Archaeologists discover a Late Bronze Age occupation layer destroyed by fire
Archaeologists excavating the famous ancient city of Gezer in Israel discovered a new occupation layer constituting a previously unknown Late Bronze Age city at the site. During the summer 2013 excavation season, the Tel Gezer team, led by codirectors Dr. Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority, found pottery vessels, a cache of cylinder seals and an Egyptian scarab with a cartouche of Amenhotep III. The finds demonstrate that the residents of this 14th-century B.C.E. city were Canaanites with strong ties with Egypt.
During the Late Bronze Age, Gezer and other cities in the southern Levant were under the reign of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Hebrew University professor Tallay Ornan told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Gezer’s destruction by conflagration in the Late Bronze Age “either represents an Egyptian campaign to subdue Gezer, or local Canaanites attacking an Egyptian stronghold at Gezer.”
Sift through the archaeology and history of ancient Israel and get a view of its Biblically-significant sites through an archaeologist’s lens in the free eBook Israel: An Archaeological Journey.
According to the Bible, Gezer, which had been captured by an Egyptian pharaoh, was given to the Israelite king Solomon as a wedding gift when he married the pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 9:15–16). In the Biblical account, Solomon was said to have built walls around Gezer as well as Jerusalem, Hazor and Megiddo. A century of excavations conducted at Gezer constitute one of the largest excavation projects in Israel, one that is critical to developing an understanding of the nature and chronology of the United Monarchy.
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