Regards from the past

Simon the storehouse keeper, Zacharias the mosaic artist, archaeologists and more will bring to life the stories of the different periods of Ancient Shiloh.
They are all waiting for you at the Shiloh Chronicles presentation in HaRoeh Observation Tower.

Here are a few glimpses:
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Yekar’am the Shilonite

Canaanite Period

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Shimon the storehouse keeper

Tabernacle period

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Ben Yamin

First Temple Period

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Ottoman Period

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גדליה חפר

הארכאולוג מספר אחת
בשילה הקדומה!

Points of interest at Ancient Shiloh

After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites enter the Promised Land. Shiloh was chosen as the spiritual center of the Jewish People: “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled themselves together at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them.” (Joshua 18:1)

In Shiloh, Joshua erected the Tabernacle that had traveled with the Children of Israel since the Exodus from Egypt. For the next 369 years the Tabernacle stood in Shiloh – throughout the entire period of Joshua and the Judges. Here the allotments of land were divided among the tribes of Israel, and it was here that Hannah came as a barren woman, to pray for a son. Here that son, Samuel, grew up and became a prophet and leader of the Israelites. In the past, the hills all around Shiloh were covered with vineyards, and in these vineyards the daughters of Shiloh danced on Tu b’Av, an annual festival celebrated continuously from ancient times.

Hundreds of years ago, travelers and researchers identified Shiloh by the biblical description “to the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Beth-el to Shechem, and to the south of Levonah” (Judges 21:19) and by other identifying features.

In 1978 the Jewish settlement of Shiloh was renewed, after thousands of years since its destruction. A large synagogue was built in the center of the community, in the shape of the Tabernacle, and with many components inspired by it.

Following the renewal of Jewish settlement in Shiloh, the excavations also resumed, in the early 1980s. Visitors can see the large excavation areas, which have revealed sections of the Canaanite wall, storehouses and silos that were later built against the wall. Some of the findings from these excavations can be viewed in the Shiloh Chronicles exhibit in HaRoeh Observation Tower.

In recent years, the excavation of Ancient Shiloh has been expanded, by both professional archaeologists and by volunteers and university students, who dig under our guidance. HaRoeh Observation Tower was built at the summit of Tel Shiloh, and offers visitors an interactive museum and innovative multimedia presentation.

This constantly updated site offers visitors a host of memorable experiences, from ancient handicraft workshops to extreme sports, and everything in between, as you can see in the various pages of this website.

Each year, Ancient Shiloh is visited by tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Learn more about the points of interest throughout Ancient Shiloh

The proposed site of the Tabernacle

Visitors to this site can see that the rectangular platform is flanked on the north and south by two parallel natural rock walls.

The platform is about 25 meters wide, and its east-west orientation matches that of the Tabernacle courtyard as described in the Torah:

“And you shall make the courtyard of the tabernacle… a hundred cubits long…and the width of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits” (Exodus 27:9-13)

This and a few other reasons lead us to the conclusion that this is where the Shiloh Tabernacle stood.

According to tradition, the Tabernacle stood in Shiloh for 369 years.

Here, in front of the entrance to the Tabernacle, Joshua Ben Nun and Elazar the High Priest completed the assignment of the allotments of land among the Israelite tribes of Israel, guided by the Urim and Tumim. Here Hannah’s prayer was answered, and here Samuel received his first prophecy: “And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh; for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (I Samuel 3:21)

Cisterns and ritual baths

Many cisterns for collecting rainwater were found in Ancient Shiloh. The cisterns were carved into the rock and were plastered, to prevent the water from seeping out.

There is a large spring to the northeast of Shiloh, which supplied the city with water, and these cisterns served as an alternative water source.

Even though Shiloh was not blessed with many water sources, ritual baths from the Second Temple period were discovered here. One is on the west side of the tel, and another was discovered under the ramp leading up to HaRoeh Observation Tower.


Public storehouses from the Tabernacle period were discovered in Ancient Shiloh, built outside the Canaanite city wall.

The archeological findings show that the Israelites expanded the city beyond the Canaanite walled area and used the wall as a foundation for buildings and as a source of building material.

Dozens of complete vessels were found in an ash layer, including the ‘collar-rim’ jars and other vessels typical of the Settlement period.

Charred raisins were also found, and were used to date the destruction of Shiloh to the mid-11th century BCE.

This date matches the words of the Talmudic sages, that Shiloh was destroyed by the Philistines after their victory of the Israelites in the battle of Eben-ezer (I Samuel 4:1-11)

Granaries from the Tabernacle period

The Canaanite city wall was surrounded by a glacis (a rampart of packed earth), designed to buttress the wall on the hillside and make it difficult for enemies to attack the foundations of the wall and damage it.

Round stone silos, typical of the Settlement period, were discovered on top of the foundations of the Canaanite wall. The Israelites used these silos for storing grain.

Charred seeds of grain were found inside the granaries, and were dated to the 11th century BCE.

HaRoeh Observation Tower

A visitors center unlike any other in Israel was built at the summit of the tel.

Here visitors can view an innovative multimedia presentation, the first of its kind in Israel, that brings to life the story of Ancient Shiloh.

The presentation is projected onto 12 huge screens that are alternately transparent and opaque, thus combining the biblical stories with the surrounding natural landscape – where the stories took place – seen through the screen.

The ground floor of the tower houses the Shiloh Chronicles Museum. Here visitors can see many artifacts discovered at Ancient Shiloh, from the various periods of the site’s history. Visitors can also enjoy virtual meetings with characters from these historical periods, and hear their stories about Shiloh’s past.

The tower was designed by architect Gad Politi and was built in 2013. The nine-meter-tall tower is composed of two interconnected cones, one with its base on the ground, and the other with its base facing the sky.

The architect explains that the design represents the Jewish People, planted firmly in the land of its traditions and history, while at the same time looking up, toward the heavens and the future.

HaRoeh Observation Tower was built with the generous assistance of the Falic family of Miami, who have a very deep connection to Israel and the Jewish People.

A look toward the modern community of Shiloh

In 1978 the Jewish settlement of Shiloh was renewed. The Shiloh Tabernacle synagogue was built in the center of the community, and it’s structure and interior design elements are inspired by the Tabernacle.

Shiloh has an extensive educational system – infant day care, preschools, separate elementary and high schools for boys and girls, and a yeshiva for young men. The yeshiva has a Hesder combined study/army service program with the Israel Defense Forces.

There is also a Vehadarta program for golden agers.

Three generations live here together in a multi-faceted community and enjoy a host of community activities and community involvement volunteer programs in a variety of areas.

As of 2023, the Shiloh area is home to about 10,000 residents.

When visiting Shiloh be sure to check out the many other sites this area has to offer – different types of hilltop communities, beautiful nature sites, heritage sites, wineries and other tourism points of interest.

Ancient street and olive oil press

A street from the Byzantine period, leading up to the ancient tel.

To the east of the street are the remains of an olive oil press: the mill basin, pressing surface, weights and the drainage pit.

Olive oil is one of the basic commodities of the ancient world.

In the Tabernacle, oil was used for many of the rituals: lighting the lamps, anointing, mixing with ground grain for the meal offering, and more.

To the west of the street is a fortified house, built on the remains of a building from the Second Temple period.

Jama’a al-Yatim
(the orphan mosque)

Jama’a al-Yatim (the Orphan Mosque) is a prayer house from the Mamluk period (13th century CE).

Two Byzantine churches were discovered beneath this building and surrounding it, with beautiful mosaic floors. These mosaics included a few inscriptions, one of which was a prayer for the wellbeing of the residents of Shiloh, confirming the identification of this site as Ancient Shiloh.

One of the stones in the wall of one of the churches turned out to be a reused stone from an altar from the First Temple period. One of the horns of the altar is intact, while the other three horns are broken.

This altar could have been one of the “high places” described in the Bible, as a place where the Israelites worshiped God, in contravention of a prohibition against such worship after the First Temple was built in Jerusalem. “Albeit, the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and offered in the high places” (II Kings 15:4) is just one mention of many, of these “high places.”

Reconstructed Byzantine basilica

The remains of a Byzantine church from the 5th or 6th century CE.

The mosaic floor of this church features geometric patterns, trees, plants and animals. The images of the animals were deliberately defaced (a Christian practice known as iconoclasm, that was common in the 8th century).

In the northern section of the mosaic floor in the entrance to the basilica, visitors can see a Star of David, which as a common decoration, and there is a dedication inscription in ancient Greek near the threshold of the central doorway.

The concrete structure at this site is a partial reconstruction of the Byzantine basilica, built by the Danish Expedition that excavated in Shiloh in 1926-1932. Recently, during conservation work by the Staff Officer of Archeology, another section of the church was discovered adjoining the southern wall of the reconstructed building.

Wine press

This wine press is from the Roman-Byzantine period and has a pressing floor paved with small white mosaic stones. The pressed grape juices flowed from this floor to collection pools.

A screw mechanism for extracting the remaining juice from the grapes was installed in the small depression in the floor.

The large number of ancient winepresses found in this region attest to a region densely cultivated with vineyards whose grapes produced fine wine.

The source of Tu b’Av, the “Israeli Festival of Love” is from the ancient tradition that describes young women dressed in white, dancing in the vineyards of Shiloh. “a feast to the Lord, from ancient times” (Judges 21:19).

With the renewal of the Jewish villages in this region, the vineyards and olive groves were reestablished, as visitors can see all around on the nearby hillsides and valleys, as well as a large modern olive oil production company (Meshek Achiya) and many wineries (Shiloh Winery, Gvaot, Tura and others). The olive oil company and wineries all have visitors centers that offer guided tours and a memorable (and tasty) experience.

Burial complex

A family burial complex from the Second Temple period.

An open courtyard carved into the rock, and two inner rooms with burial niches inside.

About 25 Jewish burial complexes from the Second Temple period were found around Shiloh, attesting to the size of the Jewish population here during that period.

Other artifacts left by the Jews who used to live here at that time include coins from the Great Revolt (67-70 CE) and ritual baths hewn into the rock.

Dome of the Shekhina

This building, from Byzantine period (4th–5th centuries CE), faces southward, and was apparently used as a synagogue.

A large stone lintel above the main entrance had engravings of altars, amphora, and wreaths.  Later, in the 14th century, the building was converted into a mosque called Qubat el-Skinah (The Dome of the Divine Presence). Some visitors to this site over the years suggested that this was the site of the Tabernacle, and that the sloping walls were representative of fabric covering of the Tabernacle, stretched out to the sides.

Other scholars suggest that this is the tombstone of Eli, the last high priest at the Tabernacle in Shiloh.

In the 19th century, the site was called by local inhabitants: “Jama’a a-Sittin” (Mosque of the Sixty).

The ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone for the renewed community of Shiloh was held here on the Tu b’Shvat, 5738 (23 January, 1978).