In the course of sifting earth removed from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, dozens of clay sealings from the First Temple period were recovered. Among them was a sealing bearing the name of the priestly family of Immer. In-depth study of the writing on the sealing, as well as the fabric imprint on its reverse, indicated with a high probability that this sealing was used in the Temple treasury. The article reviews the function and use of sealings in the administration of ancient Near Eastern treasuries and the significance of sealings with a textile imprint on their reverse. The study revealed similar patterns in the finds near the “Royal Building” exposed in the Ophel excavations, and we therefore suggest identifying it with Judah’s royal treasury.
This study analyzes 110 personal names found on 63 Phoenician inscribed bronze arrowheads, each owned by a different individual. Except for one item discovered in situ, all the arrowheads came from the antiquities market. Most of the arrowheads are paleographically dated to the Iron Age I. The study reveals similarities between the arrowhead onomasticon and the Iron Age II Phoenician onomasticon. These similarities suggest that the arrowhead onomasticon is a typical Phoenician collection of names and that most of the arrowheads are probably authentic. The few differences between the two onomastica may be attributed to changing onomastic trends over time, from the Iron Age I to the Iron Age II.
This article presents a Proto-Canaanite inscription written in ink on a jug. It was unearthed in 2019 at Khirbet al-Ra‘i, located 4 km west of Tel Lachish, in a level dated to the late twelfth or early eleventh century BCE. Only part of the inscription had survived, with five letters indicating the personal name Yrb‘l ( Jerubba‘al). This name also appears in the biblical tradition, more or less in the same era: “[Gideon] from that day was called Yrb‘l” ( Judg. 6:31–32). This inscription, together with similar inscriptions from Beth-Shemesh and Khirbet Qeiyafa, contributes to a better understanding of the distribution of theophoric names with the element ba‘al in the eleventh–tenth centuries BCE in Judah.
The article relates to several recognizable developments in the iconography of the Early Iron Age. It indicates that during the 11th and beginning of the 10th centuries BCE the dominant Egyptian influence was on the decline, and other traditions came to prominence: from the north, Syrian influences, and in some places sub-Mycenaean influences. The autochthonous Canaanite heritage experienced a revival, developing new themes and using new media.
In the Iron Age II, during the 10th to 6th centuries BCE, the local rulers of the Levant developed an elite style of architecture. The aim of this study is to define this phenomenon, summarize the data, and evaluate the appearance and distribution in the Levant of this architectural style. The six prominent characteristics of the royal style are recessed openings of doors and windows, rectangular roof beams, ashlar stone masonry, volute (proto-Aeolic) capitals, window balustrades, and decorated bases.
The early 10th-century BCE pottery assemblage from Khirbet al-Ra‘I is presented. The assemblage, which came from a few rooms that were suddenly destroyed, offers a large number of complete profiles. This is the second largest pottery assemblage, after that of Khirbet Qeiyafa, of this poorly known ceramic phase.
During the Fourth Expedition to Tel Lachish in the years 2014-2017 a series of fortifications was uncovered in Area CC, in the center of the northern edge of the mound. In addition to the previously known city walls of Levels I–IV, the expedition discovered a new city wall, built in Level V and dated to the late 10th and the first half of the 9th centuries BCE.
The development of a refined, and widely accepted, chronological and cultural sequence has eluded the study of the Iron Age Northern Levant, despite more than a century of archaeological exploration and research. The renewed investigations at Tell Tayinat (ancient Kunulua), capital of the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Palastin/Walastin and scene of large-scale excavations by the Syrian-Hittite Expedition in the 1930s, have resulted in a tightly constructed stratigraphic and chronological cultural sequence, or “local history,” for this period. This refined “Amuq Sequence” indicates a number of culturally and historically significant transitions, including the transition from the Iron Age I to the Iron Age II, ca. 900 BCE, and it offers the prospect of forging a consensus regarding the cultural and chronological periodization of the broader Iron Age Northern Levant and Southeast Anatolia.
The transition from the Iron Age I to the Iron Age IIA during the 10th century BCE was a period of profound political and socio-economic transformations in the Levant. One of these developments was the emergence of early Phoenicia. In its course, Phoenicia emanated as an interface of international exchange connecting Mediterranean and continental economies of the Levant. This had a profound impact on the societies of the Southern Levant in general and ancient Israel in particular. Phoenician influence was not just marginal for the history of ancient Israel but developed into an integral component of Israelite economic and political history.
This article brings together results of archaeological explorations related to the 10th century BCE in the Beth Shean Valley, with emphasis on the excavations at Tel Beth Shean and Tel Reḥov. The evidence is evaluated in light of two transitions that occurred during this century: from the Iron Age I to the early Iron Age IIA and from the early Iron Age IIA to the late Iron Age IIA.
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.
The paper discusses the finds of the Late Bronze Age, the Iron Age I/IIA, and the Iron Age IIA from the excavations at Moẓa during the years 1993, 2002, and 2003. The site is discussed in its historical framework, relating to Shishak’s campaign to Palestine, as well as in its wider Judahite archaeological context during those periods.
Recent evidence from the Aravah Valley challenges the prevailing assumption that Bedouin ethnography and inferences from ancient Near Eastern archives can adequately compensate for the archaeological lacuna in the study of biblical-era nomads. The evidence indicates that nomadic social organization at the turn of the 1st millennium BCE could have been – and in at least one case was – far more complex than ever considered before. This paper discusses the implications of the now extended spectrum of possible interpretations of nomads to the archaeological discourse on early Iron Age state formation processes in the Southern Levant.
In the framework of the regional project in the Judean Shephelah, which started in 2007, four sites were investigated: Khirbet Qeiyafa, hirbet el-Ra‘i, Socoh, and Lachish. The data for the 10th century is presented here together with the relevant biblical traditions. The data is analyzed according to an urban geography model and the gradual development and territorial expansion of the Kingdom of Judah is suggested.
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.
The article argues that many interpretations of the so-called “United Monarchy” of Saul, David, and Solomon are built upon false assumptions and problematic hermeneutics, not to mention that they draw upon anachronistic terminology. The article provides a brief overview of the use of the terms “United Monarchy” and “Davidic/Solomonic Empire” in modern scholarship before turning to recent attempts to theorize and model ancient monarchies, including the ways in which ancient kingdoms controlled territory and how leaders legitimized their power and expressed their authority in a manner that unified their constituencies. From there it re-evaluates the biblical portrayal of the monarchies of Saul, David, and Solomon, considering in particular the nature of early Israel’s political and social unity and identity, before turning to the potential archaeological correlates of political power during the reigns of these kings.
It is commonly agreed that the Iron Age I–II transition was gradual and that processes of social complexity initiated in the Iron Age I simply matured in the Iron Age II. The emergence of Levantine kingdoms – whether the so-called “United Monarchy” (i.e., the highland polity) or other polities – was therefore seen as an outcome of this gradual maturation, even if the date of their emergence is hotly debated. The present paper challenges both the perceived gradual nature of Iron Age complexity and the dated understanding of state formation processes that lies behind the common scholarly reconstructions of Iron Age political developments. Instead, the paper shows that the Iron Age I–II transition was troubled and was accompanied by drastic changes in many parameters, whether settlement patterns, settlement forms, or various material traits. Acknowledging these transformations is therefore the first step in understanding the process through which local kingdoms emerged.
This introduction presents a context for the collection of 15 articles published in the first volume of the new journal: Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology. These publications are the outcome of the conference on state formation processes in the 10th century BCE Levant