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DIGGING, DIGGING, AND STILL DIGGING DAN

THE BIRAN EXCAVATIONS
1966-1990s

Beginning in 1966, renowned Israeli archaeologist Avraham Biran mined the mound of Tel Dan for its secrets. After nearly thirty years of excavation, he concluded his work with the amazing discovery of the House of David inscription. In addition to training a generation of younger archaeologists, Biran made a series of remarkable discoveries about the Bronze Age cultures of the southern Levant, the Israelite settlement of the northern Galilee, and the establishment of a royal political and religious center of the biblical kingdom of Israel. After all these accomplishments, however, the artifacts of more than ninety percent of the mound still lie underground waiting to be discovered.

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THE RENEWED EXCAVATIONS: Phase 1
2005-2024

From 2005-2024, the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion launched a new expedition to Tel Dan under the direction of David Ilan and co-directed by Yifat Thareani. These excavations sought to engage:

  • questions about the ethnicity--or ethnicities, more accurately--of the Iron Age I inhabitants of the site. 

  • questions about the relationship between the booming Iron II temple complex and the inhabitants of the site, as well as those in the greater region.

  • questions about Assyrian colonization following the conquest of the region by Tiglath Pileser III in the mid-eighth century BCE.

From 2018-2022, the Turning Points research project was integrated with excavations in Area B. Turning Points is a collaborative, multi-region, multidisciplinary, archaeological research program aimed at a broad-spectrum investigation of the transition between the Bronze and Iron Age (ca. 1200–1000 BCE) in the southern Levant. The cultural transformations experienced in the region at this time, which are frequently discussed but not well understood, followed in the wake of the demise of Egyptian rule and ultimately witnessed the rise of Iron Age polities like Israel, as well as Phoenician, Aramean, and Transjordanian states. New archaeological fieldwork and collaborations with ongoing excavations are aimed at collecting a wide range of archaeological data such as radiocarbon, petrographic, residue, botanical, and faunal remains that enable a robust interrogation of the negotiations of identity among Canaan’s diverse populations during this pivotal moment in its history. The project was directed by Aaron Burke, University of California, Los Angeles (aaburke@ucla.edu) and David Ilan, Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem (dilanhuc@gmail.com).”

 

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THE RENEWED EXCAVATIONS: Phase 2
2024-today

Starting with the 2025 field season, the Tel Dan excavations will begin a new chapter under the direction of Dr. Yifat Thareani. Details coming soon! 

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