Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site IV~Khirbet Iskander

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site I~ Tell Al'Umeiri
Bibilcal Archaeology in a Day, Site II~ Ataroth
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site III~Machaerus

From Machaerus we returned to the King's Highway, once an ancient trade caravan route, and traveled south to the Khirbet Iskander site. Though the name "Khirbet Iskander" means the "ruins of Alexander" in reference to Alexander the Great who conquered the area in 323 BC, the site is actually the ruins of a fortified Early Bronze Canaanite city, the only one of it's kind to be discovered and dating back to 2300 BC.

The Early Bronze Period, 3500-2000 BC and divided into four sub-periods, is so significant because this is the period in history when the first cities rose up in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It is also the period when writing was first discovered. The rise of urban centers influenced the rise of cities in the biblical lands of present day Jordan and Israel. This was the land of Canaan, peopled by the Canaanites. The Israelites didn't come to the area until 1200 BC.

We didn't actually go down to the site, where excavation is ongoing, but instead viewed it from the highway.

Before leaving the area our guide lead us to yet another treasure: a Roman road milestone inscribed with the name of Nerva, Emperor of the Roman world from AD 96-98. Imagine, just lying in a ditch off the highway!

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