Tel Hazor - 2015


Preliminary Report

Amnon Ben-Tor and Shlomit Bechar


The 26th season of the ‘Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin (License No. G-20/2015) took place during the months of June–July 2015. The excavations are sponsored by the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and by the Israel Exploration Society. The 2015 expedition benefited from the financial assistance of the Selz Foundation (New York), the Edith and Reuben Hecht Fund (Israel), and individual donors. The excavations were directed by A. Ben-Tor who was assisted by S. Bechar (Area M3 supervisor),N. Paz (Area A9 supervisor), H. Shapira (Area M3 assistant supervisor); as well as N. Terchov (registration), I. Strand (surveying and drafting), M. Cimadevilla (field photography), I. Strand and O. Cohen (restoration), Y. Sfez (wet sieving and picking) and S. Yadid and E. Ben-Avraham (administration). The expedition numbered some 30 participants from Canada, South Africa, the U.S., Europe, Australia and Israel. The excavations are conducted in the Tel Hazor National Park with the full cooperation of the National Parks Authority. The expedition was housed at Kibbutz Gonen.


The main area of excavation was Area M3, which is the extension westwards of the excavation which were conducted in previous seasons.


Area M3 at the end of the season, looking north


Area M3

Six levels dating to the Iron Age and a seventh level dating to the Late Bronze Age were exposed.


Late Bronze Age

The earliest phase exposed in the area was dated to the Late Bronze Age. Two features were attributed to this phase. The first is the mudbrick collapse, which was exposed in the north-western corner of the area.


The mudbrick collapse, looking south


The other is the upper course of stones belonging to a monumental wall, which is probably part of the Late Bronze Age administrative palace.


Iron I

Two architectural features were identified above the Late Bronze Age remains, which can be dated to the Iron I, based on their stratigraphical context.

The first is a corner of a building located in the north-western corner of the area. This feature was already known in the 2014 season (HA-ESI 127). The southern wall of this building is sealed by the casemate wall, which is dated to the 10th century BCE. The eastern wall of this building is cut by the foundation trench of the solid fortification wall dating to the 9th century BCE. A stone built installation abutting these two walls was exposed.


The corner of the building with the built installation, looking west. The southern wall is sealed by the casemate wall and the eastern wall is cut by the foundation trench of the solid fortification wall.


The second feature was located in the south-western corner of the area. It is a round installation which includes a pair of grinding stones - both the mortar and the pestle were made of basalt. This installation too was built below the foundation level of the casemate wall and is therefore dated to the Iron I.


The round installation, looking south. The mortar stone is upright, in the right. The casemate wall is floating above the installation, in the right.



10th Century BCE - The Complex of Standing Stones

What seems to be the north-western corner of this complex exposed already in the 2011 season, (HA-ESI 124), as well as the fourth standing stone, were exposed in the south eastern part of the area (the standing stone is lying on its back).


The north-western corner of the complex of standing stones and the fourth standing stone, looking north.


9th Century BCE - The Tripartite Building

Two tripartite storage buildings (which probably functioned as storage facilities) were built above the complex of standing stones (HA-ESI 122).The north-western corner of the northern one of the two buildings was uncovered in the 2015 season with both its phases.

In the earlier phase, the northern hall had a plastered floor and the central hall had a packed earth floor (Fig. 6).


The north-western corner of the early phase of the tripartite storage building and plaster floor L15-316, looking east.



In the later phase, the northern hall had a stone paved floor with a number of round installations incorporated into the pavement.


The north-western corner of the later phase of the tripartite storage building and paved floor L15-314 and its installations, looking north.


 A round stone installation was found in the central hall which had a packed earth floor with.

To the north and west of this building large fills were excavated. These should probably be interpreted as the discarded refuse of the city in general,  and of the tripartite buildings in particular. These fills were rich with animal bones, of which the fish, pig, horse and donkey bones as well as bones with butchering marks, are noteworthy.


8th Century BCE - Domestic Buildings

Two domestic buildings dated to the 8th century BCE. can be attributed to the latest phases exposed in the area.

The earlier of the two was very partially excavated already in the 2014 season (HA-ESI 127). The remainder of the building was uncovered in the 2015 season. It had a packed earth floors and its outer walls were built directly on top of the walls of the tripartite building.

The later building was almost completely uncovered in the 2014 season. The south-eastern room of that building was exposed this year.


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