That's how I felt this Sunday when I joined the newly-formed group of Tzfat Day Trippers on a trip through to two local archaeological sites, Hatzor and Tel Dan. These two sites are, literally, in my backyard (Hatzor is about a 15 minute drive from Tzfat and Tel Dan is closer to an hour) but, although I'd vaguely heard about their stories (James Mitchner's book The Source was based on Hatzor and I never forgot his description of their child sacrifices) I had never really explored them.
Settlement in Hatzor dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E. -- after the visit to the tel (mound) we went to the museum at nearby Ayelet HaShachar where the finds are displayed and saw items dating back to 2500 B.C.E -- but Hatzor reached its pinacle in the 2nd and early 1st centuries when it was an important site on the Damascus-Egypt trading route.
Hatzor is listed as one of the Canannite cities that Joshua conquered in the Bible. The Bible records that, because of Hatzor's idolotry, it was the only city that Joshua completely destroyed. The Tanach records that Joshua burned the city and archaeological remain show that a fire occurred in about 1300B.C.E., exactly at the time that Joshua and the Children of Israel were entering the country.
Hatzor is also mentioned as one of the cities (along with Gezer and Megiddo) which Solomon fortified later one (approximately 1000B.C.E). At that time Hatzor became a Jewish city. The remains of the gates are, not coincidentally, identical to the gates found in digs at Megiddo and Gezer -- another archaeological discovery that meshes with the Tanach.
Remnants can be seen of homes, the palace, the city gates, storage areas and the temple where the Canannites sacrificed.
Tel Dan is a nature reserve which houses the ancient ruins of the Lachish civilization. Although the tribe of Dan was supposed to have settled in the lowlands, near today's Tel Aviv (Gush Dan), they evidently were unhappy there and headed north to capture Lachish and expand their rule.
We walked through the nature reserve towards the area in which the archaeological site stands. Again, Yoni read relevant verses from the Tanach to make the era come alive as we imagined the conquest and settlement of the Dannites. Dan was also one of the regions in which King Ahab allowed his wife Jezebel to establish a temple to pagan gods and we got an overview of the era when traditional Torah worship intermingled with the gods of other nations.
Since the arch dates back to 1800B.C.E., the era in which Abraham lived, it's likely, Yoni said, that Abraham himself walked under this arch as he approached the king to ask for his nephew.