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Research Topics

The Shiloh Excavations

History of the Site

Ancient Shiloh was first established in the Middle Bronze (MB) II period, around 1700 B.C. It was expanded in MB III, around 1600 B.C. and was continuously occupied until the middle of Iron Age I (around 1070 B.C.) when the Philistines destroyed it (See I Samuel 4). It was rebuilt in Iron II (980-587 B.C.) and was occupied through Early Roman times. The Byzantines and Crusaders also built structures there. Most importantly, it was the center of Israelite worship for at least 300 years. The tabernacle was erected at Shiloh and may have been later replaced by a more permanent structure. The city is in the territory of Ephraim, Joshua’s tribe.

History of Excavations

Shiloh was excavated for three seasons by a Danish team between 1926 and 1932 and again in 1963. Israel Finkelstein worked the site from 1981-84. Although a minimalist, Finkelstein confirmed the presence of “proto-Israelites” from the time of the Conquest through the period of the Judges. A very large deposit of burned cultic bones was uncovered, confirming a sacrificial system. Like at Maqatir, the Israelites built their houses against the MB wall. After Finkelstein, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria (KAMAT) renewed sporadic excavations at Shiloh in 1988. To date, ancient gates have not yet been found, but there was a glacis (fortification slope) and fortified wall that surrounded the site, which no doubt will eventually lead to the gate(s). 

Associates for Biblical Research has been excavating at Shiloh since 2017.

pdfExtensive Bibliography on Shiloh: Updated August 31, 2018 (PDF).

Reports from the 2020 Excavation Season

The 2020 Shiloh Dig Study Packet (PDF Download from DropBox)

Reports from the 2019 Excavation Season

Video Reports from the 2019 Excavation Season on YouTube

The 2019 Shiloh Dig Study Packet (PDF Download from DropBox)

Reports from the 2018 Excavation Season

Tel Shiloh 2018 Excavation Report: Submitted to the Staff Officer of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria: PDF Download from DropBox

The 2018 Shiloh Dig Study Packet (PDF Download from DropBox)

The Shiloh Excavations 2018: Season 2 Week 1

The Shiloh Excavations 2018: Season 2 Week 2

The Shiloh Excavations 2018: Season 2 Week 3

The Shiloh Excavations 2018: Season 2 Week 4

The Shiloh Excavations 2018: Season 2 Week 5

Reports from the 2017 Excavation Season

Tel Shiloh 2017 Excavation Report: Submitted to the Staff Officer of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria: PDF Download from DropBox

The Shiloh Excavations 2017: Season 1 Week 1

The Shiloh Excavations 2017: Season 1 Week 2

The Shiloh Excavations 2017: Season 1 Week 3

The Shiloh Excavations 2017: Season 1 Week 4

The Shiloh Excavations 2017: Season 1 Week 5: Conservation Work

Other Resources on Shiloh

Tim Lopez, Scott Stripling and David Ben-Shlomo “A Ceramic Pomegranate from Shiloh.” JSRS Volume 28, No. 1, 2019, 37–56.

Scott Stripling, "The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh." Bible and Spade 29:3 (2016): 88-95.

2013 Roundup of Significant New Discoveries "These buildings were destroyed in a fierce conflagration. Burnt floors were found all over. Collapsed burnt bricks accumulated on these floors to a height of more than three feet. Some of the bricks had been baked by the blaze that had raged here. Roof collapse was discernible in many places. All this dramatic evidence of fire must be associated with the destruction of Shiloh by the Philistines after they defeated the Israelites near Ebenezer in the mid-11th century B.C. Jeremiah knew what he was talking about when he later threatened the people with destruction like Shiloh’s."

Livyatan-ben-Aryeh, Reut, and Hananya Hizmi. “The Excavations at the Northern Platform of Tel Shiloh the 2012-2013 Seasons [Translated from Hebrew].” Edited by D. Scott Stripling and David E. Graves. Translated by Hillel Richman. Judea and Samarea Studies 23 (2014): 113–30.

