by Bryant G. Wood PhD
EXCERPT The tenth excavation season of the ABR-sponsored dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir was conducted from May 28 to June 8, 2012, under the direction of the author. The following report provides readers with the most up to date information from our excavations in Israel as we continue to uncover evidence related to the events of Joshua chapters 7-8.
Volunteers mainly from the US, but also from Australia, Canada, Germany and Israel participated. Eighteen squares were excavated and significant finds were made from all four occupation periods represented at the site. This was without doubt the most successful season at Kh. el-Maqatir, with the exception of the first season in 1995 when the gate of the 15th-century BC fortress was discovered.
Late Bronze I Period (ca. 1500–1400 BC)
The major focus of the dig is to elucidate the Late Bronze I fortress phase of occupation. Archaeological and geographic evidence strongly indicates that Kh. el-Maqatir should be identified as the fortress of Ai described in Joshua 7–8. 2 In Squares N7, N8, N9, O8, O9 and P9 the west wall of the fortress and a later second-century BC addition was further clarified this season. Just 33 ft (10 m) inside the western fortress wall, a 3.3 ft (1 m)-wide wide wall was traced for 36 ft (11 m) in Squares N10 and O10. The wall was part of a major structure since it continues further north and south, but its purpose remains unclear at present. In Square N17, 56 ft (17 m) south of the gate, calcined bedrock indicative of an intense fire was uncovered. The same evidence has been observed in other squares in the vicinity of the gate. Joshua 8:28 states: “Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins.” Geologist David McQueen spent two days at the site examining the evidence for burning and collecting geologic samples from Square N17 and the gate area. The samples will be thermally tested to determine if they were heated to high temperatures in the past. Additional Late Bronze I pottery was found that had been “refired” as a result of being subjected to extremely high temperatures subsequent to the original kiln firing. Samples of both refired and normally-fired pottery will be thermally tested as well….
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