Crisis in motion: the final days of Iron Age I Megiddo

Assaf Kleiman*, Erin Hall, Rachel Kalisher, Zachary C. Dunseth, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Robert S. Homsher, Matthew J. Adams, Israel Finkelstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The destruction of Iron I Megiddo in the early 10th century BCE was a momentous event in the history of the southern Levant. It marked an abrupt break in the long cultural development of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. Despite extensive field research, essential questions related to this event remain unanswered, especially regarding the processes that took place in the city immediately before its destruction. In this article, findings from recent excavations in the south-eastern sector of the mound, where a detailed Iron I stratigraphic sequence was explored, are reported. In addition, finds from two nearby areas previously excavated were re-evaluated, focusing mostly on contextual aspects of the osteological data. This study sheds light on the deterioration of the city in the decades preceding its final demise, and suggests that the event was caused by human agents rather than a natural disaster. It also hints that in its last days, Megiddo may have been besieged, which explains the peculiar re-appearance of intra-mural burials at the site. The case of Iron I Megiddo provides a high-resolution snapshot of actions taken by the inhabitants of a Near Eastern city on the eve of a major crisis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLevant
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 2023

Keywords

  • Iron I
  • Megiddo
  • crisis behaviour
  • destruction
  • territorial kingdoms

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