Due to the situation in the Middle East, the fifth season at Megiddo was shorter than usual and limited in both the number of fields and the number of participants. We worked for four weeks—between June 30thand July 26th—with about 60 people. The work force was comprised of 30 Tel Aviv University students, 25 workers allocated to Megiddo by the National Parks Authority and a limited staff. Both groups worked extremely well and hence we managed to achieve quite a lot, in fact more than we expected.
We operated in two areas: K and M. In Area K, in the southeastern sector of the mound, we worked in 12 squares and in M, next to the Schumacher trench in the middle of the tell, in over 6. The staff included Directors Finkelstein and Ussishkin, Noga Blockman and Mario Martin with the assistance of Eran Arie (Area K), Norma Franklin and Robert Deutsch with the assistance of Yitzhak Zahavy and Jane and Robert Grutz (Area M), Pavel Shrago (photography); Yuri Duchovni (surveyor), Michal Berg (registration) and Guy Avivi (administration).
In area K we removed the remains of the large courtyard house of Level K-4 (late-11th-10th century BCE) and started going down. Immediately under the building we uncovered remains of Level K-5, which also dates to the Iron I. It should probably be identified with Stratum VIB of the University of Chicago excavations. The layout of Level K-5 is simple: a single, relatively small house surrounded by open spaces, with an olive oil installation on one side. The installation was found well preserved with many of the olive pits still inside (they were sent to the Weizmann Institute for radiocarbon examination).
Raphael Frankl - an expert in olive oil production in antiquity - came to 'inspect' the installation and told us that it is typical of the Late Bronze and the Iron I in the western Jezreel Valley. This level yielded a rare imported Aegean stirrup-jar. It was examined by some of the top-guns of Aegean pottery - Maria Yacovou, Susan Sherratt and Assaf Yasur-Landau. The verdict, after endless deliberations has been, that it is "Late Helladic IIIC peripheral".
Needless to say, this has far reaching implications for understanding the archaeology and history of the region. Level K-5 is also characterized by evidence of domestic metal production Under Level K-5 we reached the fragmentary remains of Level K-6, with walls of a few houses, some installations and open spaces. The pottery that characterizes this level dates to the Late Bronze III; it includes a large quantity of imported material - mainly Cypriote. Since we have not 'closed' the sandwich from below, we cannot say at this moment whether these are the remains of the University of Chicago Stratum VIIA, or of a post destruction squatters' activity, which may have been detected in our excavations of the Late Bronze gate in 1993. It should be noted that there are no traces of a great conflagration here.
General view of the Levels K-6 (Late Bronze Age) and K-5 (early Iron I) remains, looking east
In the second session of the 2000 season we worked immediately to the east of the Schumacher trench. The aim was to clarify the stratigraphy above the Nordburg and the date of the monumental stone-built 'Aegean Tomb' - both excavated by Schumacher a century ago. At the end of the 2000 season we noticed that a massive wall of Level M-4 (University of Chicago Stratum VIA) is aligned with the tomb and its entrance shaft. We therefore raised the possibility that the tomb was constructed in Stratum VIA.
This season we extended the excavation in all directions. Fragmentary remains of Levels M1-3 (phases of the University of Chicago Stratum V and possibly IV) were found close to the surface in all squares. Under these remains we reached the destruction collapse of Level M-4, which is far more impressive here than in Level K-4. In some places the collapse - with fully preserved bricks turned to black, yellow and red by the fierce fire - reached over two meters! Further down, under the floors of this building (the nature of which has not been clarified yet), we reached a layer characterized by Late Bronze/Iron I sherds.
The 2002 season did not resolve the problem of the relationship between the "Aegean Tomb" and the remains around it. There are two possibilities:
A. The Nordburg, which dates to the Late Bronze Age, went out of use before the end of the Late Bronze. The tomb was then 'inserted' in the latest phase of the Late Bronze (University of Chicago Stratum VIIA). The people of Level M-4 (University of Chicago Stratum VIA) knew the tomb, probably revered it, and organized their buildings around it accordingly.This is the more logical explanation.
B. The Nordburg functioned until the end of the Late Bronze Age and the tomb was inserted in Level M-4. Though this possibility cannot be eliminated yet, it is the less logical one.
We hope to be able to resolve this matter next season, when we reach the level of the entrance to the tomb in the square immediately to its east.
General view of Area M, looking north: the monumental, stone-built tomb on the left.