Qubur al-Walaydah


Qubur al-Walaydah is a small archaeological site in southwest Israel, about 2 hectares in size. It is situated on the right bank of the Nahal Be’er Sheva, between Tell Jemmeh and Tell el-Farah (South). The site’s name originates from the Beni Walaydah Bedouin, a subgroup of the Jubarat.


The site was first registered by the Department of Antiquities of the British Mandate government of Palestine and was tested in 1977 by Rudolph Cohen. The excavations at Qubur al-Walaydah have been focused on understanding a rural settlement from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, exploring the transition from coastal to inland cultures, and examining the distinctions between urban and rural material cultures.

Historical Context

Qubur al-Walaydah is located in a region that marks the transition from the settled coastal plain to the more arid steppe and desert environments to the east and south. The site consists of two areas: a southern settlement adjacent to the badland topography of the Nahal Be’er Sheva and a northern settlement on a small hill.

The Iron Age strata at Qubur al-Walaydah provide valuable insights into the rural village culture of the coastal Philistine plain and its evolution into the Iron Age. The site’s stratigraphy and material culture reflect the cultural and social transitions between the coastal plain and the inland groups, highlighting the distinctions between Philistine and Israelite identities.


While the site is not directly identified with a specific biblical location, the investigations contribute to the broader understanding of the Philistine and Israelite cultures, which are significant in the biblical narrative.


Since 2007, the site has been excavated by a joint project of Ben-Gurion University, the University of Leipzig, and the University of Rostock. The excavations have been focused on two fields, with geomagnetic surface exploration conducted in 2008.

Findings Focused on Iron Age

Iron Age IIA (Field 2)

  • Architectural remains from the second half of the 8th to the early 7th century BCE.

Iron Age II (Field 2)

  • Architectural remains from the 7th century BCE.

Iron Age IIC (Field 2)

  • Architectural remains from the late 7th century BCE.

Iron Age IB (Field 1 and 2)

  • Pits and architecture in Field 1, and architecture in Field 2.
  • Squatter’s occupation in the ruins of the “residency” building in Field 1.

Iron Age IA (Field 1)

  • The “residency” building, with no occupation in Field 2 during this phase.


Excavations at Qubur al-Walaydah, 2007–2009
Gunnar Lehmann, Steven A. Rosen, Angelika Berlejung,
Bat-Ami Neumeier and Hermann M. Niemann