Tel Beth-Shean - Overview

The high mound of Beth-Shean dominates the fertile Beth-Shean Valley at the junction of the Jezreel and Jordan Valleys. Some four thousand years of history have been traced at this site, making it one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel.

Tel Beth-shean ariel photo from NW

Tel Beth-Shean was first investigated on a large scale by the University of Pennsylvania expedition from 1921 to 1933, during which important discoveries were made, mainly regarding the three hundred years of Egyptian rule in Canaan (ca. 1450 to 1150 BCE).

Nine seasons of excavations were conducted from 1989 to 1996 as part of our project. The work was carried out in six excavation areas and enabled reexamination of the results of the previous expedition and the achievement of more precise results, utilizing modern research methods. Among the new discoveries were: an exceptional public building from the Early Bronze I period; Canaanite dwelling quarters of the second millenniun BCE, ; a dwelling quarter which served the Egyptian garrison of the 19th-20th Dynasties; reexamination of the Egyptian Residency of the 20th Dynasty and the excavation of a an administrative building of the 19th Dynasty below it; remains of the Iron Age I Canaanite city constructed after termination of the Egyptian presence ; remains of administrative structures dated to the 10th-9th centuries; and a large dwelling of the Iron Age II period which was destroyed with the rest of the city during the Assyrian conquest in 732 BCE. Remains from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Early Arab and Medieval periods were also revealed.

The excavations at Beth-Shean are in the process of final publication. Two volumes have already appeared, the third is in press, and the fourth and final volume is in advanced stages of preparation.

© Copyright - The Beth-Valley Archaeological Project, Hebrew University of Jerusalem