Archaeologists Uncover Evidence of a Minoan Presence Among Ancient Canaanites
April 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Still on the subject of Biblical Archaeology this is interesting:
A recent and ongoing excavation at the remains of an expansive Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace in the western Galilee region of present-day Israel is opening a new window on the possible presence of ancient Minoans at an ancient Canaanite palace, revealing what may be the earliest known Western art found in the eastern Mediterranean.
Known as Tel Kabri (located near its namesake kibbutz not far from historic Acco and the resort town of Nahariya on the coast of Israel), the site features an early Middle Bronze Age (MB I) palace dated to the 19th century B.C.E., making it, along with ancient Aphek and possibly Megiddo, the earliest MB palace discovered in present-day Israel. This conclusion was drawn as a result of excavations conducted there as recently as December 20, 2010 to January 10, 2011. But the tell-tale signs of an Aegean presence or influence at the site show up in a later developmental phase of the palace structure some 150 to 200 years later in the overlying MB II palace dated to the 17th century. Reports Dr. Eric Cline of George Washington University and Co-Director of the excavations along with Assaf Yasur-Landau of Haifa University, “Excavations conducted by [Aharon] Kempinski and [Wolf-Dietrich] Niemeier from 1986 to 1993 at the site of Tel Kabri — now identified as the capital of a Middle Bronze Age Canaanite kingdom located in the western Galilee region of modern Israel — revealed the remains of a palace dating to the Middle Bronze (MB) II period (ca. 1700 – 1550 B.C.E.). Within the palace, Kempinski and Niemeier discovered an Aegean-style painted plaster floor and several thousand fragments originally from a miniature Aegean-style wall fresco.”(1) The new excavations under the direction of Cline and Yasur-Landau have added to the discovery. Reports Cline, et al., “During the 2008 and 2009 excavations at Tel Kabri more than 100 new fragments of wall and floor plaster were uncovered. Approximately 60 are painted, probably belonging to a second Aegean-style wall fresco with figural representations and a second Aegean-style painted floor.”(2)
Three other archaeological sites in the Middle East are known to have yielded Aegean-style frescoes and paintings: Tell el-Dab’a in Egypt, Qatna in Syria and Alalakh in Turkey. The Tel Kabri fresoes and paintings are, however, the only evidence of Minoan or Cycladic-style artwork in present-day Israel (or among the ancient Canaanites) and they are dated as significantly older than those found at Tell el-Dab’a and Qatna. They are roughly contemporary with those at Alalakh, although, because it is still early in the investigations at Kabri and recent excavations have revealed an earlier palace structure 150 years older, the ultimate age relationship is still uncertain.
To be sure, identification of the painted plaster and fresco artifacts as distinctly Aegean in style hinges upon careful diagnostic analysis of the finds…