What Mean These Bones?: Studies in Southeastern Bioarchaeology

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Baccelli, F. Baffi, Who locked the door? Bardeschi, A propos des installations dans la cour du Temple Ovale de Khafajah Bellino, A. Vallorani, The Stele of Tell Ashara. The Neo-Syrian perspective Bombardieri, C. Brustolon, E. Cecchini, G. Affanni, A. Di Michele, Tell Afis. A work in progress Cerasetti, V.

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Archaeology of Israel

Colantoni, A. Conti, C. Persiani, Arslantepe. The building sequence of the EB3 settle- ment Coppini, Mitannian pottery from Tell Barri Daems, Alternative ways for reading some female figurines from Late Prehistoric Mesopotamia and Iran Valenti, N. Laneri, Archaeological works at Hirbemerdon Tepe Turkey. A preliminary report or the first three seasons Laurito, A. De Schacht, W. Gheyle, R. Gossens, A. Interdisciplinary study of an Iron Age village and its environment Einwag, Fortified citadels in the Early Bronze Age?

New evidence from Tall Bazi Syria Feizkhah, Pottery of Garrangu style in Azarbaijan Iran Felluca, S. Festuccia, M. Rossi, Recent excavations on the Ebla Acropolis Syria Forest and R. Fortin, L. Loisier, J. Gernez, A new study of metal weapons from Byblos: Preliminary work Gibbs, Pierced clay disks and Late Neolithic textile production Gil Fuensanta, P. Crivelli, The dawn of a city. Grootveld, What weeds can tell us Archaeobotanical research in the Jordan Valley Guralnick, Khorsabad sculptured fragments Hameeuw, K. Vansteenhuyse, G.

Jans, J. Bretschneider, K. Van Lerberghe, Living with the dead. Tell Tweini: Middle Bronze Age tombs in an urban context Hole, Ritual and the collapse of Susa, ca BC Past and future Results of the last excavations on the Roman city Jasim, E. Kaptijn, Settling the steppe. Kurzawski, Assyrian outpost at Tell Sabi Abyad: Architecture, organisation of space and social structure of the Late Bronze settlement Laurito, C. Lemorini, E. Cristiani, Seal impressions on cretulae at Arslantepe: Improving the methodological and interpretative references Kenyon A hundred years after her birth.

The formative years of a female archaeologist: From socio-politics to the stratigraphi- cal method and the radiocarbon revolution in archaeology Lorentz, Crafting the Head: The human body as art? The documentation of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft excavation at Assur — Possibilities and limits of its reexamination Marder, I. Milevski, R. Rabinovich, O. Ackermann, R.

Shahack-Gross, P. Martins, Oriental antiquities and international conflicts. A Portuguese epi- sode during the 1st World War Micale, The course of the images. Remarks on the architectural reconstructions in the 19th and 20th centuries: The case of the Ziqqurrat Milevski, Y. Pedde, The Assur-Project. An old excavation newly analysed Peyronel, Making images of humans and animals. Some preliminary remarks on the results of the Archaeological Survey Project III F.

Pinnock, Artistic genres in Early Syrian Syria. Image and ideology of power in a great pre-classical urban civilisation in its formative phases Riehl, Agricultural decision-making in the Bronze Age Near East: The development of archaeobotanical crop plant assemblages in relation to climate change Restoration training programs Schmid, A.

Amour, A. Barmasse, S. Duchesne, C. Huguenot, L. Wadeson, New insights into Nabataean funerary practices Silvonen, P. Kouki, M. Lavento, A. Mukkala, H. Starzmann, Use of space in Shuruppak: Households on dispaly Steimer-Herbet, H. Criaud, Funerary monuments of agro-pastoral populations on the Leja Southern Syria Thomas, The ebb and flow of empires — Afghanistan and neighbouring lands in the twelfth-thirteenth centuries Tonoike, Beyond style: Petrographic analysis of Dalma ceramics in two regions of Iran Vansteenhuyse, M. Degryse, K. Watkins, Natural environment versus cultural environment: The implications of creating a built environment Balkan, M.

Molist and D. Stordeur eds. Introduction: House for the living and place for the dead. In memory of Jacques Cauvin Edwards, The symbolic dimensions of material culture at Wadi Hammeh Valla, F. Guerrero, M. Molist, J. Anfruns, Houses for the living and for the dead? The case of Tell Halula Syria Stordeur, R.

Khawam, Une place pour les morts dans les maisons de Tell Aswad Syrie. Kuijt, What mean these bones? Considering scale and Neolithic mortuary variability Akkermans, Burying the dead in Late Neolithic Syria Watkins, Ordering time and space: Creating a cultural world Akkermans, W. Cruells and M. Molist eds. Introduction: A workshop on the origins of the Halaf and the rise of styles Cruells, The Proto-Halaf: Origins, definition, regional framework and chronology Bernbeck, Taming time and timing the tamed Picon, A contribution to the discussion on the origins of the Halaf culture from chemical analyses of pottery Robert, A.

Lasalle, R. Verhoeven, Neolithic ritual in transition They placed the dead in different physical positions, buried them with different objects or not objects at all , and probably followed different social rules for where the burials should be placed within their village.

While not always observable through materials evidence, variation in mortuary practices unques- tionably reflects the degree of interconnection within and between people at mul- tiple social scales, such as the household, village or region. It is relatively easy, if not trite, to argue that variation existed in Neolithic mortuary practices.

It is much more difficult, however, to understand the social, political and economic processes behind such variation in mortuary practices. In some ways our archaeo- logical considerations of Neolithic mortuary practices can be divided into two cat- egories: broad conceptual interpretations that stress regional similarities, and descriptive archaeological data sets provided from excavations.

Surprisingly little study has addressed the linkages between these two levels, let alone explored how we are to conceptualize variation at different scales. This essay focuses on two major questions: how are archaeologists to articulate and balance cultural similarities and differences when developing explanatory models for Neolithic mortuary practices, and how is the analysis of Neolithic mortuary variation linked to the scale of comparative social units being employed? With this question in mind, I want to address some of the inter- connections between Neolithic mortuary variability, scale of analysis, and social interpretation.


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Cultural and mortuary practices on the intra-regional scale: the Koine and Levantine PPNB Interaction Sphere models Beyond the large number of publications examining the Neolithic from an economic, subsistence, or technological stand point, there are two very important regional interpretive models of the Neolithic cultural landscape: the Koine model of Neolithic life-ways proposed by J.

Broadly focused on the south, central and northern Levant, J. Cauvin argued that the remarkable similarities in Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultural practices indicate that communities shared a similar cultural foundation, albeit with regional variations in material cul- ture. In many ways Cauvin anticipated later post-procesual stud- ies by explicitly arguing that these shared cultural practices reflect a system of shared social beliefs expressed at multiple scales of identity, such as the household, community and inter-regional communities.

From his perspective, they not only reflect the past existence of a system of shared economic, technological, or sub- sistence practices, but they reflect co-participation in ideological, symbolic, and rit- ual beliefs. Drawing on many of the same data sets from the Levantine PPNB, Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen argue that material and cultural similarity can be linked to the development of a series of economic and social interaction spheres geo- graphically centered along the Levantine Corridor, covering the Jordan Valley and extending from the southern Levant up to Anatolia.

It is within this core area, then, that PPNB economic and social developments, such as sedentary lifeways and agricultural villages, first occurred. Drawing on substantial archaeological and ecological data, Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen argue that it was within this environ- mental setting that specific economic and social practices first emerged. For exam- ple, they argue that along the Levantine Corridor, PPNB economic behavior focused on agricultural villages with shared subsistence, architectural and mor- tuary practices. In contrast, they argue that economic systems in desert areas, such as the eastern desert, the Sinai or the Negev, were focused on hunting and gather- ing up to 8, BP.

Although this model is fundamentally focused on economic practices and their environmental context, Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen also explicitly indicate that ritual practices and the development of an organized reli- gion, led by distinguished members of the community, were very important aspects of everyday life.

Mortuary practices in a local context: documenting practices within settlements The interpretative frameworks of Neolithic regional practices of Cauvin and Bar-Yosef and Belfer-Cohen emphasizing shared practices and similarities. This stands in sharp opposition to the detailed descriptive works of site level practices, which draw new attention to the remarkable variation in Neolithic mortuary practices. With continued archaeological fieldwork in the Near East, researchers have slowly developed more detailed understanding of mortuary practices within single sites.

Due to the limited direct dating of burials, and in some cases only a limited under- standing of occupational history at individual settlements, researchers have a poor understanding of the connections between individual mortuary practices and household or kin-group membership. While data control is one of the immediate problems in accomplishing this, a secondary one is the problem of linking burials to architectural remains, and ultimately, the social and economic unit that resided in these houses.

