Tell el-Ful revisited: The Assyrian and Hellenistic periods (with a new identification)

Israel Finkelstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article deals with the settlement history of Tell el-Ful from the Iron Age until the Hellenistic period. The author rejects past theories that a great fortress was built at the site in the Iron I period and that the settlement was protected by a casemate wall in the Iron IIC. He also rejects the identification of Tell el-Ful as biblical Gibeah/Gibeah of Saul. The author proposes that the tower excavated by Albright and Lapp was first constructed in the Iron IIC as an Assyrian watchtower commanding the northern approach to Jerusalem, and that it was one link in a system of such forts around the capital of Judah. The author maintains that the building served as a Hellenistic fort in a later phase and suggests the possibility, however speculative, of identifying Tell el-Ful with Pharathon, mentioned as one of the forts constructed by Bacchides in Judea in the early 2nd century BCE, and with Perath/Parah of late-monarchic times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Assyrian forts
  • Bacchides
  • Benjamin
  • Gibeah
  • Gibeah of Saul
  • Perath/Parah
  • Pharathon
  • Tell el-Ful


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