Amihai Mazar, "Archaeology and the Bible: Reflections on History Memory in the Deuteronomistic History," in Congress Volume Munich 2013 (Vetus Testamentum Supplementum), ed. C.M. Maier, (Leiden:Brill, 2013): 350-351. (off site link).

Israel Finkelstein, Shlomo Bunimovitz, Zvi Lederman and Baruch Brandl. Shiloh: The Archaeology of a Biblical Site. Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University. 1993.

Marie-Louise Buhl and Svend Holm-Nielsen. Shiloh: The Danish Excavations at Tall Sailon, Palestine in 1926, 1929, 1932, and 1963: Pre-Hellenistic Remains. The National Museum of Denmark. 1969.

Donald G. Schley. Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition. Sheffield Academic Press. 1989.

David Rubin. God, Israel, and Shiloh. Shiloh Israel Press. 2011.

Holy Land Magazine, "Go Now to My Place at Shiloh," 2016. (off-site link)

From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period Fall of Shiloh (l Sam. 1-4). Significant architecture from the Iron Age I, the time of Eli, has been excavated at Khirbet Seilun, ancient Shiloh, 17 km south of Shechem. All traces of Iron Age and earlier occupation on the summit of the site unfortunately were removed by later building activity. On the slopes, however, enough material from the Iron Age I period has been found to determine that the settlement at that time was 2 1/2 to 3 acres in size.

pdfArchaeological-ages-handout-Wood-2016.pdf (29.12 kb)



Dear Friends,

I am profoundly disappointed that due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic we were forced to cancel the 2020 summer excavation at Shiloh. My attention has now turned to the 2021 season. The ABR team is on the verge of major discoveries at Shiloh, and I would love for you to be a part of this. We will also be filming a major documentary in 2021. Registration for the 2021 season will open in July 2020.

I encourage you to make plans to register for summer 2021. Each registration that comes in puts a smile on my face.

Digging the Bible!

Dr. Scott Stripling

Director of Excavations

Shiloh, Israel





“Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell…” –Jeremiah 7:12


May 7, 2021 - June 21, 2021




 Pre-Dig Tour: Friday May 7 to Sunday May 16, 2021 with Dr. Mark Hassler

Four Weeks of Excavation: Sunday May 16 to Saturday June 12, 2021 (Join us for 1 to 4 weeks!)

Post Dig Tour: Sunday June 13 to Monday June 21, 2021 with Gary Byers, Assistant Shiloh Dig Director




The Shiloh Excavation is one of ABR’s (Associates for Biblical Research) most important research projects. The Tabernacle stood at Shiloh for 300 years, where the people of Israel gathered to worship. This is where the Ark of the Covenant resided! We have a number of core goals for the Shiloh dig:

  • Investigate the location of the biblical tabernacle and any associated structures.
  • Uncover evidence of the biblical sacrificial system.
  • Understand daily life in Israel at the time of the Conquest and the period of the Judges.
  • Introduce the new technologies of wet-sifting and computerization in the field.
  • Equip students and volunteers with the knowledge and skills needed to scientifically excavate in the Land of the Bible.
  • Build on the regional understanding of life in the Highlands of Israel gained by ABR's previous excavations at Khirbet Nisya (1979-2002) and Khirbet el-Maqatir (1995-2016).

Do you want to help with this historic dig? Click on ONE of these links for more information:

  • Do you want to get your hands dirty and join us on the dig? You can find out more information on volunteering for the dig by clicking here
  • Can’t join us on the ground, but want to be part of our special Shiloh Financial Team and support the Dig? You can do that by clicking here



ABR fulfills its mission through memberships and generous donations from supporters.

Join us in our mission! No matter what your level of interest, from keeping abreast of the fascinating research that comes out of the field work, to actively participating in an archaeological dig, you can become an integral part of our ministry.

Please click here for our support page.


Phone: 717-859-3443

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ABRT 28 | 8/1/2019