Tel Hazor 2013
During June–July 2013, the twenty-fourth season of the ‘Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin’ was conducted at Tel Hazor (License No. G-29/2013). The excavation is sponsored by the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and by the Israel Exploration Society. The expedition benefited from the financial assistance of the Selz Foundation (New York), the Edith and Reuben Hecht Fund (Israel), and individual donors. The excavation was directed by A. Ben-Tor and S. Zuckerman, assisted by S. Bechar (Area M-east supervisor), D. Weinblatt and Netanel Paz (Area M-west supervisors), A. Madvig-Struer (registration), I. Strand and H. Dan (surveying and drafting), M. Cimadevilla (field photography), I. Strand (restoration and drawing), and S. Yadid and I. Strand (administration). The expedition numbered some 25 participants, from South Africa, U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel.
The excavations are conducted in the Tel Hazor National Park and receive full cooperation from the National Parks Authority. The expedition was housed at Qibbuz Kefar Ha-Nassi.
The main area of excavation this season was Area M, which was divided into three sub-areas. Area M-east is the same as M of the 2012 season (Hadashot 124), and Area M-west is the westward enlargement of the excavation towards Area M-68. To the north of Area M-west a section of the solid wall, attributed to the 9th century BCE, was cleared.
The goal of the excavation in squares K/L-6/11 this season was to continue clearing the floors of the Late Bronze Age monumental structure that was uncovered in 2012, and to assess the Late and Middle Bronze Age stratigraphic sequence in correlation with the phases discerned in the ‘Podium Complex’ to the north .
The Middle Bronze Age
This period is represented by the staircase uncovered already in 2012 (Hadashot 125). Two sub-phases were identified in the south-western part of the staircase in 2013. In the earlier phase, the staircase consists of the stairs, a plastered walkway ascending from the north and a wall on the west, built of large limestone monoliths with mudbrick superstructure. In the later phase, the stairs continue in use but the walkway is sealed by two walls built on and against the monoliths wall. All elements of this phase are cut in the north by the southern wall of the Late Bronze Age structure.
The Late Bronze Age
A thick constructive fill was laid against the southern wall of the monumental Late Bronze Age structure. Architectural remains of this period are thus known only in the northern part of the area, where two stratigraphic sub-phases were identified.
In the Early Monumental Structure phase the monumental walls in the western part of the area were built. These walls form part of a large structure, continuing to the west outside the excavation limit. In the northern part of the area another hall, bordered in the north by the southern wall of the ‘Podium Complex’, existed in this phase. The drainage system whose opening was found in the north-western part of the area was probably constructed during this phase. The system, consisting of three orthostats-covered drainage channels, probably connects to the channel uncovered in the 1990’s excavations to the north, under the pebble pavement of the “podium Complex’ western courtyard. A plastered floor uncovered in a very small test trench belongs to this phase. Fragments of heavily burnt mudbricks and carbonized olive seeds were found on this floor.
It is possible that the pebble pavement in the eastern part of the area and the northern part of the staircase were still in use during this phase.
In the Late Monumental Structure phase the plan changes, and an eastern hall with the pebble pavement (which was first used in the Middle Bronze Age) is added. The northern part of the area is turned into a long corridor, whose plastered floor seals the earlier walls, and a narrow partition wall is built in its western part.
A mudbrick wall, built parallel to the eastern wall of the western hall, divides that hall in two: A narrow (probably roofed) space to the east and a much larger (and most probably unroofed) hall to the west, clearly continuing further to the west.
The final phase of the Late Monumental Structure is a phase of decline. Monumental walls are partially dismantled, openings are blocked by walls and architectural spaces are delimited. The two monumental walls defining the eastern hall were partially dismantled, and fills and small walls were laid on their stubs. A small rounded installation, filled with bones and crushed limestone, is built against the southern wall of the monumental structure.
The northern corridor is stone-paved and the northern wall is lined with a row of stones in this phase. To the west of the corridor a rounded stone installation is built against the northern wall. Dozens of vessels, including small cooking pots, kraters, jugs and two large cooking kraters were found inside the installation. The partition wall to the west is rebuilt and a basalt orthostat is added to it, and another basalt slab is found leaning against the northern wall.
