When Joshua took the city of Ai ( Joshua 8 ), he burned it and "made it an heap [Heb. tel] for ever" ( 8:28 ). The ruins of this city were for a long time sought for in vain. It has been at length, however, identified with the mound which simply bears the name of "Tel." "There are many Tels in modern Palestine, that land of Tels, each Tel with some other name attached to it to mark the former site. But the site of Ai has no other name 'unto this day.' It is simply et-Tel, 'the heap' par excellence."
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Heap". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".