Tell er-Ras and Tel Balâṭah/Ancient Shechem/Tel Shechem Aerial view of Tell er-Ras and Tel Balâṭah/Ancient Shechem/Tel Shechem and Google Earth


Transliterated Name Source Name
Tell er-Ras Arabic

Tell er-Ras, located on a north trending ridge off the peak of Mount Gerizim overlooks Tell Balata/Shechem and contains the remains of a Temple to Zeus.

Maps and Plans Chronology
363 CE Earthquake

Bull and Campbell (1968:4-6) reported on excavations at Tell er-Ras, which is located on a north trending ridge off the peak of Mount Gerizim and overlooks Tell Balata (ancient Shechem). There they encountered the remains of a Temple Complex dedicated to Zeus which they suggested was built during Emperor Hadrian's visit to Palestine around 130 CE.

Adjacent to Wall 12,000 which surrounded Buildings A and B (presumed to be part of the Zeus Temple Complex), Bull and Campbell (1968:15-17) encountered six cisterns. They excavated three. At the bottom of Cistern II, a 0.15 meter thick layer of black silt was overlain by a 0.2 meter thick layer of compact fine grey silt. These two silty layers, containing a large quantity of pottery, glass fragments, coins, and other artifacts, were overlain by an apparent destruction layer - 1.10 m of loose grey earth containing architectural fragments, vaulting, and building stones. 43 dateable coins were recovered from the two silty layers in Cistern II ranging in age from Severus Alexander (222-235) to Julian II (360-363) - providing a terminus post quem of 360 CE for the destruction layer. Cisterns I and VI exhibited similar stratigraphy to Cistern II.

Bull and Campbell (1968:16) noted that the cisterns abutted and post dated Wall 12,000 which had been part of the Zeus Temple Complex. Bull and Campbell (1968:6) also reported that late and often confusing Samaritan records indicate that the Temple to Zeus was in ruins by the time of Julian II (360-363) indicating that the cisterns likely fell into disuse and began to silt up prior to 363 CE.

Seismic Effects
363 CE Earthquake

Destruction layer in Cistern II containing

  • architectural fragments
  • vaulting
  • building stones

Intensity Estimates
363 CE Earthquake

Effect Description Location Intensity
Collapsed Walls an apparent destruction layer - 1.10 m of thick loose grey earth containing architectural fragments, vaulting, and building stones. Cistern II VIII +
The archeoseismic evidence requires a minimum Intensity of VIII (8) when using the Earthquake Archeological Effects chart of Rodríguez-Pascua et al (2013: 221-224).

Notes and Further Reading

Bull, R. J. and E. F. Campbell (1968). "The Sixth Campaign at Balâṭah (Shechem)." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research(190): 2-41.

Joseph Lookout adjacent to Tell er-Ras on Mt. Gerizim at

Bibliography from Stern et al (1993)

Reports of the Austrian and German expeditions

E. Sellin, Anzeiger der Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschqften in Wien, Philologisch-historische Klasse 51 (1914), 35-40, 204-207; id., ZDPV 49 (1926), 229-236, 304-320; 50 (1927), 205-211, 265-274; 51 (1928), 119-123;

E. Sellin and H. Steckeweh, ibid. 64 (1941), 1-20; G. Welter, Archaeologischer Anzeiger (1932), 289-314.

Reports of the American expeditions

Main publications

G. E. Wright, Shechem: The Biography of a Biblical City, New York 1965

D.P. Cole, Shechem I: The Middle Bronze liB Pottery, Winona Lake, Ind. 1984

E. F. Campbell, Shechem II: Portrait of a Hill Country Vale, Atlanta 1991.

Other studies

G. E. Wright et al., BASOR 144 (1956), 9-26; 148 (1957), 11-28

L. E. Toombs and G. E. Wright, ibid. 161 (1961), 11-54; 169 (1963), 1-60

L. E. Toombs, ADAJ 17 (1972), 99-110;

R. J. Bull (et al.),BASOR ISO (1965), 7-41; id. (and E. F. Campbell), ibid. 190(1968), 2-41

E. F. Campbell etal., ibid. 204 (1971), 2-17

J.D. Seger, ibid. 205 (1972), 20-35

G. R. H. Wright, ZDPV89 (1973), 188-196

W. G. Dever, BASOR 216 (1974), 31-52

R. Boling, BASOR Supplementary Studies 21 (1975), 25-85.

Reports of Israeli excavations

A. Zertal, TA 13-14 (1987), 105-165 [el-Burnat].

Ceramic and artifact studies

F. W. Freiherr von Bissing, Mededelingen der Koniklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam, Afd. Letterkunde 62/B (1926), 1-24

