- where Thutmose III had carved a detailed record (the earliest known) of the victorious battle he fought at Megiddo in 1468 BC (see box). It remained a vassal city-state of Egypt for over a hundred years; six letters from its king, Biridiya, were found in the archives of the Egyptian foreign ministry at Amarna, one howling for aid against Shechem (TEL BALATA). The quality of the architecture and hoards of ivory, gold, and jewellery bear witness to the great prosperity of the city. The Battle of Megiddo, 12 May 1468 BC ‘His majesty [Thutmose III] set forth in a chariot of fine gold, adorned with his accoutrements of combat, like Horus, the Mighty of Arm, a lord of action like Montu, the Theban, while his father Amon made strong his arms. The southern wing of his majesty’s army was at a hill south of the Qina brook, and the northern wing was to the northwest of Megiddo, while his majesty was in their centre, Amon being the protection of his person in the melee and the strength of Seth pervading his members. Thereupon his majesty prevailed over them at the head of his army. Then they saw his majesty prevailing over them, and they fled headlong to Megiddo with faces of fear. They abandoned their horses and their chariots of gold and silver, so that someone might draw them up into this town by hoisting on their garments. Now the people had shut this town against them, but they let down garments to hoist them up into this town. Now, if only his majesty’s army had not given up their hearts to capturing the possessions of the enemy, they would have captured Megiddo at this time…. List of the booty which his majesty’s army carried off from the town of Megiddo: 340 living prisoners and 83 hands; 2,041 horses, 191 foals, 6 stallions and [ ] colts; 1 chariot worked with gold, with a body of gold belonging to that enemy; 1 fine chariot worked with gold belonging to the Prince of Megiddo [ ], and 892 chariots of his wretched army— total; 924; 1 fine bronze coat of mail belonging to that enemy; 1 fine bronze coat of mail belonging to the Prince of Megiddo, and 200 leather coats of mail belonging to his wretched army; 502 bows; and 7 poles of meru-wood worked with silver of the tent of that enemy.’ (Annals of Thutmose III, 85– 95; trans. J. A. Wilson) Too strong to be taken by the invading Israelites (Judg. 1:27), it probably fell to David. Solomon (965– 928 BC) surrounded the summit with a casemate wall and filled the surface with public buildings, as befitted one of the most important cities of his realm. Destroyed in pharaoh Shishak’s campaign in 925 BC, it was rebuilt even more magnificently by Omri or Ahab in the mid-C9 BC. Megiddo fell in 733 BC to the Assyrians who made it the capital of the province of Galilee. They gave it spacious private dwellings and a new grid street system. In the C7 BC Megiddo suddenly and inexplicably loses all importance; it became an open settlement with a small fortress. By the C4 BC it was uninhabited, and was never resettled. Visit. Open 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.; Friday to 3 p.m. Megiddo is a complicated site; there are 20 superimposed cities. The reception area has a highly instructive exhibit with a model of the city as it looked in the time of Omri or Ahab. A general plan of the site is available on request. The Gate Area (Fig. 94) The ruins visible here did not all exist at the same time; shading in the plan shows elements that were contemporary. The path from the reception area  leads up a ramp which formed part of the entrance to the city from the time of Solomon. Earlier gates employed the same technique [8 and 11], necessitating a right-angled turn to enter the city. Just in front of the forward gate  a flight of steps  leads to a post-Solomonic water system; the wall immediately inside  is pre-Solomonic. The earliest gate  discovered at Megiddo is dated to the C18 BC. Only big enough to accommodate pedestrians, it was built of mud-brick on stone foundations. A new stone gate , wide enough to take chariots, was built in the C16 and served the city for some 400 years. Just beside it is the corner of a large building  whose rooms surrounded a wide courtyard. The rich collections of carved ivories and jewellery found therein justify calling it a palace. It was balanced, on the far side of the gate, by another building  with thinner walls but the same room arrangement. ∇ Fig. Megiddo. The Gate Area (after Loud). 