BAR’s Archaeological Preservation Fund has agreed to preserve and restore the site of Izbet Sartah.
Many scholars believe Izbet Sartah is Biblical Ebenezer, where the Israelites mustered for a critical battle with the Philistines in the days of the Judges (see 1 Samuel 4). The Israelites lost the battle, and the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. This defeat made clear to the Israelites that their loose tribal confederation was inadequate protection against the encroaching Philistines, so the Israelites for the first time placed themselves under an earthly king—Saul of Benjamin (see “An Israelite Village from the Days of the Judges,” BAR 04:03).
Izbet Sartah was recently excavated by a team of archaeologists led by Moshe Kochavi, director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology. The dig was also sponsored by the archaeology department of Bar-Ilan University.