Tel Hebron is situated on a secondary spur of Jebel Rumeida, overlooking the city of Hebron from the south. The site is strategically positioned near a spring (‘Ein Judeida) and an area of cultivated plots in the Hebron Valley. Despite its significant historical importance, topographically, the mound is not easily defensible as it’s dominated on the southwest by Jebel Rumeida.

Dr. Avishai Teicher Pikiwiki Israel, CC BY 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Size and Structure:

The debris on the mound covers an area of approximately 17 acres. However, the ancient city’s actual area was likely not more than 12 acres. The mound’s layout includes a high terrace to the south and a narrower, lower terrace to the north.

Historical Significance:

Tel Hebron is associated with several biblical narratives, especially those involving the patriarchs and King David. The city was a significant settlement in the Judean Hills during the Middle Bronze Age. A cuneiform tablet from this period, inscribed in Akkadian, lists animals, possibly indicating sacrifices or trade. This tablet, along with other findings, suggests that the city played a central role in regional administration, possibly as the capital of a kingdom.


  • Initial Surveys: Tel Hebron, sometimes erroneously referred to as Tell er-Rumeida, was identified and surveyed in the 1920s by W. F. Albright, A. E. Mader, and F. M. Abel.
  • 1960s Excavations: From 1964 to 1966, an American expedition led by P. C. Hammond conducted excavations at the site.
  • 1980s Excavations: Since 1984, the mound has been excavated by the Judean Hills Survey Expedition, directed by A. Ofer with assistance from G. Su-leimani. The renewed excavations at Hebron were based on a central section, aiming to cut through the entire mound to determine its stratigraphical sequence. The Middle Bronze Age city wall helped associate other excavated areas with this central section and its strata.


A significant structure from the Middle Bronze Age was discovered near the city wall. This structure, along with the cuneiform tablet and other artifacts, provides insights into the city’s cultural, economic, and administrative significance during this period.

Later Occupations:

The site saw continuous occupation through the Early Bronze Age II-III. However, during the Late Bronze Age, the city of Hebron was abandoned, although some burial activities continued in its vicinity. The site experienced a resurgence during the Iron Age, reflecting its position as a tribal and religious center for the people of the Judean Hills and its role as King David’s first royal capital.

Biblical Hiking Map