Friday, July 17, 2009

Khirbet el-Maqatir (Ai?) Highlights

Bryant Wood has posted some highlights of this season’s results at Khirbet el-Maqatir. The review includes a map, photos, and summaries of geographical and archaeological correspondences between Maqatir and biblical Ai.  You can read the whole; I’ll just quote here a portion of the introduction and a portion of the conclusion.

From the introduction:

After a hiatus of nine years, ABR has resumed work at Kh. el-Maqatir, a promising candidate for Joshua’s Ai (Joshua 7–8). The site is located approximately 9 mi north of Jerusalem and 0.6 mi west of et-Tell, the site most scholars identify as Joshua’s Ai. There is a major problem identifying et-Tell as Joshua’s Ai, however, as the site was unoccupied at the time of the Israelite Conquest of Canaan. ABR was founded 40 years ago to examine this problem and field work has been conducted both at Kh. Nisya (1979–2000; Livingston 2003) and Kh. el-Maqatir (1995–2000 [Wood 1999b, 1999c, 2000, 2008] and 2009) as part of the investigation. At Kh. el-Maqatir evidence has been found for five major periods of occupation:

Middle Bronze Age, ca. 1800–1500 B.C.—pottery only on the southeast slope of the site
Late Bronze Age I, ca. 1500–1400 B.C.—fortress on the southeast slope, the focus of the ABR expedition
Iron Age I, ca. 1100 B.C.—squatter occupation on the southeast slope
Hasmonean, ca. 167–37 B.C.—fortress on the southeast slope
Byzantine, ca. A.D. 500–600—church and monastery on the summit of the site.

From the conclusion:

Excavations in the gate passageway revealed apparent evidence of severe burning in the form of reddened and fragmented bedrock, and burned and calcined building stones. On the west side, a 5 m length of the fortress wall was exposed and a 4 ft wide trench cut through it to provide a cross-section of its construction. At this point the wall is 12 ft wide at its base and preserved to a height of 4 ft. Several exploratory squares excavated on the south and east sides of the fortress in an effort to locate the fortification wall in these areas proved unsuccessful.

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