Discovery at Hazor: Wheat- The Silent Witness to History

Tweets the American Friends of Hebrew University-

Excavations led by @HebrewU‘s Prof Amnon Ben-Tor reveal 3,400-year-old clues to the reason for the destruction of Hazor.

Unfortunately they don’t link to further news so I had to go looking for it.

Traces of burnt wheat found in Israel’s Upper Galilee are evidence of the 13th-century-BCE Israelite conquest of the Promised Land, an archeologist said. … 

This season, the excavation, which is being conducted under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, uncovered a storage room in the castle. In the room were 14 large clay jugs containing seeds of burnt wheat.

Professor Amnon Ben-Tur of the Hebrew University has been in charge of the Hazor excavations since 1990. In an interview with Ynet, Ben-Tur said that the jugs were destroyed around the 13th century BCE, a period, he said, which coincided with the biblical account of Joshua’s capture of Hazor. According to Chapter 11 in the Book of Joshua, Hazor was the only city in the Land of Israel that was destroyed by fire during the conquest.

Ben-Tur’s assessment regarding the destruction of Hazor is far from being a foregone conclusion in the archaeological world. Scholars are at odds as to when Hazor was destroyed and by whom. While the most widely accepted school of thought accepts the theory that Hazor was destroyed by the Israelites in or around the 13th century BCE, there are many scholars who hold that Hazor was destroyed by either the Egyptians, the Sea Peoples, or nomadic tribes that wandered the region at the time.

Ben-Tur disagreed, noting that Hazor was not included in any of the lists of Israelite cities destroyed by the Pharaohs. Furthermore, Ben-Tur holds that the Sea Peoples traditionally stayed close to the coastline, and would not have conquered a city as far inland as Hazor.

Ben-Tur said that the recent discovery at Hazor “sheds even more light on Israelite history.”

Doubtless there will be loads of discussion about this.  As is right.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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4 Responses to Discovery at Hazor: Wheat- The Silent Witness to History

  1. Interesting find. No 14C date. No news.

    We must refrain from broadcasting this type of news, because it is no real news. They are just angling for funds. This is why people increasingly ignore good scholarship.


    • Jim says:

      not so. news of discoveries was news before c 14 and will be news after c 14 disappears from the landscape.


  2. Pingback: Discovery at Hazor: Wheat – The Silent Witness to History « Fr Stephen Smuts

  3. Sorry dear Jim, I do not agree. Without 14C-date, it’s just a find that’s open to every possible interpretation.

    Burnt wheat as result of a normal fire, as happened every now and then in every pre-industrial town? Likely.

    A war with another Bronze Age town? Possible.

    Hazor captured during an unrecorded Hittite raid? Possible.

    Hazor captured by Sea People? Possible – after all, Denyen made it up to Tel Dan and Peleset/Filistines to Bet Sean, and no one knows how their overland expedition reached Egypt in the first place.

    Hazor captured by invading Hebrews? Possible.

    Hazor captured by Aramaeans? Possible.

    Captured by David or Solomon? Possible.

    Hazor captured by Sisak/Shoshenq? Depends on the stratigraphy, but not immediately excluded as the object was buried in an earlier stratum.

    So, we must first have a 14C-date; after that, archaeologists can shout “und die Bibel hat doch recht”. Archaeologists who say that they have found evidence for a Biblical story, but have not fully investigated their case, are just trying to obtain media attention, and are an obstacle to true scholarship. Journalists ought to boycot them.

    Fortunately, the journalist of the present article says that “the destruction of Hazor is far from being a foregone conclusion in the archaeological world”. But if he knows this, he should have ignored it until there is a decent publication. What’s wrong with our academics that they think it’s normal to publish results prior to the review process and prior to real publication?


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