Re: Final LBA Hazor's Destruction; Was Sea Peoples, a dubious term.
- Dr. Braun,
In reference to NP Lemche’s comment about Palestine not sustaining Pre-Hellenistic cities of the Hazor size, you wrote, “I beg to differ. There are several Early Bronze Age sites that are as sizable. Notably, the largest building ever unearthed to date at Megiddo is the Level J4 temple, which is truly monumental. Beth Yerah in EB was larger than 35 hectares. Tel Yarmuth was very large as was Tel Erani and Ai/et-Tell.”
Given the possibility that your rebuttal might overlap with my original statement that LBA Hazor was 3-4x the size of the 2nd (and 3rd) largest contemporary sites in Canaan, I want to clarify that I was referring only to the occupied area of the site. BA Hazor enjoyed the use of the enormous area provided by the Lower City, into whose archaeological wealth the current excavations have not even begun to tap (though Sharon Zuckerman is itching to dig there). And by the way, the ancient Israelites never broke ground on the Lower City, from what we know.
However, for clarity’s sake, my point was not to say that the monumental architectural at Hazor was any more outstanding or monumental than the architecture at other sites throughout Canaan or the southern Levant. And incidentally, my statement is based entirely on the archaeological record, and is completely devoid of the biblical record. Regarding Canaan’s EBA sites and their sizes, I will not enter the fray.
As for your reference to Ai being associated with et-Tell, I would suggest to you that this long-time association is a dubious one. Here I refer you to an article that is “must-reading” on the subject: Bryant Wood, “The Search for Joshua’s Ai”, in Critical Issues in Early Israelite History (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 205-240.
If after reading and interacting with this article you are able to continue following the 1924 Albrightian designation of et-Tell as matching Ai, then so be it. But given the mandate of Dr. Gardner, Wood’s contribution neither can nor should be ignored.
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Once again, I'm rather hesitant to get into this, since the ongoing back and forth is most often done on the basis of "party lines" and self-perceived "truths" and often without reference to the latest research in various areas.
I was not, in any way stating who has the truth or not, at this or that university. For that matter, I felt that both sides of what appeared to be a completely aimless argument were not arguing about details of the most updated discussions and recent evidence of the LB destructions and/or the Sea Peoples, but rather going over their "party lines" - of which each side was totally convinced that his/her "truth" had "won" long ago (and nothing scares me more [in research, religion and politics] than those who know for sure that they are absolutely right).
Simplistic conceptions of the various ideological divisions and scholarly camps are really only useful if you are interested in the debate - and not the content (or the history and sociology of research). Current research, with an overflow of wide ranging data, has shown, in my humble opinion, if anything, that the various ideological "camps" of the historical reconstruction of the beginning of the Iron Age are all wrong (or if you want, they are all partially right)! Things were much more complicated than previously assumed.
For example, the simplistic explanation of the Philistines as monolithic conquerors does not hold - but neither does the often repeated mantra that there is no evidence of the influx of Aegean (or rather "western") oriented cultural elements. Au contraire - there is plenty of evidence of this, and that it can most probably be connected to the actual arrival of bona fide "bodies" who carried these cultural influences to the Levant.
And to make things ever more multi-faceted, this is true to varying degrees in different areas, such as if we compare the situation in Philistia, Phoenicia and the Amuq. To try and explain away all these things in simplistic terms may sound good in a debating society - but not for those of us who are intimately involved in the nitty-gritty details of the relevant archaeological finds.
Knowing Hebrew is not a sine qua non for studying the archaeology of this region, just like you can study the archaeology of Denmark, or Finland, without knowing the local languages. But, it can be very helpful (to say the least, as you well know).
AND, when dealing with a topic such as the destruction of Hazor (which much of the recent discussion on this list was not demonstrating an awareness of much of the most updated research), if the most recent discussion is in Hebrew, it is worthwhile to relate to it.
But hey - I've long ago had the feeling that this list is all too often more about the sociology of research and the psychology of the researchers, than research itself.
But that is my opinion - and what do I know...