Perched atop a small hill overlooking the coastal plain and modern Tel Aviv is the fascinating site of Tel Hadid, biblical Hadid (Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37). Located on the contact zone of Philistia and the highland of Samaria, Tel Hadid conceals a rich history that spans over 4000 years. Among the more exciting discoveries at the site has been evidence of the Assyrian occupation and forced settlement of deportees from Babylonia (see 2 Kings 17), whose life is documented in cuneiform tablets from the seventh century BCE. Centuries later, Hadid was fortified by Simon Thassi during the war with the Seleucids (1 Maccabees 12:38). The battle between those armies took place in the valley it overlooks (1 Maccabees 13:13). The strategic importance of Hadid was maintained for generations. According to Josephus (Wars 4, 9:1), Vespasian, who led the legions against the Jewish Revolt (c. 66-70 CE), decided to block the ways leading to Jerusalem and chose to fortify Hadid. Lastly, a rabbinical tradition claims that Hadid was among the towns fortified during the days of Joshua (Mishna, Arakhin 9:6).
During the early Christian era, Eusebius of Caesarea identified Haditha (Adida in Greek) as the site of Adithaim, a town in the allotment of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:36). Similarly, the famous Madaba Map features a village northwest of Jerusalem with the caption “Adiathim that is now Aditha.” But Adithaim is to be sought in the Judean Shephelah, close to Azekah and Socoh. A different identification of Haditha was suggested centuries later and was subsequently followed in scholarship. A 13th-century Jewish scholar named Isaac HaKohen Ben Moses, better known by his pen name, Ishtori Haparchi, traveled seven years across the Holy Land and documented his insights on the local topography and toponomy in his book Kaftor Vaferach. There he wrote that the village of Haditha, located on top of a round hill two hours walk east of Lydda, is the place of biblical Hadid.
The Tel Hadid Expedition focuses on these eventful periods in the site’s history. Six areas across the site have been excavated since 2018, supervised by experienced scholars studying the history and archaeology of the Holy Land. Join them in their American-Israeli project as they unearth the remains of the Israelite town, the Babylonian deportee community, the Jewish fortress of the late Second Temple Period, and the early Christian community at the site. During the afternoons, we will host leading archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and other academic institutions in Israel that will share with us their latest discoveries.
Coastal Plain, South-Central Israel
June 25 – July 20, 2023
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Contact for more details
Participants of the 2023 Tel Hadid Expedition will stay at Neve Shalom, a Jewish-Arab community situated equidistant from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It is a model of equality, mutual respect and partnership. The serene guesthouse features rooms designed to house two to three people, and comes equipped with an ensuite bathroom, storage, and air conditioning.
Ido Koch: Tel Aviv University
Jim Parker: New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary