Tel a Daba

Tel a Daba: Evidence for the Exodus

According to Genesis 47: 11, Joseph settled his family in the best part of Egypt, in an area called Rameses.  Here, they eventually were enslaved (Exodus 1: 11 – 14).  The sojourn in Egypt lasted a total of 430 years (Exodus 12: 37 – 41).

Is there evidence that Israelites were in Egypt in large numbers as a slave population at the time the Bible indicates?  Yes!

For the past 35 years or so, archeologists have been investigating an ancient settlement that would have been found in the area of Biblical Rameses.  Known as ‘Tel el Daba’¹ , this territory was apparently occupied by an Asiatic slave population (i.e., slaves who were not Egyptians, but people from beyond its eastern border).  These particular inhabitants resided here from roughly the 18th – 15th Centuries BC.


We know that some of these slaves were referred to as the ‘Habiru’2 â€“ a designation for stateless people that is most likely connected with and the source for the term â€œHebrew”.   Some of the slaves bear Biblical or Israelite names.  There is even an early settlement home (a basic four room house motif) that has the markings of being Israelite in nature.  In fact, that house plan starts to appear out of nowhere in Israel right at the time of the Conquest under Joshua and the Judges.

  1.  Image of Tel el Daba found at