The excavation took place in two areas, Area M4 and Area M68 (Fig. 1). Area M4 (Sqs G–H/7–9) is the southern extension of Area M3, where several rooms of the Administrative Palace were unearthed in previous seasons. In this season, settlement phases from the ninth and eighth centuries BCE were uncovered here, as well as meagre finds from the Persian period exposed in a pit located in the southern part of the area. Area M68 (D–G/7–10) is the continuation of the excavation west of the Iron Age casemate walls excavated by Yadin in 1968. The excavation was resumed in this area in the last two weeks of the 2018 season (Bechar and Ben-Tor 2020), after a hiatus of 23 years, as it was last excavated in 1995. In the 2019 season, the excavation focused on the southern and western parts of the area, exposing building phases from the eighth century BCE and from the Persian period.
Area M4
Ninth Century BCE. A row of five pillars of the ‘Southern Pillared Building’, whose eastern part was excavated in the 2010 season (Ben-Tor and Zuckerman 2010), are attributed to this phase. So far, only the tops of the pillars have been exposed (Fig. 2); the floor of this building probably lies c. 1.5 m below the pillar tops.
Eighth Century BCE. Four settlement phases dating from the eighth century BCE were defined here in this season. The earliest phase comprised a long wall exposed in the middle of the area; its architectural context remains to be clarified. In the western part of the area, the corner of a room built directly on top of the pillars of the ‘Southern Pillared Building’, was attributed to the second phase (Fig. 3). In the eastern part, there were two plaster patches of a floor associated with these walls, on which lay two basalt grinding bowls. The third and final pre-destruction phase is represented by a large building complex that overlay and sealed the floor patches. The complex, comprising two rooms, used the eastern casemate wall as its western wall (Fig. 4). The northern room was stone-paved, whereas a beaten earth floor was exposed in the southern room. More than a dozen smashed pottery vessels were found on these floors, including several storage jars, cooking pots, a krater, a jug, and juglets. A carnelian bead and a decorated stone stopper were also found on the floors. The smashed vessels are attributed to the destruction caused by the Assyrian military campaign of Tiglath Pileser III against the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 732 BCE, when Israelite Hazor was entirely destroyed, as has been observed in other parts of the tell. The fourth and latest ‘post-destruction’ phase is represented by a wall exposed on top of the destruction layer, that was part of a small poor settlement dated to the late eighth century BCE (Bechar and Ben-Tor 2020).
Area M68 (Fig. 5)
Eighth Century BCE. Three phases dated to the eighth century BCE were defined. The earliest eighth century BCE phase exposed in this area comprises parts of one or two buildings. So far, only the upper parts of the walls have been exposed (Fig. 5, on left). If these are two separate buildings, one extends further south beyond the excavation limits, and the other seems to continue further to the north. A pavement made of large stones also belongs to this phase.
The buildings and the pavement were cut by a later eighth century BCE building, of which only the eastern part has been exposed (Fig. 5, on left). This building probably had two phases, but almost nothing is known of the earlier phase, as its floor was completely clean. In the second sub-phase, four rounded stone installations and a rectangular clay installation were built (Fig. 6). The top of the building’s southern wall served as a pavement aligning a large stone olive press, which extended beyond the southern limit of the excavated area.
To the east of the building, a street was uncovered running between the building and the casemate city wall. The street was made of packed earth and tiny pebbles, and strewn with many bones and pottery sherds, in some parts very densely packed. A Canaanite clay figurine fragment, a bone spindle whorl and two beads were found on this street.
Two or three channels, exposed below the pebbled street, were lined by three walls that were built of single stone rows (Fig. 5, on middle). The easternmost channel was excavated in the 1990s in the northern excavation area. A pavement abutted the westernmost channel (Fig. 5, on middle). The function of these channels has not yet been clarified, but it is possible that they were part of a workshop. If so, the activities that were carried out in the workshop, may have continued in the building containing the stone installations to the west, after the workshop with the channels fell out of use.
Although no destruction level was identified in this part of Area M68, we propose that this building dates to the final settlement phase at Hazor r prior to Tiglath-Pileser III’s destruction in 732 BCE.
A short-lived ‘post-destruction’ phase comprised two rooms that abutted the western casemate wall. In the northern room, a tabun and a basalt grinding bowl were found on the floor (Fig. 7); no floor was identified in the southern room. In addition, a thin wall was built on top of the eastern casemate wall, the latter wall ceasing to function after the fall of Hazor. It is probable that the later overlying wall served to delimit this area, rather than functioning as a defense wall.
Persian Period. Two walls and a paved surface were found in the southern part of the area; three Persian silver coins were found underneath one of the walls.