Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tel Hazor
Tel Dan is situated at the foot of Mt Hermon overlooking the Hula Valley. It's a protected nature reserve and national park, and what makes it stick out from the rest of Israel is the bright greenery. The melting snow from the peak of the mountain creates a natural spring, which is one of three source of the Jordan River. The rainy season is January, and I'm not likely to see any rain. The air is cool, I daresay chilly, when we get up at 5:30. By noon the sun begins baking the air, though the breezes start to kick up then. Shade is definitely preferably, but thankfully it is plentiful.

Today we began the work I expected when we arrived. Armed with a small pickaxe (patiche, in Arabic), broom and dustpan, I dug a hole, finding all sorts of pottery and bone. Along the floor of my locus I articulated several large, flat rocks all in a line. We think this may be an Iron Age (Bible times) walls.

Right after lunch, we packed up the bus and rode to Tel Hazor. Many, many moons ago, Hazor was the cosmopolitan center of the area, even bigger than Dan, with a population of maybe 40,000. It intersects the Biblical texts a couple of times. Joshua 11 talks about the Israelites burning the urban center to the center. And archaeology has found an extraordinary destruction layer by fire that coincidentally fits the time period. Not only that, but the Canaanite deity figurines were left decapitated and the Egyptian sphinxes defaced. But scholars still like to bicker about who exactly burned the city down.

Another place is 1 Kings 9:14-16. Solomon fortifies the city walls. I've seen pictures of the Solomonic gates (though scholars disagree as to whether it was really Solomon who put it there) dozens of times, but standing in the center of the massive six-chambered gate doesn't compare. It's an impressive entrance to a city.

So there's your history lesson for the day.

posted by Peter at 11:34 AM
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