For several millennia during the Bronze and Iron Ages, history tells us that Hazor was the greatest city in northern Palestine and perhaps one of the greatest cities in all of the Eastern Mediterranean. Hazor and its kings are mentioned in the militaristic boasts and diplomatic correspondences of ancient Near Eastern rulers, while the Book of Joshua famously refers to Hazor as “the head” of all the Canaanite kingdoms. Even after the Israelites had conquered and resettled the city, Hazor still dwarfed the rest of the major cities of the Israelite kingdom of David and Solomon, including Jerusalem. Hazor remained a principle settlement in the northern kingdom of Israel until the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III destroyed the city in 732 B.C.E.
Recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, Hazor is one of the largest archaeological sites in all of Israel, with its great, bottle-shaped mound covering over 200 acres. The site has an upper mound as well as a lower city, and excavations over the decades have revealed 22 strata of occupational debris, the earliest dating to the 18th century B.C. Amidst those layers, archaeologists have uncovered the impressive remains of a grand Canaanite (and then Israelite) city that was once only known from history and the Bible. Among the major discoveries at Hazor have been colossal Canaanite temples and buildings, curious cultic statues and installations, an expansive city water system and a famous monumental six-chamber gate widely attributed to Solomon.
This season, dig directors Amnon Ben-Tor and Shlomit Bechar plan to continue the excavation of the Late Bronze Age destruction layer and expose the floors of the monumental royal structure on the northern slope of the tell and its courtyard. The area will also be expanded to the south, exposing the Iron Age levels.
How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. Learn more >>
20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee
Bronze and Iron Ages
June 23 – August 2, 2019
May 1, 2019
3 or 6 credits; $120/credit hour; awarded by Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Volunteers will stay three per room at the Kibbutz Amiad Holiday Village. Each room features a/c, a kitchenette, a television and private showers. The kibbutz offers a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts as well as a supermarket, coffee shop, pub and winery.
No specific tours are offered of the excavation site, but visitors are welcome to visit the park during its operating hours (8:00 am-5:00 pm, entrance fee required).
Amnon Ben-Tor has led the Hazor excavations since 1990. He is the Yigael Yadin Professor in the Archaeology of Eretz Israel at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a post he has held since 1988. He has participated in digs since 1963 and has spent many seasons at Yoqne’am and Tel Qashish, as well as at Horvat Usa, Tel Yarmuth, Azor, Tel Qiri and Athienou (Cyprus). He co-authored Yoqne’am I: The Late Periods (Jerusalem, 1996) and Tel Qashish, A Village in the Jezreel Valley (Jerusalem, 2003). He recently edited Yoqne’am II: The Iron Age (Jerusalem, 2005) and Yoqne’am III: The Bronze Age (Jerusalem 2005).
Shlomit Bechar is a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.