In some ways, therefore, is understandable that our descriptions and analysis of burials are generally focused on individuals, not social units. It is, in fact, not clear if archaeologists will ever be able to link individual burials to structural remains and the social units within which they existed.

With increased field research, as illustrated by this volume, there is now increasing evidence for previously unrecognized variation in Near Eastern Neolithic mortuary practices. Such increased attention to variations within settlements, between settlements, and on a regional scale are very important.

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After all, if our hope is to understand the reasons behind mortuary variation then it is first necessary to document the material range of variation. Potentially this includes such things as behavioral variation leaving mate- rial residues of differential grave goods, grave placement, grave shape, position of the dead, and location of the graves within settlements. One of the first steps in this process, needless to say, is to understand change through time in a limited geo- graphical area. While there is no a growing corpus of new data, we have yet to grapple with the question of how do we account for variation in mortuary prac- tices.

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As part of this, we have yet to assess when observed mortuary variation is reflective of household differences within a settlement, variation in practices between settlements, or potentially if we are dealing with variation in practices across regions. Neolithic mortuary practices: questions and considerations As Verhoven , elegantly points out, our archaeological discussion and modeling of Neolithic mortuary practices and ritual needs to explore the mid- dle ground between macro-models and descriptive treatments of settlement scale data.

I might add, moreover, that researchers need to focus on a host of new ques- tions related to the source s of variation in mortuary practices. Let me outline some of these key unresolved questions, and then shift to a discussion of mor- tuary variability and how this variability needs to be understood in the context of scale of comparative social units. First, what were the mechanisms and pathways for developing, maintaining and sharing cultural practices within settlements?

An additional site from the early Lower Paleolithic is the Ruhama Swamp in the northern Negev , which contains remains from the Oldowan culture. Most of the sites from this period belong to the Acheulean culture , and on many of them remains of elephant bones have been found, together with tools made of flint and of basalt. The site near Lake Ram , in the Golan Heights , where the Venus of Berekhat Ram was discovered, probably belongs to this cultural horizon. This statue is considered, by some, to be the earliest artistic representation of the human form.

One of the human fossils from this period is the Galilee Skull—part of a skull discovered by Francis Turville-Petre in Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh , in Nahal Amud —which is considered today to be the skull of a Homo heidelbergensis or of an early Homo Sapiens. This period has been dated to the years , - 45, BP. Fossils of Neanderthals and of Homo-Sapiens from this period have been discovered in Israel. The Homo-Sapiens remains found in Israel are the oldest anatomically modern human remains that were discovered outside of Africa.

It is yet unclear whether Neanderthals and Homo-Sapiens populations coexisted side by side, in this area, or replaced each other as the global climate shifted, as was common during the Pleistocene. Both used the same style of stone tools , identified as the Mousterian culture. Remains of this culture have been discovered all over Israel, in dozens of cave sites and open sites. Judging by the size and content of these sites it seems the population living in the area of today's Israel in that period was small. Groups were small and they subsisted on hunting , consuming the carcasses of dead animals and gathering plants.

Their preferred game was the Mountain gazelle , the Persian fallow deer and the Aurochs. In cave sites that had been used as seasonal dwellings in that period dozens of buried human skeletons have been uncovered. This period in Israel has been dated to between 45, BCE and 20, BCE, and its sites are associated with two cultural horizons: the Ahmarian culture and the Levantine Aurignacian culture. Some technological advancements were made in this period, including the introduction of new techniques for manufacturing flint tools , the invention of the bow and arrow , and the manufacturing of stone tools intended for grinding food and preparing dyes.

Humans began making tools from animal bones and the use of seashells for decoration became widespread. Parts of skeletons were discovered in various sites, but no cemeteries from this period were ever found. It seems that during this era the Neanderthals disappeared, from Israel, as they were going extinct throughout the Middle East and Europe , at the time. In this era, bridging between the mobile bands of hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic and the agricultural villages of the Neolithic, 3 different cultures existed in Israel: the Kebaran culture , dated to 18, - 12, BCE, the Kebaran Geometric culture, dated to 12, - 10, BCE and the Natufian culture , dated to 12, - 9, BCE.

The Neolithic period appears to have begun when the peoples of the Natufian culture , which spread across present-day Syria , Israel and Lebanon , began to practice agriculture.

