Rock-fall, without any potsherds, was exposed in Areas 1 and 2. On a natural slope with a gradient of 18%–22%, it was possible to discern three artificial “steps”; the two lower ones were formed due to damage caused by a tractor. The eastern end of the tell was not damaged (Fig. 2).
A trench was opened along the slope in Area 3 (length 18 m, width 3 m, depth 8 m). The top of the trench (L302; Figs. 3–5) was located at the lower third of the slope of the tell, and its bottom (L301) was c. 1 m below the level of the road at the foot of the tell. The outer face of the bottom edge of the glaçis was exposed in the trench and four superposed layers could be discerned. The bottom layer consisted of a steep slope of natural basalt bedrock. It could clearly be seen in an outcrop to the north at the top of the trench (L304; Fig. 6), in a trial square excavated in the middle of the trench (Fig. 7) and at the bottom of the trench, near the road (Fig. 8). Soil fill (L310; thickness 0.4–0.5 m; see Fig. 7), probably meant to slightly moderate the slope, was exposed on the base of the basalt slope. An abundance of potsherds was found between several dense layers of fieldstones (L300, L303, L305/308; thickness 0.3–0.5 m; see Fig. 8) that were deposited above the soil fill. The top of the fieldstone layers was coated with a tamped white layer of earth and crushed chalk (L303B; thickness 0.2–0.4 m; Fig. 9), clearly visible in the southern section.
Many fragments of pottery vessels were found on the basalt bedrock, in the soil fill above it, in the dense fieldstone layers and above them. The assemblage, which includes a variety of types, is chronologically homogenous and dates to Middle Bronze Age IIB–beginning of Late Bronze Age I. Only a few fragments of pottery vessels (not drawn), dating to Middle Bronze Age IIA–B, were found on the basalt bedrock.
Three types of bowls, open, round and carinated, were discerned. The open bowls (Fig. 10:1–3) are characterized by a rounded, slightly thickened or cut rim and have straight sides that become wider toward the top. All of the bowls are slipped and occur in a variety of sizes. They are very common along the Syrian and Lebanese coast, in Israel and eastern Transjordan. The folded-in rim of the open bowls (Fig. 10:4–8) forms a kind of inner gutter. Similar bowls were found at the sites in the Jezreel Valley, i.e., Tel Yoqne‘am and Tel Qashis. At Hazor (Area A, Phase c–d) such bowls were dated to MB IIB–C (Bonfil 1997: Fig. II.8:1). The round bowls (Fig. 10:9, 10) appear in the transition period, MB IIA-B and continue until MB IIC. Another bowl (Fig. 10:11) is sipped and has a gutter rim. It is not frequent in the period’s assemblages, but was found in Hazor, Area D, Stratum 2 (Yadin yet al. 1958:113–114, Pl. CI:6) and ‘Akko. The carinated bowls (Fig. 10:12, 13) are mainly common in the last phase of MB IIB and MB IIC. They are reminiscent of the “egg shell” bowls and appear in funerary assemblages from MB IIB–C, such as Tomb 371 at Dan (Ilan 1996: Fig. 4.21:c).
The kraters include large hole-mouths (Fig. 11:1–3), carinated kraters (Fig. 11:4), a ridged rim (Fig. 11:5) that belongs to a deep open krater, short-neck kraters (Fig. 11: 6, 7) and open kraters with relief decoration (Fig. 11:8–11).
All the cooking pots are carinated and first appear in MB IIB; they have a gutter rim (Fig. 12:1–3), a triangular rim (Fig. 12:4) and a triangular rim with a gutter (Fig. 12:5). Cooking pots with a triangular rim (Fig. 12:6–9) mostly appear in strata from the beginning of LB I (Bonfil 1997:42, Fig. II.16:10).
The variety of closed vessels is smaller and include pithoi (Fig. 13:1–3); jars with various rims, e.g., rounded and folded (Fig. 13:5, 6), flat (Fig. 13:7) and elliptical (Fig. 13:8); and jugs (Fig. 13:9, 10). A body fragment of a White Painted V jug imported from Cyprus (Fig. 13:10) is noteworthy. Imported vessels from Cyprus were found at sites along the northern coast and in the Western Galilee, mainly on Tel Kabri, Tel ‘Akko, Tel Nami and Tel Mevorakh. The vessels come from Enkomi and other sites in Cyprus in the MC III period. The base of the burnished jar (Fig. 13:11) is a type common to tombs at Megiddo and at numerous sites in the north of the country throughout MB II.