1. Path from modern entrance; 2. Building; 3. Steps; 4. C10 outer gate; 5. Pre-Solomonic wall; 6. C7 BC pier; 7. C10 BC inner gate; 8. C16 BC access ramp; 9. C16 gate; 10. Palace; 11. C18 BC access ramp; 12. C18 BC gate. The excavators left only one side of the Solomonic gate . All that remains visible was below ground; the street level was at the top of the finely bonded piers. At a later stage the space between the piers was filled in to create the foundations for a C7 BC one-bay gate; its inner pier  is still in place. The Palace Area On the higher ground just to the east of building  is a palace (28 × 21 m) built by Solomon. The five rooms north of its courtyard formed part of the casemate wall with which he fortified the city. A 10 m-wide street separated the 2 m-thick south wall of this palace from another large Solomonic edifice. The Sacred Area (Fig. 95) The viewpoint on the south side of the deepest trench cut by the archaeologists is the best spot from which to appreciate the four temples. The city worshipped here for over a thousand years. The oldest temple was built about 3000 BC. The long room has an altar opposite the door which gives onto an open courtyard similar to its contemporary at EN GEDI. The round stone altar came into being some 500 years later. Originally an independent unit enclosed by a wall, it was shortly afterwards linked to a two-room temple. From the vestibule one entered a chamber with an altar at the far end; two pillars supported the roof. Within the same period (2650– 2350 BC) two further temples were constructed to the same plan. What happened then is not clear, but the two eastern temples went out of use first, and the two-room temple some time later; by 1800 BC no traces remained. The ruins surrounding the viewpoint belong to a large building of the time of Omri-Ahab and to its protective offset-inset wall. ∇ Fig. 95. Megiddo. The Sacred Area (after Loud). 1– 3. Early Bronze Age temples; 4. Altar; 5. Chalcolithic temple. Stables or Storehouses? Continuing clockwise around the tel, one passes a large grain silo. Just behind it is the entrance to a large square enclosure. Dated to the time of Omri-Ahab, it then contained no buildings, since the palace built there by Solomon had been destroyed by Shishak in 923 BC. Adjoining it is another large courtyard with a series of long, narrow buildings along one side. Each was divided into three by two rows of pillars; the two outer aisles were cobbled, the centre one plastered. In some cases a stone trough was found between the pillars. Immediately, the excavators visualized two lines of horses facing to the centre, and proclaimed the discovery of Solomon’s stables, but it is now certain that they are not from the time of Solomon as the south-east corner lies over one of his ruined palaces. And if they were stables they must have housed very small, house-broken ponies. It is more probable that they were storehouses built by Omri or Ahab, as at HAZOR. The Water System Secure access to water was imperative for a city as often besieged as Megiddo. At the time of Solomon this was achieved by means of a camouflaged 1 m-wide passage still visible on the slope of the tel, outside the much more elaborate shaft-and-tunnel system installed by Omri or Ahab and perfectly paralleled at HAZOR. The shaft is 30 m deep, and the tunnel 70 m long. Indentations in the right-hand wall going towards the spring show that the tunnellers worked simultaneously from both ends; at one point they realized they were going to miss each other, but did not make as many false starts as in the tunnel of Hezekiah in Jerusalem (see p. 128). The present exit from the spring was the original Bronze Age entrance; a path on the right leads back to the Gate Area. 3. (DID NOT SEE) Mount Carmel (G6– J9) The majestic promontory of Mount Carmel, which creates the Bay of Haifa, is known in Egyptian texts of the C15 BC as the ‘Holy Headland’. This tradition of sanctity, inaugurated by the Phoenicians, is its dominant characteristic. An author of the C4 BC calls it ‘the holy mountain of Zeus’. The Roman general Vespasian came there to make a sacrifice at the end of the C1AD, enabling the historian Tacitus to comment ‘Carmel lies between Judaea and Syria; the same name is given to the mountain and a god. This god has neither statue nor temple; so willed the ancients; there is only an altar and worship (Hist. 2:78). In the C4 AD Jamblicus, the biographer of Pythagoras, thought