The 11th season of excavations at Megiddo took place during seven weeks in June and July. Over one hundred staff and team members took part in the excavation. The conflict in the Gaza strip forced the shut-down of work at Ashkelon and Jaffa and their students joined the work at Megiddo.
The Expedition is directed by Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University) and Eric H. Cline (George Washington University). Finkelstein directs the dig and Cline heads the Megiddo consortium. Staff members were Sivan Einhorn and Margaret Cohen (administration); Ma’ayan Mor (registration); Alexander Pechuro (plans); Peter Ostrin and Adam Prins (data acquisition and computing); Melissa Cradic, Mario Martin, Rob Homsher and Assaf Kleiman (supervisors of Areas H, K, Q and Iron Age soundings respectively); Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, Adam Kaplan and Zachary Dunseth (supervisors of Sub-areas T, V and W respectively); Matt Schaeffer, Charlie Friedman and Nick Kraus (assistant area supervisors); Erin Hall, Lee Oz and Jen Thum (registration in the field) and Gilad Zafran (assistance in administration). Ruth Shahack-Gross (Weizmann Institute of Science) directed a geo-archaeological study in Area Q.
The 2014 season was carried out under the auspices of Tel Aviv University, with George Washington University as the senior American partner. Consortium institutions were Loyola Marymount University, Vanderbilt University and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project. The Expedition is generously supported by the Chaim Katzman Archaeology Fund, Vivian and Norman Belmonte and Eugene M. Grant, and endorsed by Israel’s Nature and National Parks Authority and Viscount Allenby of Megiddo.
In addition, one week micro-archaeology field school, headed by Steve Weiner and Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Weizmann Institute, was conducted at the site during the 2014 season
Work in the 2014 season continued in Areas H, K and Q. In addition, three soundings were carried out in different parts of the mound in order to clarify problems related to its layout in the Iron Age.
In Area H stratigraphic work continued below the Late Bronze IIB layers. Two levels were unearthed – H-14, which probably dates to the Late Bronze IIA, and H-15, which dates to the Late Bronze I. Both are well-constructed. Level H-15 produced a rich assemblage of pottery on the floors, a sign that it terminated in unrest.
The possibility of relating this shake-up to the Thutmose III campaign and siege of Megiddo in the 15th century BCE is tempting, but the exact historical association of this event must await the radiocarbon results of short-lived samples from this layer and the evaluation of the ceramic assemblage. If this assumption is correct, Area H supplies the first evidence for the Thutmose III event—evidence which is thus far lacking in Area K.
Work in Area K was devoted to the final exposure of Levels K-10 (transitional Middle Bronze/Late Bronze I) and to unearthing the remains of Level K-11 (later days of the Middle Bronze). Both continue the typical layout of this sector of the mound: courtyard building located on its edge, above the slope.
The 2014 season supplied additional information for the peaceful transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age: no evidence for destruction or unrest has been detected. The inner line of the Middle Bronze brick city-wall has now been detected; the wall was found to be 4.5 m thick. The outer walls of the buildings of Level K-10 are constructed on top of the city-wall, though the outer side of the fortification, facing the slope, was still upright at that time, standing a few meters high.
An additional attempt was made to identify the exact location of the bronze industry of Level K-5, which had been detected several years ago; this was done through micro-archaeology investigation of samples from the baulks. Several intra-mural burials of Level K-10 were unearthed, some of them relatively rich in finds. Samples from these burials were extracted for ancient DNA investigation.
Work in Area Q was divided into three sub-sectors:
– Geo-archaeological investigation of the destruction of the late Iron I settlement
– Soundings aimed to reveal the earliest Iron IIA settlement
– Iron industry in the Iron Age IIA
In the northeastern sector of the area work was conducted in two new squares, which revealed the eastern end of the pillared building that was exposed in 2012. Evidence for iron production activity dating to the days of Levels Q-5 and Q-4 (Iron IIA) was uncovered and investigated east of the building (Q-5) and inside its northeastern sector (Level Q-4, after the building went out of use). Several large tabuns found in both layers were likely connected to the iron industry.
The southern sector of Area Q was devoted to a geo-archaeological investigation of the destruction layer of Level Q-7, which dates to the late Iron I (Stratum VIA of the University of Chicago Expedition).
Work conducted here is expected to shed light on patterns of burning and the process of collapse, and to help decipher whether this destruction event is the result of intentional arson or an earthquake. The excavation uncovered the huge burnt-brick collapse, over one meter high, of buildings that were located near the edge of the mound. What seems to have been an elevated platform was unearthed in the main structure, with two standing, beautifully carved, hexagonal stone pillars in front of it. The pillars were found in a layer of black ash. Exposure of the area to their east in the upcoming season of excavation is expected to reveal whether these pillars were related to cult activity.
Three soundings were carried out, in order to illuminate problems related to the Iron Age city.
Area T is located adjacent to the southeastern corner of the Assyrian Palace. Two squares were opened in order to ascertain whether this area also served as the administrative center of the city during the days of Stratum IVA. Remains of several layers, all dated to the Iron IIB-C, have been exposed. Excavation here will continue in the upcoming season of excavation.
Area V was opened in order to check Building 338 in the eastern sector of the mound, which was excavated by both Schumacher and the University of Chicago team. The stratigraphic affiliation and date of this building—whether it belongs to the University of Chicago’s Strata VA-IVB or IVA—has been debated. The excavation inside the building, in two squares immediately to its west and two squares adjacent to it on the east, revealed several Iron IIA layers under the building. This—and the elevation of floors and foundation of walls around it—shows that it belongs to Stratum IVA.
Area W was opened in the northeastern sector of the site, east of Palace 6000 of the Late Iron IIA. The goal was to reveal whether this prime location on the mound was occupied in the Iron Age by additional public structures. The four-square excavation uncovered remains dating to the Iron IIB, Iron IIA and the late Iron I. It revealed significant disturbances and deposition of fills in both the Iron IIA and Iron IIB.