H. W. Muller, Der Waffenfund von Balata-Sichem und die Sichelschwerter, Munich !987 [weapon hoard]

F. M. T. Bohl, ZDPV 49 (1926) 320-327

W. F. Albright, BASOR 86 (1942), 28-31 [cuneiform tablets]

F. M. Cross, Jr., ibid. 167 (1962),14-15

A. Zeron, TA 6(1979), 156-157[/mbn seal]

S. H. Horn,JNES2i (1962), 1-14;25 (1966) 48-56; 32(1973), 281-289 [scarabs]

0. R. Sellers, BA 25 (1962), 87-96 [coins]

G. E. Wright, BASOR 167 (1962), 5-13 [seals]

G. R. H. Wright, PEQ 97 (1965), 66-84; 101 (1969), 34-36 [fluted columns]

V. Kerkhof, BASOR 184 (1966), 20-21 [inscribed stone weight]

M. H. Wieneke, JNES 35 (1976), 127-130 [clay sealings]

S. Geva, ZDPV 96 (1980), 41-47 [tridacna shell]

P. W. Lapp, BASOR 172 (1963), 22-35 [stamped jar handles]

id., Palestinian Ceramic Chronology, 200 BC-AD 70, New Haven 1961,41-49 and passim

N. L. Lapp, BASOR 175 (1964), 14-26 [Hellenistic pottery]

P. W. Lapp, Archiiologie und A/tes Testament (K. Galling Fest.), Tiibingen 1970, 179-197

N. L. Lapp, BASOR 257 (1985), 19-43 [Persian pottery]

J. S. Holladay, Magnolia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God (G. E. Wright Fest., eds. F. M. Cross, Jr., etal.), Garden City, N.Y. 1976, 253-293 [Iron II pottery]

R. S. Boraas, The Archaeology of Jordan and Other Studies (S. H. Horn Fest.), Berrien Springs, Mich. 1986, 249-263 [Iron I pottery]

D. P. Cole, Shechem I: The Middle Bronze IIB Pottery, Winona Lake, Ind. 1984

G. R. H. Wright, Opuscula Atheniensia 7 (1967), 47-75 [Cypriot and Aegean pottery]

S. H. Horn, Jaarbericht ex Oriente Lux 20 (1968), 71-90 [1913-1914 objects]

S. H. Horn and L. G. Moulds, AUSS 7 (1969), 2-46 [1913-1914 pottery]

V. Kerkhof, Oudheidkundige Mededelingen uit het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden 50 (1969), 38-109 [artifacts from the Austro-German expeditions].

Interpretive studies

F. M. T. Bohl, De Opgraving van Sichem, Zeist, Netherlands 1927

E. Sellin, ZAW 50(1932), 303-308

R. J. Bull, BA 23 (1960), 110-119

R. J. Bull and G. E. Wright, Harvard Theological Review 58 (1965), 234-237

E. F. Campbell and J. F. Ross, BA 26 (1963), 2-27

E. F. Campbell, Magnolia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God (G. E. Wright Fest., eds. F. M. Cross, Jr., etal.), Garden City, N.Y. 1976,39-54

id., The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth (D. N. Freedman Fest.), Winona Lake, Ind. !983, 263-271

id., The Answers Lie Below (L. E. Toombs Fest.), Lanham, Md. 1984 67-76

S. H. Horn, Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 18 (1965), 284-306

G. E. Wright, Archaeology and Old Testament Study, London 1967, 355-370

J. F. Ross and L. E. Toombs, Archaeological Studies in the Holy Land, New York 1967, 119-127

G. R. H. Wright, ZDPV83 (1967), 199-202

id., ZAW80 (1968), 1-35; 82 (1970), 275-278; 87 (1975) 56-64

id., PEQ 103 (1971), 17-32

id., Zeitschriftfiir Assyriologie 74 (1984), 267-289

id., ZDPV 101 (1986),1-8

J.D. Seger, Levant 6 (1974), 117-130

id., EI 12 (1975), 34*-45*

K. Jaros, Sichem, Gottingen 1976

K. Jaros and B. Deckert, Studien ziir Sichem-Area, Giittingen 1977

L. E. Toombs, ASOR Symposia, 69-83

id., Put Your Future in Ruins (R. J. Bull Fest.), Briston, Ind. 1985, 42-60

M.D. Fowler, PEQ 115 (1983), 49-53

R. G. Boling and E. F. Campbell, Archaeology and Biblical Interpretation (D. Glenn Rose Fest.), Atlanta 1986, 259-272

D. Dorsey BASOR 268 (1987), 57-70.