Bible Archaeology

Discovery at Hazor: Wheat – The Silent Witness to History

Dr Jim West:

Tweets the American Friends of Hebrew University-

Excavations led by @HebrewU‘s Prof Amnon Ben-Tor reveal 3,400-year-old clues to the reason for the destruction of Hazor.

Unfortunately they don’t link to further news so I had to go looking for it.

Traces of burnt wheat found in Israel’s Upper Galilee are evidence of the 13th-century-BCE Israelite conquest of the Promised Land, an archeologist said. …

This season, the excavation, which is being conducted under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, uncovered a storage room in the castle. In the room were 14 large clay jugs containing seeds of burnt wheat.

Professor Amnon Ben-Tur of the Hebrew University has been in charge of the Hazor excavations since 1990. In an interview with Ynet, Ben-Tur said that the jugs were destroyed around the 13th century BCE, a period, he said, which coincided with the biblical account of Joshua’s capture of Hazor. According to Chapter 11 in the Book of Joshua, Hazor was the only city in the Land of Israel that was destroyed by fire during the conquest.

Ben-Tur’s assessment regarding the destruction of Hazor is far from being a foregone conclusion in the archaeological world. Scholars are at odds as to when Hazor was destroyed and by whom. While the most widely accepted school of thought accepts the theory that Hazor was destroyed by the Israelites in or around the 13th century BCE, there are many scholars who hold that Hazor was destroyed by either the Egyptians, the Sea Peoples, or nomadic tribes that wandered the region at the time.

Ben-Tur disagreed, noting that Hazor was not included in any of the lists of Israelite cities destroyed by the Pharaohs. Furthermore, Ben-Tur holds that the Sea Peoples traditionally stayed close to the coastline, and would not have conquered a city as far inland as Hazor.

Ben-Tur said that the recent discovery at Hazor “sheds even more light on Israelite history.”

Doubtless there will be loads of discussion about this. As is right.

It felt a little weird reading this. I had an opportunity to go and excavate at Tel Hazor this year, but things never quite fell into place. But then again, there is a reason for everything, now isn’t there?

 

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