A six acre mound (Tell Balâṭah) situated between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal. The site had a long history prominence before the Iron age. In the Middle Bronze age, it went from a small unwalled village to a massive fortified site, with an inner and outer wall separted by a massive glacis as well as a casemate wall at the top and two city gates. During this period a prominent structure that has called a “fortress temple” or Migdal was built with stone walls 17ft thick and two to three stories high. Stager claims that this 16th century building was still standing in the time of the Judges and was the famous Tower of Shechem where Abimelech met his demise. There are three destruction layers from this period over 150 years, ending in a destruction ca. 1500 possibly by Thutmosis III in his Asiatic campaigns. Late Bronze Shechem is known from the Amarna letters where Labʾayu the city overlord was known for causing problems with the city-states around him. It was destroyed ca. 1300, possibly by the Egyptians. It was rebuilt in the LB and continued to be occupied into the Iron age where it suffered destruction of its gate and temple area. After a 150 year gap (975) it was resettled and became important in monarchic period (had a casemate wall at this time), but was destroyed by Sheshonq, and reoccupied only to be destroyed again by the Neo-Assyrian campaigns that lead to the downfall of Samaria. Though resettled after this period it went into decline until it was nearly abandoned in the Persian period.

In the Bible, Shechem is important as the site of the covenant renewal in Joshua (Josh 24). Its importance is also indicated by Rehoboam going there to secure his rule over the northern part of his kingdom (1 Kgs 12), and subsequently refortified by Jeroboam I (1 Kgs 12:25)


"Shechem (Place)," ABD V:1174-1186; "Shechem, Shecemites" New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bbile 5:218-221; "Shechem" Dictionary of the Old Testament Historical Books, p. 889-892

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