During June–July 2003 the 14th season of excavations of the ‘Selz Foundation Excavations at
Hazor in Memory of Yigael Yadin’ was conducted at Hazor under the direction of A. Ben-Tor (G-1/03; HA 115; Fig. 5). The excavation was undertaken on behalf of the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology of the Hebrew University, under the auspices of the Israel Exploration Society and with the assistance of the Antiqua Foundation (Switzerland). About 50 volunteers from abroad participated in the excavation, including a group of theology students from Romania and individual volunteers from Europe, the United States and Australia, as well as students from the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, within the framework of a ‘study excavation’ and several laborers provided by the Employment Bureau. Assisting in the excavation were D. Ben-Ami (supervision Area A4), aided by E. Crowford and B. Coltraine, D. Sandhouse (supervision Area A2), aided by A. Pisetzki, D. Zigler (supervision Area A5), aided by V. Avrutis and N. Ortal, R. Bonfil (surveying and drafting), aided by I. Strand, O. Cohen (conservation and restoration), S. Kisilevitz (registration), H. Shafir (photography) and S. Yadid and M. Atiya (administration).
was excavated this year on a limited scale. The Late Bronze Age pavement that extended across a large area north of the palace was removed in order to connect this area with that of the ‘Southern Temple’ and the paved street, which continued eastward in the direction of the palace and encircled the temple from the north. It was ascertained that the pavement was placed on a fill that contained pottery fragments from Middle Bronze Age II. Below this fill was a wall segment and ceramic finds from Middle Bronze Age I (EB IV). These finds can now be added to those MB I remains in Areas A2 and A4 that had been uncovered in previous years, and in Area A5 this season.
The expanded area to the south, in the lowest part of Area A4, consisted of a section of the Iron Age IIA casemate wall. Slightly to the west and at a lower level, a section of a wide wall that was part of the eastern end of the large Bronze Age building, was discovered; the wall was mostly plundered, as were most of the building’s walls. Another building that was dated with certainty to MB IIB, on account of the ceramic finds on its floor, abutted the outer face of this wall. The chronology of the other structure enables us to successfully date the large building to MB IIB for the first time. The massive construction of the large building undoubtedly implies a public building, probably a palace that predated the Late Bronze Age palace in the middle of Area A, whose excavation was completed. This season, a ground penetrating radar examination was conducted in the eastern part of the Late Bronze Age palace’s courtyard, in order to verify if below it were the walls of the large MB IIB building, as indicated by the building remains in the area. The results of the examination have not yet been cleared.
The area expanded to the east witnessed the continued study of the standing ma
was substantially expanded this season toward the west, south and east, for the purpose of establishing the plan and chronology of the large Bronze Age building, the exposure of which had begun in previous years. The expansion to the west, which is the highest point of Area A4, revealed the northern part of a building from the Mamluk period, which was mostly located beyond the excavation area. This building joined another of a similar construction that had been unearthed in previous seasons several dozen meters to the west of here. It appears that the southern part of the tell was densely occupied during the Mamluk period. The remains of Iron Age buildings (9th–8th centuries BCE) were right below the Mamluk structure; several strata were discerned
in these buildings and were mostly excavated this season; the earlier strata will be excavated next season.
zzevotzzevot field that was exposed in the previous season. The area east of the standing ma was covered with a thick layer of ash and bones, attesting to cultic activity that was undertaken there over a long period of time. Three small metal figurines found here also indicate the cultic nature of the place.
tabuns and installations. These buildings were built of fieldstones and frequently, ashlars were incorporated in their walls, especially in the doorjambs. Square columns of soft limestone were also recorded in these buildings. This style of construction was characteristic of Iron Age buildings from the 9th–8th centuries BCE at Hazor. Area A5 was located east of the casemate wall from Iron Age IIA (10th century BCE) and it therefore seems that the ancient remains in this area date to the 9th century BCE. The early phase of the residential dwellings was founded directly above the massive Bronze Age mud-brick wall, the top of which was reached during the excavation throughout the entire area. Next season, the excavation will continue in the residential dwellings to ascertain their plans and exact chronology.
was substantially expanded toward the west and north, with the aim of exposing the massive building remains from the Bronze Age that were located deep below the Iron Age settlement remains. This season, remains of residential dwellings from the Iron Age were also uncovered, including
At the western end of the area, the excavation connected with the Late Bronze Age stair system, excavated in the 1950s by the Yadin expedition. The fragment of the lioness orthostat was recovered near the stairs at that time. A fill below the Late Bronze Age stone pavement, connecting to the stairs, overlaid the corners of a building’s walls that dated to MB I (EB IV), based on the ceramic finds retrieved from its floor. The walls of the building and its floor, wherein two column bases were incorporated, were coated with white plaster. These building remains and others from this period that were excavated in Areas A2 and A4 clearly indicate that during MB I a rather extensive settlement existed on the tell, or at least in its center.
Conservation and Reconstruction
. The construction of a roof (1300 sq m) over the palace in the middle of Area A has begun at the end of the last excavation season, to protect it from weather hazards. This work continued at the end of the current excavation season and will be completed before the rainy season. During the excavation season, the tops of mud-brick walls were covered with a protective layer of mud and straw and the wooden beams between the tops of orthostats and the mud-brick superstructures were partially reconstructed.