Shepherds field is located near Bethlehem, at the outskirts of the city. The city, whose name means "house of bread," was originally called Ephrath (Genesis 35:16; Ruth 4:11). It is located about five miles south of Jerusalem at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above sea level, making it 100 feet higher than Jerusalem.
Bethlehem's first mention in the Bible is in regard to the burial of Jacob's wife Rachel who died during labor (Genesis 35:19, 48:7). Bethlehem was also the birthplace of David and the location where he was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel (1Samuel 16:4-13).
It was at this field where shepherds watched over their flocks that the first annoucement of Jesus' birth was made to the world:
"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
"And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.'
"So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.'" (Luke 2:8-12, 15, NKJV)
The Online Etymology Dictionary states an interesting fact regarding the history of the English word shepherd. According to the dictionary, shepherds customarily were buried with a tuft of wool in their hand to prove their occupation on Judgment Day and be excused for often missing church.