In 2018 a remarkable ceramic pomegranate was discovered at Tel Shiloh in Israel in ancient Judea/Samaria. Shiloh is the location of Israel’s first semi-permanent Tabernacle in the land of Canaan after the Exodus.

Tel Shiloh (in 2014.) One of the potential locations where the Tabernacle once stood. Image was taken before renewed excavations began in 2017.

After the Conquest of Canaan was well under way, and the Lord had given Joshua many victories over the Canaanites, he came to Shiloh with the twelve tribes of the Israelites in about 1399 B.C. (Joshua 18:1). Shiloh served as the capital for the young nation for over 300 years until David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-9). The ancient Biblical site was rediscovered and identified in the 4th Century AD by Eusebius of Caesarea, and then later in 1838 by the American geographer and philologist, Edward Robinson.

After three seasons of renewed excavations at Shiloh (also called Khirbet Sellun) by a team from the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) under the direction of Dr. Scott Stripling, archaeological evidence is now beginning to surface that it served as an Israelite cultic (i.e. religious) center, confirming the Biblical record in the Old Testament. The pomegranate was associated with priestly garments and activity (see Ex. 28:31-36). The small ceramic pomegranate discovered last year may have been used by the ancient Levites at Shiloh in Temple rituals and/or ornamentation. 

In addition to the ceramic pomegranate – storehouses and sacrificial animal bones have also been discovered in great proliferation, adding additional evidence that the site was used as a center of ancient religious activity. The pomegranate was discovered last year (2018) by Tim Lopez and Scott Stripling of ABR. It is 44 mm long and 29 mm wide. 

For More Information or Further Research

See the journal article on the pomegranate at – “A Ceramic Pomegranate from Shiloh” by Tim Lopez, Scott Stripling, and David Ben-Shlomo in Judea and Samaria Research Studies, Volume 28, No. 1, 2019, 37-56 

Also see, C. Houtman, “On the Pomegranates and the Golden Bells of the High Priest’s Mantle,” in Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 40, Fasc. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 223-229 (Brill Academic) 

Dr. Scott Stripling, Promised Land Pomegranates (Associates for Biblical Research)