Even HaEzer Biblical Site – Izbet Sartah Archaeological Site

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remains of the four room house

Izbet Sartah archaeological site is generally identified with Even HaEzer (aka Ebenezer), a biblical site where the Philistines captured the ark from the Israelites during a battle; the Philistines then took the ark to their cities where they suffered from hemorrhoids and mice as long as the ark was in their care.

The tel is located in the modern city of Rosh HaAyin. The site was used as a quarry during the British mandate, and was excavated from 1976-1978, when biblical period villages were uncovered.

The earliest settlement was deserted, probably because of tensions between the Philistines and the Israelites, before the battle of Even HaEzer. The village was settled again, probably during the rule of Saul, when the village doubled in size. In the center of the planned village there was a large four room house and 43 silos. Many small houses were built on the edge of the hill, including two four room houses. This settlement was deserted also, and resettled later on for another ten or twenty years, probably during the time of David; the settlement was smaller again and the large four room house and some silos were rebuilt. When the Yarkon River basin opened for Israelite settlement, the village was finally deserted in favor of the fertile land. During the Byzantine period, agricultural activity took place here.

silos

silos

Among the remains of the village, an ostracon was found in one of the silos. The inscription has five lines of proto-Canaanite script, and is one of the longest inscriptions from this script found in the country. The last line includes the entire alphabet, read from left to right.

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