Tel Burna: Recent Work and the 2023 Season

Tel Burna is one of many sites continuing to offer us real and researchable elements of the biblical world. Tel Burna is identified as biblical Libnah. Located in the Shephelah, Tel Burna had a long occupational history between the Early Bronze and Iron Ages, making it appealing for insights into both Canaanite and, later, Israelite life. Its position on the border between the Iron Age kingdoms of Judah and Philistia also make it an ideal location for studying ancient borders and how border communities functioned in the ethnic landscapes presented in the biblical text and beyond. The Tel Burna Excavation Project, started in 2009, has been the only dig so far to pursue this specific locale of the ancient geography of Israel. The work has uncovered major strata particularly from the Iron Age II, as well as the end of the Late Bronze Age. Recent seasons have focused mainly on the site’s early Iron Age II fortifications, the 7th century BC city gate, and the area around a religious enclosure dating to the 13th century BC. This paper will discuss the results of this work, with particular emphasis on the most recent 2023 dig season, and how the finds enhance our understanding of ancient life at this site and the surrounding region.

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