. It is a very nice place and the best thing of all was that there were very few people around even though this was the middle of the day. All in all a worthy trip and a fine place to visit.

No comments: