In the last week or so, shocking reports (and photos) are coming out about severe damage caused to the Mt. Ebal Iron I cultic site, due to work on a road that the Nablus municipality is preparing. The southern part of the site has been damaged (as you can see in the attached photos – courtesy of my colleague, Dr. Dvir Raviv). Fortunately, the center of the site, where the various main structures are located (including the purported “altar”), was not damaged.
While there is quite a controversy on the interpretation of this site (which almost all agree that it is cultic, even if the connection with Joshua’s altar is less accepted), it is clear that it is an extremely important archaeological site in general, and of the Iron I particular.
Due to the fact that the site is located within “Area B” under the civilian control of the Palestinian Authority, so there is little that can be done by the Israeli civil administration.
Hopefully, a public outcry may stop further damage, and perhaps assist in renovation of the damaged areas.
Whatever your political opinions are about Israel, Palestine and related issues, the destruction of archaeological sites should not be condoned!
A resounding public condemnation – and pressure to stop and repair the damage – should come out from all quarters!