Exploring Tel Gezer

By Phoebe W., Heller High Spring 2018

Heller High students helping to excavate at an archaeological digWhile Tel Gezer has many advanced archaeological findings, two particular places related the most to the Bible. The connection between artifacts and the Bible to prove its legitimacy is called historicity. The first example of historicity we saw is called Solomon’s Gate. When it was originally excavated in 1905 by McCallister, the gate did not show any sign of being almost 3000 years old. However, in the 1950’s, an aerial photo of the excavation was taken. It was then confirmed to have been built from the time period in which Gezer was part of King Solomon’s Israelite kingdom. This finding helps prove the existence of both King Solomon and the Israelite people.

The view from Tel Gezer on a clear day

Another example of historicity found at Tel Gezer are the stone monoliths used for a sacrificial ceremony. In the Tanakh, it is mentioned that the Canaanite people performed child sacrifice. At Tel Gezer, we saw where the ceremony would have taken place. When first excavated, archaeologists found clay vessels with infant bones within the ceremonial site. This finding proves the Avodah Zara performed by the Canaanite people and again legitimizes the Tanakh. Both of these findings gave us a glimpse of what life was like for our Jewish ancestors.

Heller High students helping to excavate at an archaeological dig

Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, has many topographic and geographic terrains. While at Tel Gezer, we learned about the coastal plain, the foothills, the Judean Hills, the Jordan Valley, and the Transjordan Mountains. For a demonstration, David lined up five students to act out each aspect of the terrain in Israel. Each terrain offers different ways of life for the residents. While the flatter plains were more promising for agriculture, the Judean hills, where Tzuba resides, are more rugged. Another interesting aspect of Eretz Yisrael’s geography are Tels. A Tel, like Tel Gezer, is layers upon layers of different past civilizations that create an artificial mound. David conducted a demonstration of smashing different snack food items on top of each other, creating a small pile of different layers crumbs. People would build strong civilizations, then get conquered by a larger civilization, then those people build on top of the prior civilization. This was constantly repeated, eventually creating a small hill. In order to create a strong civilization in ancient Eretz Yisrael, one must have the “4 D’s”.

  1. Drink- A water source
  2. Dinner- Food and agriculture
  3. Defense- Walls or Barricades
  4. Dollars- Economy and trade routes
 While the Canaanite people who lived at Tel Gezer had all four D’s and an extremely advanced society, their Avodah Zara prevented the Israelites from joining them. Tel Gezer, our first Tiyul, taught the class a lot about ancient society and how our religion and culture grew into what it is now.

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