After the Assyrian conquest of ancient Israel, who lived in the land?
Who lived at Tel Hadid?
Tel Hadid, which is believed to be the remains of Hadid from the Bible (first mentioned in Ezra 2:32 and Nehemiah 11:34), sits in central Israel—near the Ben Gurion Airport. It overlooks the coastal highway/main trade route (the Via Maris), the Samarian foothills, and the Lydda Valley. Throughout its long history, this strategic location has played a significant role in political events and uprisings.
In “Forced Resettlement and Immigration at Tel Hadid” in the Summer 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ido Koch, Dan Warner, Eli Yannai, Lin Lawson Pruitt, Dennis Cole, and James Parker share their recent discoveries, and their connection to Tel Hadid’s long, interesting history.
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According to the Hebrew Bible, when Assyria ruled supreme the Assyrians forcibly removed the ancient Israelites from their homeland and settled a new people group in their place (2 Kings 17:24). At Tel Hadid, evidence of this forced resettlement can be found in the objects and writings left behind by the inhabitants of the city.
One such document is a real estate tablet from the autumn of 698 B.C.E. Written in Akkadian—the native language of the Assyrian Empire—all nine named invidivuals on the tablet (the buyer, the seller, and seven witnesses) have either Aramean or Akkadian (probably Babylonian) names. Not one individual has a Yahwistic name, suggesting that the Israelites were gone. Similar Akkadian documents and seals have been found at the nearby site of Gezer (one of the ten cities allotted to the Levites in Joshua 21).
Two seasons of excavations at Tel Hadid have uncovered buildings and artifacts that shed light on the people brought into Tel Hadid by the Assyrians in the Bible. Once archaeologists uncover the artifacts left behind, they can begin to identify who created them, who built them, and who used them. The archaeologists at Tel Hadid are also intrigued by the motives behind the actions for those forcefully resettled by the Assyrians in the Bible more than 2,700 years ago. Ido Koch and his team seek to answer, “Why did they try to recreate their traditional social atmosphere, and how did they accomplish it in this new land, so far from their ancestral home?”
Learn more about Tel Hadid in “Forced Resettlement and Immigration at Tel Hadid” by Ido Koch, Dan Warner, Eli Yannai, Lin Lawson Pruitt, Dennis Cole, and James Parker, published in the Summer 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Explore discoveries related to these new deportees—and more—at Tel Hadid. This article includes a special supplement, “Digging Deeper at Tel Hadid,” to understand elements of the site’s archaeology like the experts do.
The Babylonian Gap: The Assyrians impressed their culture on Israel … the Babylonians left no trace (Biblical Archaeology Review November/December 2000). As destroyers, the Assyrians and Babylonians had much in common. But the periods that followed their conquests could not be less alike. While the Assyrians left a clear imprint of their presence in Palestine, there is a strange gap after the Babylonian destruction. Call it an archaeological gap, if you wish.
Who Were the Assyrians? (Biblical Archaeology Review May/June 2019). The Assyrians referenced in the Hebrew Bible were a mighty force that exerted power over much of the Near East, including Israel and Judah, in the ninth through seventh centuries B.C.E. Learn about their beginnings over a millennium before they appeared in the Bible and how they expanded their empire from Urartu to Egypt.
Israel in Exile: Deserted Galilee testifies to Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom (Biblical Archaeology Review May/June 1998). We know of Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III’s conquests in the Galilee from the Bible and from Assyrian records. Its people were exiled to Assyria—an exile, as it were, from which they never returned. But how reliable are these records of deportation and exile? For this, we must turn to archaeology.
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