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This Neolithic Revolution has been linked to the cold period known as the Younger Dryas. This agriculture in the Levant is the earliest known to have been practiced. The term "Natufian" was coined by Dorothy Garrod in , after identifying an archaeological sequence at Wadi al-Natuf which included a Late Levallois-Mousterian layer and a stratified deposit, the Mesolithic of Palestine, which contained charcoal traces and a microlithic flint tool industry.

Understanding of the Chalcolithic period in Israel and in the Levant is still far from perfect. Though no direct evidence to this effect is currently available, it is possible that Chalcolithic civilizations have spread from the northern parts of Israel to its southern parts, over the course of several centuries, during the first half of the 5th millennium BCE. Judging by evidence from the material culture, there seems to be no direct link between the Late Neolithic cultures and the early Chalcholithic cultures that replaced them, in this region.

Chief among the Chalcolithic cultures of the Levant is the Ghassulian culture of the mid to late Chalcolithic. It might have been preceded by the Bsorian culture. The Ghassulian culture itself is made of several subcultures, one of which is the Beersheba culture. Hundreds of Chalcolithic sites have been discovered in Israel. Their subsistence was based on farming crops - chiefly wheat , barley and lentils - and on livestock: sheep , goats , pigs and cattle.

The livestock was also used for producing wool and dairy products. This is evident from the many butter churns , made of clay, and also from the large number of animal figurines that have been discovered on Chalcolithic sites. People of the Chalcolithic period were also the first, in Israel, to grow cultivated fruit bearing trees, such as date palms , olive trees and pomegranates. The Ghassulians were the first, in Israel, to smelt and work copper. Settlements of the Beersheba culture , a late Ghassulian subculture, specialized in different types of industry.

Bir Abu Matar produced copper and copper tools, artifacts and jewelry. Copper ore , imported from Wadi Feynan or from Timna , was ground and then cooked in ovens. It was then smelted in special furnaces made of compacted earth mixed with straw. The molten metal was collected in special clay bowls and cast into earthen molds that were shattered after the metal had cooled. The people of Bir Tzafad specialized in ivory carving.

People of the Chalcolithic era also produced a multitude of stone flint tools , chief among which were fan scrapers , used mainly for working leather. Elaborate, multicolored, wall paintings, done on plaster, that were probably associated with Ghassulian religious practices, were discovered in the later Chalcolithic layers of Teleilat el-Ghassul - the layers associated with the Ghassulian culture.

The painters employed elaborate techniques, including the use of rulers to draw straight lines, and produced works of high accuracy. Periodically, a new layer of plaster would be applied to the wall, and covered in fresh paintings. Over 20 such layers were discovered on the walls of one of the houses. The Ghassulians also produced ivory statuettes, often of naked women or of bearded men, or using other motifs, for instance - birds. These statuettes had holes at the top, and were probably meant to be suspended by a string. They include motifs found in artifacts from pre-dinastic Upper Egypt Amratian and Gerzean cultures.

People of the Chalcolithic engaged in extensive trade. Copper ore for the Ghassulian copper industry was imported from Timna of from Wadi Feynan , in today's Jordan. Basalt artifacts sets of large, finely-crafted, basalt bowls that were probably used in religious rituals were imported from the north, from the Golan or from the Houran.

These sets of exquisite artifacts also indicate an early phase of social stratification in Chalcolithic societies, since they were only found in several of the houses, whereas in others similar sets made of clay were discovered. The settlements also traded with each other. Many writers have linked the history of the Levant from the Bronze Age onwards to events described in the Bible.

The Late Bronze Age is characterized by individual city-states, which from time to time were dominated by Egypt until the last invasion by Merneptah in BCE. The Amarna Letters are an example of a specific period during the Late Bronze Age when the vassal kings of the Levant corresponded with their overlords in Egypt. It is also known as the Israelite period. In this period both the archaeological evidence and the narrative evidence from the Bible become richer and much writing has attempted to make links between them.

A chronology includes:. The traditional view, personified in such archaeologists as Albright and Wright , faithfully accepted the biblical events as history, but has since been questioned by " Biblical minimalists " such as Niels Peter Lemche , Thomas L.

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Thompson and Philip R. Israel Finkelstein [10] suggests that the empire of David and Solomon United Monarchy never existed and Judah was not in a position to support an extended state until the start of the 8th century. Finkelstein accepts the existence of King David and Solomon but doubts their chronology , significance and influence as described in the Bible. Following the collapse of many cities and civilizations in the eastern Mediterranean Basin at the end of the Bronze Age, certain local nomadic groups in eastern Canaan began settling in the mountainous regions of that land the mountain ranges on both sides of the Jordan River , of which the western part is known today as Judea and Samaria , or the West Bank.

