Tel Be'er Sheva City Gate

The ancient city of Be'er Sheba was protected by fortification which included a casemate wall and a double gate system

circa 1000 BCE

The outer gate is adjacent to the well. This gate was a secondary protection, in addition to the main inner gate. It was part of the stratum 4/5 city, but later dismantled.

circa 1000 BCE

The inner gate was the main gate of the city, and was planned with design which was common in the Israelite Kingdom cities. Plastered benches are located around the inner side of one of the chambers. These benches were used during peaceful times as seats for visitors and merchants, and served as a reception area for the adjacent palace of the Governor. This was also the place of elders, as described in numerous places in the Bible (Deuteronomy 21:19): "...bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;".

circa 1000 BCE

The fortifications at Beersheba date to the 10th century BCE, and are likely the result of Solomon’s building projects. The city has a casemate wall, found at other cities that Solomon is known to have built at, as well as a chambered gate reminiscent of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer (although Beersheba is slightly different because it has four chambers instead of six).

circa 1000 BCE

A deep well is located on the southwest side of the city, adjacent to the outer gate. This hewn well, 70m deep, reaches a depth 50m lower than the level of the valley of Beersheba stream. This depth gave the well a year round supply of water. It may have been hewn in the time of Iron Age stratum 9 (12th-11th century BCE). The digging of the well is mentioned by the Bible in two cases, first mentioned in Genesis 21 27-32, and second in Genesis 26: 23,33.

circa 1000 BCE

The eastern wall of the outer gate (inspect)

circa 1000 BCE

circa 1000 BCE

The gate was a chambered type, and inside the gate was discovered an incense altar at the high place of the gate area. During king Josiah’s reforms, he “defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate…” (2 Kings 23:8).

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