Six areas were excavated in the 2018 season (Fig. 1): Area H (the stratigraphic section in the northwest of the tell), where the excavation was brought to a close; and in Areas K (the stratigraphic section in the southeast of the tell), S (inside Area AA of the University of Chicago’s 1930s excavations), T (in the vicinity of the Assyrian palace), X (west of the Assyrian palace), where the excavation was planned to continue; and in a new area—Area Z in the Iron Age gate area—which was excavated in collaboration with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority prior to the reconstruction of the west wing of the gate, which had been removed by the University of Chicago expedition.
Area H (Fig. 2). After being continuously excavated since 1996, work in this area was brought to a close. The current season’s objective was to clarify the stratigraphic context of Tomb 50—a monumental built tomb unearthed in the 2016 season. A Middle Bronze Age III floor was laid over the tomb.
Area K (Fig. 3). The excavation concentrated on the MB II and III strata, which abutted the large, preexisting mud-brick wall built at an earlier phase of the Middle Bronze Age. By the end of the season, the excavation reached an early Middle Bronze Age layer that predates the wall. Apparently, the wall’s outer face was well maintained, and it continued to be used as the city’s fortification all through the Middle Bronze Age. Throughout the second millennium BCE, the area was domestic in nature, characterized by courtyard houses bordering on the slope or the wall. Burials found beneath the floors of these houses will enable continued study of the ancient DNA of Megiddo’s population.
Area S (Fig. 4). Clarification of the stratigraphical composition of the Middle Bronze fortifications continued. Five squares were opened along the inner face of the Middle Bronze wall in order to date its construction. They yielded several strata from the earliest phases of the Middle Bronze Age, overlying an Intermediate Bronze Age stratum; one of these strata contained evidence of a conflagration. Samples from these strata submitted for radiocarbon dating will shed light on the transition from the Intermediate Bronze Age to the Middle Bronze Age and the beginning of the latter period.
Area T. Two excavation squares were dug into the floor of the Assyrian palace’s courtyard. They yielded a few remains from the earliest phase of Stratum III and reached the top of the rubble of the destruction layer (Stratum IVA).
Area X. A limited excavation continued in the Iron Age IIC strata from the seventh-century BCE.
Area Z (Fig. 5). The passage between the two wings of the six-chambered gate was excavated, as were two chambers in its eastern wing. The remains of a two-chambered gate that had been partially excavated by the Chicago University expedition afford the following stratigraphic observations: (1) the two-chambered gate, beneath the six-chambered gate, was built during Stratum VIA and was destroyed at the end of this strata; (2) the six-chambered gate was constructed during Strata VA–IVB; (3) the floor of the six-chambered gate was level with its foundations; (4) the six-chambered gate was reused for a while at the beginning of Stratum IVA and was later replaced—still during Stratum IVA—by the four-chambered gate that was built above it.
One of the main objectives of the Tel Megiddo expedition was to achieve a full chronostratigraphic record of the mound. Unearthing strata from the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age during the 2018 season is an important step toward accomplishing this objective. This season also went a long way to clarify the stratigraphic, architectural and chronological features of the Iron Age gates (Finkelstein et al. 2019).