it appropriate to have his hero visit Carmel, ‘a mountain holy above all and regarded as inaccessible to the vulgar’ (Life 3:14); the fact that he wrote 800 years later makes the accuracy of his information suspect, but it underlines the reputation of Mount Carmel. The promontory dominating Haifa is in fact the tip of a ridge widening to the south-east for some 25 km until it merges with the mountains of Samaria. There are two passes, Nahal Yoqneam and the more important Nahal Iron, which in antiquity was guarded by MEGIDDO because of the great trade route, the Way of the Sea, which passed through it. There is much evidence of Stone Age occupation in the little wadis which reach the sea on the west; the most accessible group of caves are those in Nahal Mearot (CARMEL CAVES). At the mouth of the river Qishon the Egyptians had a port (now Tel Abu Hawam) which served as a naval base and the point of entry for imports from Mycenae and Cyprus. This settlement flourished during the C14– C13 BC, but did not survive the onslaughts of the PHILISTINES a century later. The site was occupied sporadically down to the Byzantine period, but from the C10 BC onwards the most important town was at Tel Shiqmona on the other side of the cape. Destroyed time and time again, it was always rebuilt, and the Byzantine town covered an area of some 20 hectares (50 acres), spreading up the side of the hill where hundreds of tombs were cut into the rock; some of these can be seen in Histadrut Park. First attested in the form Hefa in the C4 BC, the name Haifa was applied to Shiqmona by Eusebius in the C4 AD. Jewish sources of a century earlier, however, seem to distinguish two villages; perhaps through expansion they became one. Though taken by the Crusaders in 1100, Haifa played but an insignificant role in the life of the Latin Kingdom, and subsequently suffered the cycle of destruction and reconstruction which was the fate of the coastal cities. Razed by the Mamluk sultan Baybars in 1265, it was refortified only in 1761 by the rebel Arab chieftain Daher el-Omar. His walls were used as a quarry to provide stones for houses for the expanding Jewish population at the end of the C19. Haifa Just at the traffic lights marking the turn from the coast road into Allenby Road, a flight of steps gives access to a public garden. A winding path leads to the Cave of el-Khader, also known as the ‘School of the Prophets’, to the left of a modern building. From remote antiquity Baal-Adonis was worshipped here, but from the C3 AD he began to be replaced by the prophet Elijah; graffiti scratched on the walls in the C5– C6 attest the veneration of both Christians and Jews. Islam shares the same respect, and the site was a mosque until taken over as a synagogue in 1948. Beneath the church of the Carmelite Monastery further up the hill behind the lighthouse (from Allenby Road turn right into Stella Maris Road) is another cave associated with Elijah; every 19–20 July it becomes the focal point of a great assembly of Christians, Muslim, and DRUZE who come to beg the intercession of the prophet for the birth of children. The fortress-like monastery (completed in 1867) is the latest in a succession of buildings which began with a Crusader castle. It belongs to a Roman Catholic religious order which developed from a C13 group of hermits who came together in the Wadi Siyah, the valley between the western suburbs of Kababir and Karmeliya, where archaeologists have discovered a small medieval monastery. More recent religious movements are no less worthy of notice. Kababir is the centre of a Muslim sect founded in India in 1889 by Ahmed al-Kadiani; inspired by Hindu principles, it has the unique distinction of believing in a pacifist holy war. The cluster of classical buildings in magnificent gardens (open: 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.) on the hill above Sederot HaZionut is the central institution of the Baha’i faith. On the downhill side the square structure with the golden dome (open: 9 a.m.– noon) enshrines the body of Siyyid Al Muhammad (1819–50), known as the Bab (the ‘Gate’), who proclaimed the imminent arrival of the Promised One expected by Shiah Muslims in Persia. In April 1863 his chief follower, Mizra Hussein Ali, had a revelation in Baghdad that he was the one foretold by the Bab, and became known as Baha’u’llah (‘ Glory of God’). He fostered a movement commited to the unity of humanity and the fundamental oneness of all religions. His insistence that diversity of religion should cease and differences of race be annulled inevitably provoked violent opposition, and in 1868 Akko became his final place of exile. He died in 1892 and is buried in the grounds of his house at Bahji in the north-eastern suburbs of AKKO (Open: Friday– Monday 9 a.m.