By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
- Near East terrain
A city on the Orontes, well known from a mass of clay tablets excavated there.
'Ain Ghazal is a large Neolithic site in the Wadi Zarqa on the outskirts of northeast Amman in Jordan. Excavations began in 1982 by a joint American-Jordanian expedition under the direction of Gary Rollefson, Alan Simmons and Zeidan Kafafi. Four main phases of occupation were uncovered, lasting from ~7200 BC to ~5200 BC.
The UPenn Museum's collections include artifacts from five seasons of survey and excavations in the Baq'ah Valley (between 1977 and 1987), nine miles northwest of Amman, Jordan. Dr. Patrick E McGovern, Senior Research Scientist in the Museum Applies Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA), directed excavation and survey at several different tels and burial caves, discovering artifacts from the Early Bronze Age through the Mameluke period. Among the significant discoveries were a large Late Bronze Age cult building and one of the largest tombs from the Early Iron Age (1200 - 1050 BC) excavated in the area.
בית שאן Beth Shean
Byblos was a Phoenician city. The Stele of Yehawmilk of Byblos (5th century BC)
Gibeon, the modern Arab village of el-Jib, was first occupied in the Middle Bronze Age I as evidence mainly by its cemetery. In the Early Iron Age, a massive city wall was built around the mound and a huge cylindrical pool for fresh water, reached by a spiraling stair of 79 steps, was excavated in the bed-rock. The city reached its peak in the 7th century BC when the entire mound was covered with buildings and the Gibeonites produced and traded large quantities of wine -- 63 rock-cut storage cellars for wine were excavated. Dr. James B Pritchard, the first curator of the Section of Biblical Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania Museum directed the excavations at the biblical city of Gibeon.
In 1964, Dr. Pritchard turned his attention to tell es-Sa'idiyeh. In two seasons of excavation, he found a cemetery used in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (c 1250 - 1150 BC) and Iron Age city remains (9th - 8th century BC). The rich burials at Tell es-Sa'idiyeh contained bronze vessels, jewelry of gold and precious stones, and beautiful imported and locally produced jewelry.
Dr. Pritchard then directed four seasons of excavations at Sarepta (modern Sarafand) in Lebanon. This important Phoenician port city flourished from its foundation in about 1600 BC through the Byzantine era.
Shiqmin dates as far back as the early Chalcolithic. Phase III (4,520-4,400 BC) has subterranean houses and 2 semicircular alters). Phase II (4,240-3,990 BC) shifts to an open-air village (as opposed to subterranean). Shiqmin was mostly destroyed at the end of Phase II, with Phase I (3,940-3,700) indicated uneven site oocupation followed by abandonment.
Tell Umm Hammad
One of the largest Early Bronze IV settlements of the east Jordan Valley was Tell Umm Hammad, on the north side of the river Zarqa, close to its confluence with the Jordan. Its cemetery is known locally as Tiwal esh-Sharqi. Most tombs were of the traditional shaft type, though two were rectangular trenches lined on all four sides with large stones and roofed over with huge limestone slabs. Its cemetery Tiwal esh-Sharqi was excavated in 1984 by Jonathan Tubb, on behalf of the British Museum.
Khirbet Beit Lei
Khirbet Beit Lei is an ancient Judean site near Lachish that has yielded burial chambers, among which is a 7th/6th century inscription providing the earliest Hebrew reference to Jerusalem. The inscription is a Deuteronomistic blessing.
Gezer is a site from ancient Israel that has yielded 10 monumental megaliths (possibly a Canaanite bamoth), 9 inscribed boundary stones (which allowed it to be the first definitively identified Biblical city) and a Solomonic 6-Chambered Gate (similar to those at Hazor and Megiddo). Also found at Gezer is the Gezer Calendar (~900 BC), the earliest known example of Hebrew writing.
Tel Dan yielded the ~825 BC House of David inscription. Three basalt fragments were discovered that recounted Aramean king Hazael's victory over the House of David and Israel.
Ekron is modern Tell Miqne. Padi was installed as ruler of Ekron, part of the Philistine pentapolis, an attempt by Assyrian king Sennacherib to exert hegemony over the Philistine-heavy region and thereby control Judah. Padi's reign over the area was important for Assyria to maintain control. Ruling from Ekron, Padi was a vassal of Assyria and his citizens despised him for it; the Ekron people dethroned him and tossed him to Judean king Hezekiah (ruling from Jerusalem) for imprisonment. The Ekron then called upon Egypt and Ethiopia for help in anticipation of punishment by Assyria. The officials of Sennacherib left Lachish (their capital over the area) to Jerusalem to meet the officials of king Hezekiah. Although Egypt and Ethiopia supported Hezekiah, Sennacherib was able to re-conquer the territory and Padi was reinstated.