|21 March 2009
4,000-year-old 'Abraham's Gate' reopened to public
The Nature and National Parks Protection Authority opened 'Abraham's Gate' at Tel Dan (Israel), for visits by the public. The ancient structure from the Canaanite period of the Bronze Age is made of mud and is thought to have been built around 1750 BCE. The authority named the archaeological site for Abraham, the first patriarch of the Jewish people.
The gate was uncovered in 1979 but more recently underwent restoration. It is composed of three arches and constructed of sun-dried mud brick on a foundation of large basalt stones. The gate, which in ancient times stood seven meters tall, has been restored to its original height. It features two towers and a horizontal structure linking them below the arches, the oldest arches ever found in Israel.
Archaeologists specializing in the Bronze Age suggest caution in identifying the structure. Raphael Greenberg of Tel Aviv University's archaeology department commented that he "doesn't know any academic archaeologist who uses the Bible as a guide to describing remains from such an early period. There may be a connection with Abraham in the metaphoric sense, but not more than that. Today the era of the patriarchs is not taught as an archaeological period." Greenberg said that in any event, the gate is one of the most impressive finds of its time. He noted that not only is it the oldest arch in the country, but it also reflects a revival of urban life in the Land of Israel, a product of the influence of city life in Syria at the time.
Source: Haaretz (19 March 2009)
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