2001 Season

The twelfth season of excavations of the ‘Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin’ took place between 26 June and 7 August 2001. The excavations were sponsored by the Philip and Muriel Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University, the Israel Exploration Society and the Selz Foundation, New York. The project also receives financial support from the Rothschild (Yad Hanadiv) Foundation. The excavations were carried out within the Hazor National Park and benefit from the full cooperation of the National Parks Authority.

The 65 participants of the 2001 season, students and other volunteers, came from various countries in Europe, as well as from the U.S. and Israel. A group of students of theology from Romania and students from the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University also took part in the excavations.

The ‘Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin’ are directed by Amnon Ben-Tor of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. The Hazor expedition included A. Zarzecki-Peleg (field archaeologist) and area supervisors D. Ben-Ami, M. Cimadevilla, C. Rubio, D. Sandhouse, B. Villegas and S. Zuckerman. Assistant area supervisors were: E. Crawford, A. Christensen, R. Coltrane, R. Lupo and S. Peled. The excavation surveyors were R. Bonfil and I. Strand. Restoration work was carried out under the supervision of O. Cohen. A. Kochavi-Goldstein and S. Katz were responsible for recording the finds. The excavation photographer was H. Shafir, and S. Yedid was the excavation administrator. As in previous seasons, the expedition was housed in the Gesher guest house on Mount Canaan, Safed.

The Excavations

One of the aims of the 2001 season was to uncover the south-western and south-eastern corners of the Canaanite palace. The former was found in Area A-1 and the latter in Area A-7. In both areas, the Late Bronze Age remnants, constituting the southern part of the Canaanite palace, were severely damaged by the Iron Age buildings superimposed on the earlier remains. The Iron Age stratigraphic sequence in Areas A-1 and A-7 spanned the ninth–eighth centuries B.C.E. The western edge of the wall that surrounded the palace courtyard on the south was uncovered in Area A-7, abutting the south-eastern corner of the palace. Also found here were remains of an entrance into the courtyard, located directly opposite another entrance into the courtyard which was next to the north-eastern corner of the palace.

Area A-2. This is an extension of Area A-3 eastwards, in order to connect it with the area previously excavated further east. Area A-2 is located north of the palace courtyard, while Area A-3 is north of the palace proper. The unification of both areas will provide a better understanding of the palace complex as a whole, throughout its various phases. It will also extend the area in which remnants of the Intermediate Bronze Age (= MB I) and the Middle Bronze Age IIB were encountered in previous seasons.

During the 2001 season, Iron Age structures of a domestic nature, arranged along a gravel paved street, were uncovered. These are superimposed on remnants of debris of the Late Bronze Age palace.

Area A-4. This was divided into two sub-areas. In the higher part, a stratigraphic sequence of Iron Age dwellings, spanning the ninth to eighth centuries B.C.E., was uncovered. Some of these are considerably well preserved: one of the buildings with plastered walls still stands to a height of more than 2 m. To the east of these, the inner wall of the defensive casemate wall (Yadin’s Stratum X = tenth century B.C.E.), was uncovered.

In the southern, lower part of Area A-4, the excavation of the massive Late Bronze Age walls, first encountered in the 2000 season, was continued. Due to the width of some of these walls (over 3 m.) and the relatively small area of excavation, neither the nature of the structure (perhaps part of the monumental palace entrance or connected somehow with the city defences) nor its precise date could be determined. In order to clarify those matters the area will be extended southwards in the coming seasons of excavation (2002 and 2003).

Area M

In this area the upper pavement covering the street and the entrance to the ‘citadel’ was removed in order to investigate earlier phases of construction. An earlier pavement, differing in nature from the later one, was revealed. This earlier pavement predates the construction of the ‘citadel’, the western wall of which cuts through it. This earlier phase ended in a conflagration, similar to the one that brought an end to the later phase. The ceramic assemblage associated with this earlier phase, albeit meagre, seems to place the date of this earlier destruction somewhere in the Late Bronze Age I (fifteenth century B.C.E.). This destruction is most probably contemporary with the end of Stratum 2 in the lower city, which may have been the result of the military campaign led by Thutmosis III.

In addition to the several drainage systems uncovered in this area during previous seasons, two large drainage channels were uncovered this season. These are the largest and most elaborate ones encountered so far, one covered by well-cut basalt orthostats which were placed here clearly in secondary use. This drain leads into the main drain which was uncovered here in previous seasons. The northern edge, or perhaps even the outlet, of this drain was found next to the Hazor museum at Kibbutz Ayelet ha-Shahar by Yadin’s expedition in 1968 (Area N).

An infant burial, accompanied by some jewellery, several vessels and a MB scarab, was encountered within the orthostat covered drain. When, why and how this burial could have been placed within the drain is not clear.

Restoration and Conservation

A considerable effort was directed this year towards conservation, restoration and construction of supporting walls of the Late Bronze Age palace. These works are part of the planned roof which is to cover the entire palace area in order to protect it—and primarily its delicate mudbrick walls—from the elements (mainly rain and winds). In addition to the Hazor expedition, this project is also sponsored by the Israel Government Tourist Corporation and by the Consejería de Educación y Cultura—Comunidad de Madrid. We plan to finish spanning the roof within the next two years.

The first stage of this work was undertaken during the present season: twelve pits (2.2 ´ 2.2 ´ 2.2 m.) were excavated. More than 20 tons of concrete were poured into each of these pits, to form the foundations of the pillars that will carry the large roof (over 1000 sq. m. ). With the exception of one pit, in which several mudbricks and a assortment of MB–LB sherds were found, all other pits were dug into the fill placed by the builders of the palace prior to its construction. This fill consists of alternating layers of earth and small stones and a small amount of MB–LB sherds.

These works were carried out by a group of Druze builders from the Golan Heights, supervised by the excavation conservator O. Cohen.