How Was Megiddo Identified?

Megiddo (or at least its citadel) is today universally identified as Tell el-Mutesellim (“mound of the governor”). But, how did this idea originate? It originated from Robinson’s 1831 idea that, since Roman-Byzantine Legio, clearly identified by the name and the itineraries as el-Lejjun (modern Kibbutz Megiddo), is near Taanach (modern Ti’anik, West Bank) and gives its name to the surrounding plain, just like Megiddo (out of the 6 times Megiddo is paired with a town, the only exception to Taanach is a single pairing with Ibleam). Except for the quite decisive citation of Judges 5:19, the evidence was here only a little stronger than Conder’s original evidence for Kadesh as Tell Nebi Mend. Almost certain evidence was added by Thumose III’s battle account (saying the enemy’s southern wing was in Taanach, proving Megiddo was to the north of it, and the fact there was a north, middle, and south route to get to Megiddo, also, the toponyms Aruna (‘Ara) and the Brook Qina (Wadi Qina, 32°34’40″N, 35°11’31″E)) and the fact Necho killed Josiah at Megiddo when going up to the Euphrates to fight at Haran on the Balikh (Lejjun was the only unknown place besides Qeimun that would allow an army easy access northwards and better fit with Judges 5:19). The six chambered Solomonic (possibly-the fact the gate is not connected to the wall is not a problem, Thutmoside Megiddo had the same situation) made sure that, to say the least, any site for Megiddo besides Tell el-Mutesellim would be unlikely to the extreme.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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