Monday, June 4, 2012

Jewelry Find at Megiddo

Hot off the presses…..or screen since this is a digital world…..pieces of gold and silver jewelry have been found at Tel Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel.   The find actually occurred back in March, but it has taken this long for folks in the know to take a closer look.

They’ve determined the jewelry dates back to 1100 B.C.E.   It was found wrapped in fabric and hidden in ceramic vessels in what is described as a private home dating from the Iron Age.   Researchers believe the jewelry belonged to a Canaanite woman.

Did the owner die?   Was she forced to flee suddenly?   Why did they hide it?

One of the most exciting pieces is a gold earring decorated with molded ibexes, or wild goats.   

Usually, in a find like this researchers already have something similar they can compare objects with to place them in the proper cultural and chronological settings.   In the case of the “goat” earrings there is NO comparison item.

The most amazing thing is the container where the jewelry was found has been in the hands of archaeologists since 2010 and has been sitting around waiting for a molecular analysis of its content.

It is believed some of the collection could have originated in Egypt due to beads made from the carnelian stone.  The style of the jewelry is consistent with Egyptian designs from the same period.   Another hint regarding an Egyptian origin has to do with the large number of gold items.  If the items didn’t originate in Egypt then the designer was at least influenced by Egyptian styles of the time.  There were instances of trade between the Egyptians and Megiddo during the Bronze and Iron Age.

Tel Megiddo was an important Canaanite city-state until the early 10th century B.C.E. 

During the Northern Kingdom of Israel around the 9th and 8th centuries B.C.E. Tel Megiddo continued to be an important center.   

It was easy for the researchers to date the jewelry since layers of archaeological matter exist at the site and are very easily dated. 
The jewelry in question was found in a layer that researchers have identified as 11th century about the time of an Egyptian withdrawal or when the people who owned the jewelry would have been influenced by Egyptian culture.

Visit the Tel Megiddo expedition website here.

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