BAR 39:05, Sep/Oct 2013
A World Below
The Caves of Maresha
It is commonplace in archaeology: An excavation provides more questions than answers. That is certainly true at Maresha.
The site is mentioned several times in the Bible, the first time in Joshua, in connection with the division following the Israelite entry into the land. To Judah was assigned Maresha, a town “with its villages” (Joshua 15:44). However, the earliest remains recovered at the site (known at the beginning of the 20th century by its Arabic name, Tel Sandahanna) date to the eighth century B.C.E. While it is theoretically possible that earlier remains may be discovered in the future, it is more probable that the text of Joshua was written at a later date when Maresha had already been established.