Life and death of four individuals in the destruction of the Late Bronze Age city of Azekah, Israel

Karl Berendt*, Sandra Garvie-Lok, Pamela Mayne Correia, Oded Lipschits, Yuval Gadot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this article, we discuss the skeletal remains of four individuals discovered trapped below destruction debris of Building T2/627 at the site of Tel Azekah, Israel, dating to the late 12th Century BCE. Osteological analysis shows that these individuals suffered from anemia and other systemic illness during their lives. Patterns of musculoskeletal stress markers show that they were likely highly active; in the context of artifacts recovered from the building, we suggest that specific activities included grinding grain and carrying heavy objects. Heat damage to the remains shows that the bodies were extensively burned. The archaeological and osteological evidence suggest that a high temperature fire fueled by flammable goods stored in the building caused the building to collapse on top of these individuals, preserving their burnt remains in situ. Together, these lines of evidence enhance our understanding of these individuals' ways of life and manners of death against the backdrop of the “crisis years” of the Late Bronze Age Collapse during the end of the 2nd Millennium BCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-604
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


FundersFunder number
Joseph‐Armand Bombardier
University of Alberta Department of Anthropology
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
University of Alberta
Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Alberta


    • Israel
    • Late Bronze Age
    • activity reconstruction
    • burned bone
    • fire scene analysis
    • paleopathology


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