In this period the Sea Peoples invaded the countries along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, creating the Philistine city states along the seacoast of southwestern Canaan. According to Israel Finkelstein , this tendency of nomads to settle down, or of sedentary populations to become nomadic, when circumstances make it worth their while, is typical of many Mid-Eastern populations which retain the knowledge of both ways of life and can switch between them fairly easily.

This happens on a small scale, but can also happen on a large scale, when regional political and economical circumstances change dramatically. According to Finkelstein, this process of settlement on a large scale in the mountain-ranges of Canaan had already happened twice before, in the Bronze Age, during periods when the urban civilization was in decline. The numbers of settlers were smaller in those previous two instances, and the settlement-systems they created ended up dissipating instead of coalescing into more mature political entities, as was the case with the settlers of the early Iron Age.

In the early stages of this process, settlements had the form of nomadic tent-camps: a ring of stone houses surrounding an inner yard where the livestock was kept. Gradually, as the settlement evolved, that space was filled up with houses. The composition of animal bones found in successive archaeological layers also displays change over time, reflecting the change in lifestyle - nomadic societies raise many sheep and goats and very little cattle. As the settlement process progressed, the percentage of cattle bones found in animal bone deposits increased dramatically.

At the height of this process, in the 10th century BCE, the population of the areas that would become the early Kingdom of Israel and the early Kingdom of Judea before these kingdoms began spreading into the surrounding lowlands numbered around 45, In the 11th century BCE Shiloh probably served as a religious center and might have held some political power in the region. In the mid to late 10th century BCE an early Israelite state formation emerged possibly the one referred to in the Old Testament as the Kingdom of Saul. It has been suggested by Finkelstein that this early Israelite state - and not David's 'unified kingdom', which he sees as a "literary construct" - had been the target of the campaign of Shoshenq I to Canaan, in the middle of the second half of the 10th century BCE.

There is evidence of a large scale abandonment of settlements in the heartland of the Kingdom of Saul , as described in the Old Testament , around that time - in the land of the Tribe of Benjamin , just north of Judah , the area of Gibeah. This attack by Shoshenq I on the Israelite kingdom was, most likely, a response to this kingdom's attempts to expand into the lowlands of Canaan as evidenced by a series of destruction events of Canaanite cities in the north of Israel around that time , and a part of this Paraoh 's effort to take control over Canaan.

The Kingdom of Judah was relatively small - maybe 5, people in the 10th century BCE - and had been a vassal of Israel at least since the early 9th century, when the powerful Omride dynasty had taken over that kingdom, and until Israel's destruction by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the late 8th century BCE.

The Old Testament is mostly a Judean creation, although it incorporates many traditions and, possibly, texts from the Kingdom of Israel. As such, it describes the history of these two kingdoms, in the Iron Age, from a strictly Judean theological perspective and its historical account is biased, though it becomes relatively reliable from the 9th century onward.

Many are the archaeological sites in Israel that have yet to be excavated. However, many of the same sites have been surveyed by archaeologists on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Roman period itself features several stages:. The end of the middle Roman period marks the end of the predominantly Jewish culture of Judea , but also the beginning of Rabbinic Judaism through Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai in the city of Yavne. Therefore, the late Roman period is also called the Yavne Period.

The transition from the Roman to Byzantine period coincided with the growth of extensive imperial funding to construct Christian religious institutions in the area, often by transforming the older pagan buildings. Major findings include shaft graves of pre-Phoenician Canaanites, [ citation needed ] a Bronze Age vault and ramparts, and a silvered bronze statuette of a bull calf , assumed to be of the Canaanite period.

One of the earliest digs by Israeli archaeologists, the Beit Alfa Synagogue is an ancient Byzantine -era synagogue, constructed in the 5th century CE, which features a three-paneled mosaic floor. Each of the mosaic's three panels depicts a scene: the Holy Ark , the zodiac , and the sacrifice of Isaac. The twelve names of the zodiac are included in Hebrew.

In the center is Helios , the sun god , being conveyed in his chariot by four horses. The women in the four corners of the mosaic represent the seasons. Misliya cave , southwest of Mt. Carmel , has been excavated by teams of anthropologists and archaeologists from the Archaeology Department of the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University since In , they unearthed artifacts indicative of what could be the earliest known prehistoric man. The teams uncovered handheld stone tools and blades as well as animal bones, dating to , years ago, at the time of the Mousterian culture of Neanderthals in Europe.

