A high wall with watchtowers and gates circumferences the city, enclosing precise scale streets, housing areas, a market, shrines, the palace, a temple, and a huge deep water well. The latter was filled exclusively with rain water which streamed down the hill and was collected there. It was brought up to the fortress packed on animals.
A typical residential house, now called the "Arad House" was reconstructed to give a good idea of the style of the cities dwellings. A stone bench runs around all the walls and a small kitchen room was built outside adjacent to the house. The ceiling was constructed of wooden beams, supported by a pillar in the middle of the room.
Through the openings in the walls fields can be seen at the foot of the hill, near Bedouin living places. Nowadays they are irrigated with more modern methods, but as successful in bringing fertility to the desert as in ancient times.
The excavations started in the early 60ties. The walk through the ruins is easy and very impressive. It really spurs on the imagination. Wandering through the perfectly arranged streets along the dwellings of the people living there thousands of years ago made us think of their culture, of their rites, their beliefs, customs, symbols and living arrangements. Of their feelings, wishes, fears and hopes.
Did they have always enough water? What did they wear? Woven clothes? Sandals? How did they keep warm in the cold desert nights? How did they endure the heat during the day? How did they cope with illness? A rotten tooth? What about toiletry and hygiene? Was there any? Yes, how did they live? A lot is known today - but much more we do not know. I wish, I could have an open window into the past, a real one, and just watch a bit...
This is a wonderful official link which tells you much more and in detail about this old Biblical place:
In seeing the dry ground of the location you would think nothing grows there but some low thorny shrubs. Here, look through my husbands eyes, he always finds some little treasures with his camera.
Photos by Uri Eshkar