– noon). Haifa is exceptionally well endowed with museums that repay a visit by those interested in archaeology. The Haifa Museum at 26 Shabbetay Levi Street (open: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday 10 a.m– 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday also 6– 9 p.m.; closed Friday) has a fine section devoted to ancient art up to the C7 AD. The main building of the University of Haifa, which is located on the road to Dalyiat el-Karmil on the top of Mount Carmel, contains the Hecht Museum (open: Sunday–Thursday 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.–1 p.m.; closed Friday), presenting archaeological materials illustrating the theme ‘The People of Israel in the Land of Israel’. Other museums cater to more specific interests. The Stekelis Museum of Prehistory (open: Sunday–Thursday 8 a.m.– 2 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.– 2 p.m., closed. Friday), in Gan HaEm at the top of the Carmelite Subway, uses finds, dioramas, and reconstructions to depict the life of prehistoric humanity in this area. The National Maritime Museum (open: Sunday– Thursday 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.– 1 p.m.; closed Friday) is located at 198 Allenby Road and uses models to illustrate the development of sailing craft throughout history. In antiquity Galilee was famous for its olive oil; ancient presses are on display in the Edible Oil Museum (open: 9 a.m.– 12 noon; closed Friday and Saturday) located in the ‘Shemen’ Oil Factory on Jaffa Road. Just one street over towards the harbour is the unmistakable silhouette of a grain silo. It houses the Dagon Museum (guided tours daily, except Saturday, from 10.30 a.m. or by appointment; tel.: 04-664221), devoted to the history of the cultivation, storage, and distribution of grain from the beginnings of the domestication of wheat. Along the Ridge The ‘Majesty of Carmel’ (Isa. 35:2) had a great impact on the Old Testament prophets, they used it as a symbol for strength, beauty, and fertility (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 46:18; 50: 19; Amos 1: 2; Nahum 1.4; S. of S. 7:5). It was often visited by Elisha, who had inherited the mantle of Elijah (2 Kgs 2:25, 4:25) but the episode that has fired the imagination of all succeeding generations is the epic trial of strength between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18). The region is best appreciated by a drive along the scenic road (route 672) on top of the ridge. From Rum Carmel, the highest point of the Carmel range (546 m), the road descends to two DRUZE villages, Isfiya and Daliyat el-Karmil. The former is identified with Husifah, a Jewish village of the Roman-Byzantine period. A hoard of 4,560 silver coins, the latest dated AD 53, was found there; it may have been the annual collection for the Temple. No traces now remain of the excavated C6 synagogue, which had a zodiac mosaic floor. Daliyat el-Karmil is famous for its basket-work. Shortly after leaving the village take the first road to the left (east) to Muhraqa ( 2.5 km ). Meaning ‘the Sacrifice’, this is the traditional site of Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:20– 46), and offers a splendid view of the Jezreel valley. The reliability of the identification is of course open to doubt, but site and text in fact harmonize perfectly. From the platform in front of the little Carmelite monastery (built 1868) one can see the sea (1 Kgs 18:43), and there is a spring, Bir el-Mansoura, just below (18: 33). The Qishon brook runs at the bottom of the hill (18:40) in the Jezreel valley (18:45– 6). The colourful narrative comes to vivid life when read in this setting. Some 2 km on route 672 from the Muhraqa turn-off there is a dirt road to the right (west) which leades to Sumaq (2 km). This was a large Jewish village in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. The C3 synagogue was destroyed in the early C5. Dwellings were built as insulae as at CAPERNAUM. There are many workshops, wine and oil presses, and decorated burial caves.
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