About the word…
heap in the Bible
When Joshua took the city of Ai (Joshua 8), he burned it and “made it an heap [Hebrew: 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” (also known as a “Tell”).
“There are many Tels in modern Israel, 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.”