The eastern space of the western hall serves as a storage space in this phase, and 13 pithoi are arranged in two rows against the mudbrick wall. Fragments of the pithoi were found strewn on top of the lower courses of the monumental wall to the west, which was partly dismantled prior to this last phase (Hadashot 125).
The westernmost hall was enclosed from the north by a very narrow wall built of one row of mudbricks. The southern part of the hall is paved with medium flat stones, on which several vessels (two pithoi, a krater and several bowls) were found. Against the southern wall of the hall three “Canaanite storage-jars” filled with yellowish substance were found.
Another concentration of vessels, including a very large flask, bowls and scoops, was uncovered in the northern part of the hall. In the same area were found an “installation” (shelves?) made of wood and light material, with several scoops. Two basalt platters were found leaning against the eastern wall, and below them a basalt pestle and an accumulation of shells (Fig. 7).
The Monumental Structure was destroyed by a violent conflagration. Fallen mudbricks and burnet wooden beams were found throughout the building. The basalt vessels in the western hall and some of the clay vesels seem to have been intentionally smashed prior to the final destruction.
Decades later, probably in the 10th century BCE., the Masseboth precinct we erected on top of the destruction layer of the northern part of the structure (Hadashot 124).
The area is located between area M-68 to the west and area M-east to the east (Fig. 8).
In 2013, four stratigraphic phases were identified in this area, all post-dating the 9th century BCE. These phases will be described below, from the earliest to the latest.
The north-western corner of a spacious structure, most of which was already exposed to the east in the 1990’s excavations, was uncovered. The exposed structure is 10 meters long and 6 meters wide. In this phase the limestone pillars are free-standing, and only fragmentary architectural remains (parts of a pavement, rows of stones) are related to them. The inner space of the structure is divided by a north-south wall. A beaten earth floor and a rounded installation containing burnt seeds were attributed to this phase. A white plastered floor is attached to the western wall of the structure from the west.
This phase is marked by changes in the inner division of the structure, by means of a partition wall and the filling of the spaces between the pillars with small stones. The outer walls and the pillars retain their original location. Another plastered floor is attached to the structure from the west. This is the last phase of use of the structure.
Following the abandonment of the large structure, architectural remains of the succeeding phase were found only in the western part of the area.
The stone foundation of a north-south wall, which might form part of a structure still lying to the west, was found in the southern corner of the area. A beaten earth floor and possible pavement are attached to the wall from the west.
Another corner, belonging to a structure which was partly exposed during the excavations of area M-68, was exposed to the north. Two east-west partition walls were found inside the structure, creating a 0.5 meters wide corridor along the eastern wall. Fragments of beaten earth floors and small stones pavements were found in the spaces between the walls.
A pavement of flat stones was found between the northern and the southern structures. This might have been apart of a blocked alley, continuing to the west outside the excavation (Fig. 11).
Only one fragmentary wall in the south-western corner of the area, following the line of the eastern wall of the southern structure of phase II, was attributed to this phase. No floors were attached to this wall.
Area M- north west
This area is located above the westward continuation of the pebble-paved courtyard of the ‘Podium Complex’, uncovered in the 1990’s.
In 2013 the continuation of the solid wall, attributed to the 9th century, was cleared. This wall was already uncovered in the Yadin’s excavations, in area M68, where it connects to the outer face of the casemate wall of the 10th century. Its eastwards continuation, with two outer towers, was uncovered in area M in 1992.
The middle courses of the solid wall, exposed this season, are built of inner and outer faces of large stones and a dense fill of small stones in between. The wall and tower are much wider than their continuation to the east. In the western part of the area, in the point of connection with area M68, the corner of the inset was found. Another corner seems to have been uncovered further east along the inner face of the wall. A white plastered surface (glacis), attached to the outer face of the solid wall, was detected in the western part of the area.
The excavation in this area will not continue, until the area from the south will be excavated down to this level.