Stone vessels were also found, including a bowl (Fig. 13:12) made of calcite, which might possibly have been used to store liquids and prevent their evaporation. Vessels of this kind had a short neck and an in-turned rim. Two pestles (Fig. 13:13, 14) were found next to fragments of basalt grinding stones.
It is obvious that the purpose of building the glaçis was to ensure the defense of the city. It was not possible to obtain a full picture of the construction method in the narrow excavated trench, which included the stone framework of the inner slope and the outer slope of the Tel Hazor rampart, as was exposed by Yadin at Hazor (Yadin 1975:134–135) and by Biran at Tel Dan (Biran 1994:59–73). The basalt bedrock is clearly visible in the outcrop to the north and the builders of the glaçis possibly tried to follow its contour so as to lean the layers of fill against it.
The question of dating the fortifications of the Lower City at Hazor was addressed by Yadin and was influenced by the exposure of Tomb 1181 in Area L. In his opinion, the location of the tomb in relation to the fortifications indicates that the fortifications were constructed after the tomb was no longer used in MB IIA–B transition period, hence in MB IIB (Yadin 1975:117–118, 172–178). This is consistent with his approach of dating the MB II fortifications to the second phase of the period throughout the Levant. According to Maeir and the results of the excavations in Tomb 1181, “Greater Hazor” already existed during the transition period, MB IIA-B (Maeir 1997:44–45). A similar hypothesis arose from the excavations in the fortifications of Area Q3 in the Lower City (Covello Paran 2007:41*). According to Ben-Tor (2004:55), Hazor, which is mentioned in the Mari Letters as a large fortified city, could only have existed toward the end of MB II, after it reached its zenith and a status that allowed it to trade with Mari.
Strata XVII/4 and XVI/3 at Tel Hazor represent the city at the height of its greatness in MB II. Is it possible to link the current excavation to one of the fortifications systems of these strata?
Trench T is located north of Area D, where Yadin exposed fortifications in Stratum 3 that were built on top of the destroyed city gate and wall of Stratum 4. A new line of fortifications that included a city wall and a gate was constructed 9 m east of the previous one.
Several layers of a tamped limestone level were exposed in trenches that were dug north and south of the gate, beneath the city wall and at the bottom level on the slope that descends to the foot of the tell (Yadin Y. et al. 1989:283). Retaining Wall 5503 should also be mentioned; it was built along a curved route and symmetrical to the gate and according to the excavators, by standing exposed for its entire length it was meant to support the road that led up to the gate. Ussishkin (1990: 1–2) thought that the wall was covered with soil fill and did not fulfill any defensive function; it was probably meant to stabilize the earthen rampart where the foundations of the gate were located. One of the reasons for this theory is that the wall built during the Middle Bronze Age was used until the end of the Late Bronze Age.
In light of this data, and given the dating of the excavation’s pottery assemblage to MB IIB–LB I, it is not possible to ascribe the segment of the glaçis exposed in the current excavation to a particular line of fortifications; however, it can very likely be attributed to Stratum XVI/3 that dates to the end of MB IIB–C.
Ben Tor A. 2004. Hazor and Chronology. Egypt and the Levant 14:45–68
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Bonfil R. 1997. Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age I. In A. Ben-Tor and R. Bonfil, eds. Hazor V. Jerusalem. Pp. 25–85
Covello-Paran K. 2007. Tel Hazor: Areas Q (The Eastern Spur) and N. 'Atiqot 55:17*–42*.
Ilan D. 1996. The Middle Bronze Age Tombs. In A. Biran. Dan I. Jerusalem. Pp. 161–267.
Maeir A.M 1997. Tomb 1181: A Multiple-Interment Burial Cave of the Transitional Middle Bronze Age IIA-B. In A. Ben-Tor and R. Bonfil, eds. Hazor V. Jerusalem. Pp. 295–340.
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