Arad - and the "The Holy of Holies"

Tel Arad has been definitely identified as the biblical Cana'anite city which blocked the passage of the Children of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness (Numbers XXI: 1; XXXIII: 40).
The earliest settlement was Chalcolithic (4000-3150) and had an area of 40 acres. Pottery finds of Egyptian origin from the later, Early Bronze Era (ca 3000 BCE), show that trade existed at that time with Egypt. It was probably chosen - among other reasons - because of the topography which allowed the collection of run-off water into the centre of city and a convenient chalky hill for easily quarried building materials.
The later Cana'anite city was well planned with a Royal palace, market areas, residential areas and sacred precincts. A particularly conspicuous building was clearly used for some kind of worship due to various artifacts discovered in the remains; the building was, in fact, a double-winged temple. An artist's reconstruction of the double Cana'anite temple looks like this:-

here is a photograph of the Holy of Holies, from the Israelite Citadel:-

Arad also contains an excellently preserved exemplar of the so-called "Arad House" built in the standard Cana'anite form:-

Here is an artist's impression of the reconstructed house:-

The Cana'anite site was abandoned around 2650 BCE., and not significantly reused; for this reason the city is particularly well-preserved since little - if any - destruction, dismantling and rebuilding took place there.

Arad formed one of chain of fortified cities along the southern border of the United Kingdom to guard against attacks on Judea from the south.
Until the late 11th Century Arad was an unfortified city but Solomon (1000-940 BCE) built a casemate wall which was later made solid in the 9th Century. The Israelite fortification or Citadel built in the NE corner of the Cana'anite city was bigger.
After the death of King Solomon, Arad fell to Shishak, king of Egypt.

The Israelite citadel in the north east is evidence of a strict religious life because of the temple building modelled on the Temple in Jerusalem, complete with a Holy of Holies. The Temple was the first one discovered at an archaeological dig belying the belief that temples were found only in Jerusalem. The raised sacrificial altar, also complying with the known biblical construction went out of use at the time of later reforms (see below), but other parts of the structure were still used.
Both the plan and the contents show this was Jahweh-type temple, built about the 10th Cent. BCE, and destroyed in the religious reforms of King Josiah (639-609 BCE).

Sennacherib's conquests of 701, including the attempted taking of Jerusalem, reached Arad and the city was destroyed.

During the Persian period no city was here - only a settlement but there are almost constant signs of use of one kind or another, including a Roman presence, up to the early Arab period (8th Century), and then there only signs of the area being used for graves.

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