The archaeological excavation at Mamshit uncovered the largest hoard of coins ever found in Israel: 10, silver coins in a bronze jar, dating to the 3rd century CE. Entire streets have survived intact, and numerous Nabatean buildings with open rooms, courtyards, and terraces have been restored. Most of the buildings were built in the late Nabatean period, in the 2nd century CE, after the Nabatean kingdom was annexed to Rome in CE.

The major find has been an underground passageway leading to a 13th-century fortress of the Knights Templar. The excavated remains of the Crusader town, dating from to CE, are well preserved, and are on display above and below the current street level. Tel Rehov is an important Bronze and Iron Age archaeological site approximately five kilometers south of Beit She'an and three kilometers west of the Jordan River.

Archaeological excavations have been conducted at Rehov since , under the directorship of Amihai Mazar. The beehives, made of straw and unbaked clay, were found in orderly rows of hives. Organic material wheat found next to the beehives was dated using carbon radiocarbon dating at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Also found alongside the hives was an altar decorated with fertility figurines. Archaeological finds indicate that the site was inhabited from the Chalcolithic period, around BCE, [38] [39] to the 16th century CE.

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This was probably due to the abundance of underground water , as evidenced by the numerous wells in the area. The altar attests to the existence of a temple or cult center in the city which was probably dismantled during the reforms of King Hezekiah. Megiddo has been excavated three times. The first excavations were carried out between and and a second expedition was carried out in During these excavation it was discovered that there were twenty levels of habitation, and many of the remains uncovered are preserved at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

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Yigael Yadin conducted a few small excavations in the s. Since , Megiddo been the subject of biannual excavation campaigns conducted by The Megiddo Expedition of Tel Aviv University, directed by Israel Finkelstein and David Ussishkin , together with a consortium of international universities. A major find from digs conducted between and were the Megiddo Stables — two tripartite structures measuring 21 meters by 11 meters, believed to have been ancient stables capable of housing nearly horses.

Most of the remains date from the 2nd to 4th century CE and include the remains of a large number of individuals buried in the more than twenty catacombs of the necropolis. Together with the images on walls and sarcophagi , the inscriptions show that this was a Jewish necropolis. The site was settled from prehistoric to modern times, and was of particular importance during the Bronze and Iron Ages, and during the Crusader period. The site is identified as Canaanite and Philistine Gath , and during the Iron Age was one of the five main cities the Pentapolis of the Philistines.

Tel Gezer is an archaeological site which sits on the western flank of the Shephelah , overlooking the coastal plain of Israel, near the junction between Via Maris and the trunk road leading to Jerusalem. A dozen inscribed boundary stones found in the vicinity verify the identification of the mound as Gezer, making it the first positively identified biblical city. Gezer is mentioned in several ancient sources, including the Hebrew Bible and the Amarna letters. The biblical references describe it as one of Solomon 's royal store cities. Macalister excavated Gezer from to with a one-year hiatus in Major findings include a soft limestone tablet, named the Gezer calendar , which describes the agricultural chores associated with each month of the year.

The calendar is written in paleo-Hebrew script , and is one of the oldest known examples of Hebrew writing, dating to the 10th century BCE. Also found was a six-chambered gate similar to those found at Hazor and Megiddo, and ten monumental megaliths. Due to the remoteness from human habitation and the arid environment, the site has remained largely untouched by humans or nature during the past two millennia.

Many of the ancient buildings have been restored, as have the wall-paintings of Herod's two main palaces, and the Roman-style bathhouses that he built. A synagogue thought to have been used by the Jewish rebels has also been identified and restored. One reads "ben Yair" and could be short for Eleazar ben Yair , the commander of the fortress.

Tel Arad is located west of the Dead Sea , about ten kilometers west of modern Arad. Excavations at the site conducted by Israeli archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni in [53] have unearthed an extensive early Bronze Age settlement that was completely deserted and destroyed by BCE. Dever suggests may have referred to the temple at Arad or the temple at Jerusalem. Tel Dan , previously named Tell el-Qadi, is a mound where a city once stood, located at the northern tip of modern-day Israel.

Finds at the site date back to the Neolithic era circa BCE, and include 0. The most important find is the Tel Dan Stele , a black basalt stele , whose fragments were discovered in and

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