Aerial view of Tel Burna
|Periods||Bronze & Iron Ages|
The site was primarily inhabited in the Bronze and Iron Ages, and was one of a series of sites along the border between Judah and Philistia in the Iron Age. The first excavations at the site were conducted in the summer of 2010, as part of a long term archaeological project, headed by Itzhaq Shai and Joe Uziel, affiliated with Bar Ilan University.
Tel Burna is located near Beit Guvrin/Maresha, Tel Goded, Lachish, Tell es-Safi/Gath and Tel Zayit. Due to its location, and its prominence in the Iron Ages, some[who?] have suggested identifying the site with Libnah, a site mentioned several times in the Bible, and noted to be one of the 13 Kohanic cities. Libnah had also revolted against the Kingdom of Judah in the 9th Century BCE (2 Kings 8:22) and where Hamutal, Queen of Judah in the 7th Century BCE was born (2 Kings 23:31).
An extensive archaeological survey was conducted at the site in June 2009. It was found that the site is approximately 100 dunams, with settlements in the Early Bronze Age II/III, Middle Bronze Age II, Late Bronze Age, Iron Age I and Iron Age II. The largest settlement at the site seems to date to the Iron Age II, when the summit was enclosed by fortifications, still visible on the surface today.
The excavations in 2010 revealed that the site’s summit was not settled after the Iron Age. Remains uncovered include the Iron Age fortifications, living surfaces dating to the 9th Century BCE, and several silos dating to the 7th century BCE. If in fact the location of Libnah should be sought out at Tel Burna, the excavations thus far do conform to what is known about the city from the Biblical texts. However, more recent work in 2013 has led the leader of the excavation to believe Tel Burna is the site for the city of Libnah.