Royal Burial in Ancient Canaan May Shed Light on Biblical City



View of the excavations of the ancient city of Megiddo (Unesco World Heritage List, 2005), Israel. (DeAgostini/Getty Images)

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Royal Burial in Ancient Canaan May Shed Light on Biblical City

An undisturbed elite tomb discovered in ancient Armageddon has the promise of unlocking secrets.

An untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists. Not only is there an array of wealth in the tomb, but there is also a huge potential that the finding may provide insight into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C. The ancient city of Megiddo — located 19 miles south of Haifa in what is today northern Israel — dominated a strategic pass on major international military and trade routes for nearly five millennia. It has been the site of scientific investigation for 115 years. The most recent international expedition, under the direction of Israel Finkelstein and Mario Martin of Tel Aviv University and Matthew Adams of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeology, has been conducting archaeological excavations there since 1994. The most recent finding started as a mystery when archaeologists began to notice cracks in the surface of an excavation area. They ended up finding a burial chamber with the undisturbed remains of three individuals, all wearing jewelry. The rich adornment of the tomb’s inhabitants appears to indicate a complex and highly stratified society, in which wealthy and powerful people were elevated above most of Megiddo’s society. Archaeologists realized that in addition to the three individual burials, other human remains had been interred at an earlier point. Currently, a broad DNA test is being carried out on the individuals unearthed at Megiddo. The results could reveal for the first time whether the “common” inhabitants of the Canaanite city-state were of the same background as the elite.

Read the full story at National Geographic


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