Tel Dan


The Site Where History and Legend Converge

Tel Dan is one of the most important sites in the ancient Near East, in general, and for Biblical archaeology, in particular. Situated at the base of snow-capped Mount Hermon on the headwaters of the Jordan, Dan has been an important settlement from the Neolithic period (ca. 5,000 B.C.E.) through the early modern period.

Archaeological highlights include massive Early Bronze Age fortifications (ca. 2900–2200), the earliest preserved mudbrick arched gate in the world (ca. 1900–1500 B.C.E.), a spectacular treasure-filled Mycenaean tomb from the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1200 B.C.E.), an early Iron Age I agrarian settlement that some associate with the Israelites (ca. 1200–1000 B.C.E.), major fortifications and what is apparently an Israelite temple—perhaps where Jeroboam’s golden calf once stood (1 Kings 12)—from the Iron Age II (ca. 1000–700 B.C.E.), and various figurines, statues and inscriptions from the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Perhaps the most famous find from Tel Dan is a stela, likely commissioned by Hazael of Aram sometime in the ninth century B.C.E., identifying a Judahite king from the “house of David” and thus providing the only extra-Biblical reference to the famed King David from the Bible.


Geographic Location

6 miles from Kiryat Shemonah

Periods of Occupation

Bronze Age, Iron Age, Hellenistic Period, Roman Period

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Academic credit is available through Hebrew Union College and Includes four lectures a week and one field trip (the 3 credit course requires a minimum of 4 weeks participation). The tuition fee for this course is $500.


Accommodations will be provided at the Mount Hermon Field School, with generally 2-4 volunteers per room. Rooms have A/C and access to laundry facilities, internet and hiking trails. Field trips will take place one afternoon each week. Weekend trips can be organized upon request.


Registration: $100 (deadline May 1, 2020, candidates who are not accepted will have this fee returned)
Cost is:
$1180 for two weeks (one weekend)
$1770 for three weeks (two weekends)
$2200 for four weeks (three weekends)
$2600 for five weeks (four weekends)


David Ilan

David Ilan, Director of the Tel Dan excavations, is Director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College. Dr. Ilan was the Zemsky Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies at John’s Hopkins University in 2006–7. His publications deal with a wide range of subjects: the Middle Bronze Age of the southern Levant, the archaeology of death, northern Israel in the early Iron Age, community and archaeology and the problem of antiquities plunder and trade. He is currently preparing a series of final publications on the Tel Dan excavations with the staff of the Nelson Glueck School and a book on the religion and iconography of the Chalcolithic Period in the Levant.

Yifat Thareani

Yifat Thareani, Codirector of the Tel Dan excavations, is a Research Archaeologist at the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College and current Codirector for the excavations at Achziv. Dr. Thareani has served on the Tel Dan excavation staff as Codirector for the 2006, 2008 and 2012 seasons and is responsible for the final publication of the Iron Age II remains at the site. Her recent research explores questions related to cultural responses to various control strategies (empires and local kingdoms) and their reflection in the archaeological record. The material culture from Tel Dan serves as a case study for the examination of the relationships between the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Aram-Damascus and the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the region.

Jonathan Greer

Jonathan Greer, Associate Director of Excavations and Staff Zooarchaeologist of the Tel Dan excavations, is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Director of the Hesse Memorial Archaeological Laboratory. His publications include technical analyses of animal bone remains as well as works dealing with the integration of Biblical texts and archaeological materials, especially those from Tel Dan. He is currently working on a project aimed at understanding the relationship between Biblical priestly prescriptions and archaeological remains from cultic sites in the Levant.


US Contact:
Dr. Jonathan Greer
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
1001 E. Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-949-5300
[email protected]

Excavation Contact:
Hebrew Union College
Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology
13 King David St.
Jerusalem, Israel 94101
[email protected]