Megiddo Expedition has so far initiated excavation in six areas, all of
which will be explored in the 2000 season.
|Area F Click Here to see a panorama of Area F from the 2000 season
The lower mound is being properly excavated for the
first time, revealing a massive Middle Bronze Age fortification system
and a Late Bronze Age public edifice. Overlying this is an Iron Age stratum,
possibly from the 10th century BCE (Low Chronology). In 2000 we will continue
to excavate the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze remains.
|Area H Click Here to see a panorama of Area H from the 2000 season
kings of Assyria constructed massive palaces on the mound. Reexamination
of these structures has thrown new light on Megiddo's role as an Assyrian
provincial center. Below these remains, we have found new evidence about
the last days of Israelite Megiddo, on the eve of Assyrian conquest and
its destruction by Tiglath-Pileser III King of Assyria (732 BCE). In 2000,
we plan to expose the remains of Biblical Israel in its prime, the 10th
and 9th centuries BCE. Far, far below, an unexcavated segment of the Late
Bronze Age palace continues to beckon, but it will require many years to
penetrate down to the level at which it is found.
Area J contains the most elaborate sequence of temples
ever found in the Levant, from the Early Bronze I (4th millennium BCE)
to the end of the Late Bronze Age (12th century BCE). In 1994, the Expedition
clarified the history of the earliest temple (Early Bronze IB).
In 1996 and 1998, we discovered an unparalleled monumental compound of
the later phase of Early Bronze IB (3500-3100 BCE). It consists of several
long, parallel stone walls, each of which is 4 meters wide. Between the
walls were narrow corridors, filled hip-deep with the remains of animal
sacrifice. These walls lie immediately below the huge ‘megaron’ temples
of the Early Bronze III (2700-2300 BCE). This season, we will continue
to expose this massive but puzzling monumental structure.
|Area K Click Here to see a panorama of Area K from the 2000 season
Remains of Stratum VA-IVB have been exposed. Beneath
them lies Stratum VIA. Both strata were destroyed by fire. Which of them
is the Solomonic city of Megiddo? The resolution of this question will
determine the course of scholarly synthesis of archaeology with Israelite
history and of the chronology of the Iron
Age, the Biblical era. In 2000 we'll continue to excavate down to the Iron
I and Late Bronze Levels.
|Area L Click Here to see a panorama of Area L from the 2000 season
An imposing ashlar building on the northern edge of
the mound was explored by Yigael Yadin, and identified with Stratum VA-IVB,
widely regarded as the Solomonic City. The architectural plan of this building,
labeled by Yadin "Palace 6000" resembles that of Syrian palaces of the
same period. Is this, as has commonly been thought, a Solomonic structure?
Or does it stem from a later period in the Israelite monarchy?
The excavation of this area in 1998 revealed three
strata: the upper, close to the surface, included remains of open courtyards
paved with pebbles, which date to the Stratum III (The Assyrian Period).
The main feature of the second level is the set of "stables" - similar
to the buildings excavated in the past a bit to the south and in the southwestern
sector of the tell. Each unit is built of three longitudinal halls, separated
by a row of mangers and stone pillars. The side halls are paves with pebbles
and the centeral aisle is paved with thick plaster. There is an on-going
debate about the function of these buildings - stables, storehouses, barracks,
or market places. We took earth samples from the floors in order to try
to identify animal waste. Under this level we uncovered the remains of
the ashlar palace 6000, which was first investigated by Yadin in the 1960's.
The beautiful ashlar palace and the pillared buildings
(the "stables") will be the main focus of the virtual reality presentation
to the public program, which will include the installment of on-site computers.
|Area M Click Here to see a panorama of Area M from the 2000 season
Here we began cleaning and reinvestigating areas
excavated by Gottlieb Schumacher on behalf of the German Society for Palestinian
Research at the beginning of this century. In 1998 we excavated four squares
near the large, beautifully stone-built tomb excavated by Schumacher. Unique
in this country, it is probably the tomb of one of the monarchs of Megiddo
in the second millennium BCE. We were able to date the tomb to the later
phase of the Late Bronze Age and to redate some of the elements in this
area to the Late Bronze Age, rather than the Middle Bronze Age, as previously