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World Heritage Site

In its July 15th 2005 meeting in Durban, South Africa, the World Heritage Committee inscribed Megiddo and two other biblical tells in Israel — Hazor and Beersheba — on UNESCO's World Heritage List. 

"Tels, or pre-historic settlement mounds," says the World Heritage Committee, "are characteristic of the flatter lands of the eastern Mediterranean, particularly Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Eastern Turkey. Of more than 200 tells in Israel, Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are representative of tells that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections. The three tells also present some of the best examples in the Levant of elaborate Iron Age, underground water collecting systems, created to serve dense urban communities. Their traces of construction over the 
millennia reflect the existence of centralized authority, prosperous agricultural activity and the control of important trade routes." (

The Advisory Body Evaluation explains the nomination in the following words: 

"Megiddo is one of the most impressive tells in the Levant. Strategically sited near the Aruna Pass, overlooking the fertile Jezreel Valley and with abundant water supplies, from the 4th millennium BC through to the 7th century BC, Megiddo was one of the most powerful cities in Canaan and Israel, controlling the Via Maris — the main international highway connecting Egypt to Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. Epic battles that decided the fate of western Asia were fought nearby." 

"Megiddo also has a central place in the Biblical narrative, extending from the Conquest of the Land through to the periods of the United and then Divided Monarchy and finally Assyrian domination...." 

"Megiddo is said to be the most excavated tel in the Levant, its twenty major strata contain the remains of around 30 different cities...." 

"Megiddo ... represents a cornerstone in the evolvement of the Judeo-Christian civilization through its central place in the biblical narrative, its formative role in messianic beliefs, and for its impressive building works by King Solomon." 

According to the Advisory Body Evaluation, the inscription of Megiddo and the two other tells as World Heritage Sites is based on four criteria:
  1. The three tells represent an interchange of human values throughout the ancient near east.
  2. The Bronze and Iron Age biblical tells express creativity in town planning, fortifications, palaces and water collection technologies.
  3. Through the biblical narrative, the nominated cities exerted a powerful influence on later history.
  4. The three mounds are a testimony to a civilization that exists to this day.