Pre-Season Interview with the Directors: Israel Finkelstein

Why dig at Megiddo? israel

Because it is there… (just joking).

We dig at Megiddo because it is the most celebrated site for the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Levant. The finds at Megiddo are the key for understanding three thousand years of history of the region, between 3500 and 500 BCE, including the material culture of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and issues related to the biblical text. Incidentally, Megiddo is mentioned in all great records of the Ancient Near East: the Bible and Egyptian and Assyrian texts.

How did the excavations at Megiddo start for you? And how are they different today?

The first full scale season took place in 1994. In many ways, this was still the time of traditional methods in field archaeology. Things are very different today on both the side of recording in the field and methods of research. For the latter, especially important is the introduction of the exact and life sciences into archaeological research, including physics-related dating techniques, geo-archaeology and recently ancient DNA. These fields open a new word for us, as they provide us with the record which cannot be detected with the naked eye.

Why keep returning to the site?

We have a clear research program at Megiddo and we’ll keep coming back as long as needed in order to fulfill it – for instance, radiocarbon dating the entire stratigraphic sequence of the site. In addition, work in recent years revealed that Megiddo has an excellent molecular preservation. We wish to exploit this fact, for instance in deploying ancient DNA investigation in order to study the population of the site – origin of the people, family relations, relations between classes etc.

 

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