Ancient City Unearthed Under Biblical Ruins In Israel
A recent discovery of a 14th-century Canaanite city buried under the ruins of another city in Israel has been unearthed.
LiveScience reports that traces of an Egyptian amulet of Amehotep III as well as several other pottery pieces from the Bronze Age have been uncovered at the Gezer site.
Gezer was a major center sitting on the trade routes between Africa and Asia, where remains of the city suggest that the site was used longer than previously thought. It was an ancient city that has been important since the Bronze Age, since it was on the Way of the Sea, also known as Via Maris, which was an ancient trade route connecting Egypt, Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. Ruled by the Canaanites, Egyptians and Assyrians, the city was mentioned in biblical accounts where the city was given to King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. as a wedding gift after marrying his daughter.
"It's always changed hands throughout history," Ortiz told LiveScience.
The site has been excavated for around a century, where most of the excavations date to the 10th through 8th centuries B.C., where it is also noted to have some of the largest underground water tunnels of ancient times, where it was likely to keep the water supply safe in the case of an attack.
Earlier this summer, Steven Ortiz, co-director of the site's excavations and biblical scholar at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, and his colleague Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority noticed traces of a more ancient city from centuries before King Solomon. A section was dated to about the 14th century B.C., which contained a scarab, or beetle, amulet from King Amenhotep III, who was the grandfather of King Tut. The pottery found was also from the Philistines.
"It's not surprising that a city that was of importance in the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah would have an older history and would have played an important political and military role prior to that time," Andrew Vaughn, a biblical scholar and executive director of American Schools of Oriental Research told LiveScience. "If you didn't control Gezer, you didn't control the east-west trade route."
However, when the road relocated during the Roman period, Gezer was deemed unimportant, suffering conquer and left in ruin.
"Just like today when you have a ghost town - where you move the train and that city goes out of use," Ortiz said.