Recent excavations at Tel Gezer have systematically revealed a broad exposure west of the Iron Age gate complex (popularly referred to as the “Solomonic Gate”). This report focuses on the occupation layers of the 10th century BCE (our Strata 8 and 7, dated by 14C and ceramic analyses). Stratum 8 represents a unique period of Gezer’s history when the city experienced a major shift in urban planning, as evidenced by a monumental administrative building and casemate fortifications that are associated with the Iron Age gate. This city was intensely destroyed, probably as a result of Sheshonq’s campaign. Stratum 7, which was also destroyed, exhibits a major shift to domestic quarters.
The collapse of Bronze Age Mediterranean trade was a long-term process that took place through the 12th and 11th centuries BCE. The effects of this decline were particularly acute for coastal cities such as Philistine Ashkelon. This paper examines the response to this crisis in Philistia by examining redactional strata in the Deuteronomistic History that might speak to the period of early Philistine activity in the highlands. Through the memories preserved in these texts and in archaeological results from the late Iron Age I–early Iron Age IIA, it is argued that the Philistines reacted to the loss of Mediterranean trade by conducting raids that devastated rural highland settlements.
This paper compares evidence from stratified sites that are well dated by radiocarbon analyses, ceramic typology, and a critical reading of the pertinent texts of the Hebrew Bible. The results show that by the 10th century BCE in Judah we have a polity that represents a centralized state or kingdom. It was likely ruled by Solomon, even if the “larger-than-life” portrait of the Bible is exaggerated.