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Archaeologists explore the resettlement history of the Iron-Age metropolis of Tel Hazor

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Archaeologists are conducting a study of the Iron-Age metropolis of Tel Hazor to understand how one of the largest “megacities” of the Bronze Age was abandoned and then resettled.

Tel Hazor is located north of the Sea of Galilee in the northern Korazim Plateau, Israel. From the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age, Tel Hazor emerged as one of the largest fortified cities in the Fertile Crescent, which the Book of Joshua described as “the head of all those kingdoms”.

Various sources from this period, including letters and clay tablets from cities in Syria and Egypt, indicate that Tel Hazor was a major trading hub and cultural melting pot for the entire Near East region.

A new project, titled: “Resettlement of Ruins and Memories in the Making – A Case Study on Hazor and the Shaping of Early Israelite Identities during the Iron Age”, is being conducted by researchers from the University of Oldenburg in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Regensburg.

Around 1300 BC during the Late Bronze Age (LBA), a major destruction event with extensive burning left the city abandoned. However, Tel Hazor was repopulated during the Iron Age on a reduced scale.

The project objective is to understand which culture repopulated the city and provide new insights into the transition at Tel Hazor from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age based on archaeological findings and references in biblical texts. The Book of Joshua from the Old Testament, for instance, describes how the Israelites conquered Hazor, which was inhabited by Canaanites at the time.

Researchers from the fields of archaeology, social and cultural history, anthropology and Hebrew biblical studies, plan to create a comprehensive overview of the cultural and ethnic transformations that took place in the area between the Euphrates and the Sinai Peninsula during the transition – and of how the identity of the early Israelites developed in the course of these upheavals.

A second objective is the literary-historical and cultural-historical reconstruction of the accounts of Hazor and the Canaanites within the biblical tradition, and an examination of how these narratives are linked to the biblical imagination of Israel as an early tribal culture.

Hebrew Bible scholar and archaeologist Prof. Dr Benedikt Hensel, said: “In the biblical narratives, Hazor is portrayed as the capital of the Canaanites. This image is for the most part artificial, but over the centuries during which the biblical texts were compiled it endured – even long after the settlement had been abandoned.”

“Hazor serves as a counter-image to the Israelites, shaping the identity of biblical Israel through literary means,” he observes. The project team is investigating the potential historical anchor points of these identity-building processes,” added Hensel.

Header Image Credit : Maryam Matta

Sources : University of Oldenburg – Resettlement processes and cultural transformation in an ancient megacity

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

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Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

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Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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