One of the three biblical ‘Tels’ in Israel designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2005 has recently been making headlines due to a new discovery there.
Tel Hatzor (or Hazor) is the northernmost of the three – the others being Tel Meggido and Tel Be’er Sheva. It is located in the Hula Valley, near Kibbutz Ayelet HaShachar which hosts a museum dedicated to findings on the Tel from the Bronze Age (Canaanite period) and Iron Age (Israelite period).
This summer’s excavations by a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have revealed 3,400 year-old earthenware jars containing scorched wheat – evidence of the destruction of the Canaanite city in the mid-13th century BCE.
Visitors to the Tel can wander round the Canaanite palace in which the jars were discovered, walk through the city’s massive entrance gate (attributed to King Solomon) dating from the tenth century BCE and descend 45 meters underground into the complex water system built in the time of King Ahab in the 9th century BCE.
Among the houses and public buildings from the Israelite period is a beautiful olive press and at the western end of the Tel the later Israelite buildings include a watch-tower built as part of the defences against the invading Assyrian army as described in Kings II 15:29.
“In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.”