I had already largely agreed with Walter Mattfeld that the Bible (especially Genesis) largely reflects the Late Iron IIc/Babylonian/Early Persian periods before I founded this blog-indeed, I had argued Genesis 14 is a metaphor for Zedekiah’s escape and Chedorlaomer a metaphor for the Median or Persian empire-but this idea puts me to shame! Why had I not thought of Adam being a metaphor for Zedekiah before? Why had I not thought Eden as a metaphor for Jerusalem, just made larger-than life and moved somewhat to the East?
Areas A&S radiocarbon dates.
Area M radiocarbon dates.
The Nahas Areas A&S Plans.
The Kuntillet ‘Ajrud plan.
The info on the Kuntillet ‘Ajrud pottery.
On Lateral Access Podium (sometimes wrongly called “bit hilani” or “four-room house”) buildings.
For map of sites where Iron IIb-Early Hellenistic Edomite pottery is found, see here.
The Assyro-Gazite and Ashkelonite imitation Assyro-Gazite pottery is from Ashkelon 3.
Levy’s Landminds interview.
Over 500 fingerprint-impressed jar handles have been found at Qeiyafa. The second most fingerprint impression-bearing site is Jokneam, with about 15 impressions (overtones of the northern lmlk handles, esp. at Nahal Tut). Overall, fingerprint-impressed jars appear to be found in the Coastal Plain and North (and Tel Beersheba and Beth-Zur). This provides some rather interesting parallels with the much later (~300 years later) lmlk impressions. Like in the case of the fingerprint impressions, most early lmlk impressions were concentrated at a single location in the Shephelah, and were made out of Shephelah clay. The Iron I fingerprint pottery and the Iron IIb lmlk pottery may have been at the same location. However, unlike in the case of the lmlk impressions, very few fingerprint impressions were found in the highlands (none seem to have been found at Gibeon and Jerusalem). So, who controlled the Qeiyafa polity? I suggest the likely candidates are:
1. The Kingdom of Beth-Zur
Beth-Zur was fortified in the Iron I and yielded one or more fingerprint-impressed jar handles. The kingdom ruled from it may be an illusion (i.e., an establishment of the Gibeonites or Jerusalemites) or an actual kingdom ruling over most of the Hebron hills destroyed by Judah or Gibeon (the Philistines are right out).
2. The Kingdom of Socoh or Adullam
-My gut reaction is to look to local explanations for Qeiyafa’s rise. They may be incorrect, but they haven’t been disproven.
3. The Kingdom of Gibeon
This is Finkelstein (and some maximalists)’s choice. He appears to believe believe Gibeon was a large, powerful kingdom ruled by the Saulide dynasty. I buy this. However, unless someone finds a fingerprint impression at Gibeon, I ain’t buying that Gibeon built Qeiyafa. It’s still a possibility.
4. The Kingdom of Jerusalem
-Almost every maximalist’s choice. As Jerusalem isn’t mentioned in Shoshenq I’s list, I ain’t buying it. I have not done thorough research on the Stepped Stone structure (evidence of the succession of the Late Bronze Kingdom of Jerusalem into Saulide times?), but Gibeon and Mahanaim appear far more prominent in Shoshenq’s list than Jerusalem.
In short, someone really needs to analyze the settlement system between the Hebron hills and southern Shephelah in Late Iron I.
During my research for my second YouTube video on Khirbet en-Nahas, I remembered a Moabite Assyrian-era fortress that has yielded a similar plan to those Assyrian fortresses built in Edom along the routes to Arabia (Nahas, Kheleifeh, Hatseva): Khirbet Mudaybi (also known as Mudeibi/Mudeibi’a). The site has yielded four Proto-Ionic capitals in its gate area, and a radiocarbon date showing its 8th C BC origin. It is located at 31° 2’34″N, 35°50’45″E. Publication of all its finds should prove useful to detailing Sargonid administration in trade-sensitive areas in its vassal kingdoms.
For Levy’s claim Khirbet en-Nahas had something to do with Edom, see here.
The cooking pots.
The Late Iron IIa bowl picture.
The Negebite ware picture.
Levy’s PNAS paper (from where I got the radiocarbon dates from).
For some radiocarbon dates which further confirm the idea Khirbet en-Nahas was founded in the 11th-Late 12th C BC, see here.
The Nahas layers picture.
The Tel Masos picture.
The Arad picture.
Article with tables comparing Early Iron Age Phoenician-Palestinian inscriptions here.
The Gath inscription, reading ALWT | WLT or, possibly, ALYT | YLT (witness the Izbet Sartah ostracon’s Yodh) is an early alphabetic inscription inscribed in the Iron IIa. The ‘Izbet Sartah inscription provides a relatively close parallel to this inscription, and dates to either the Early Iron IIa (it was found in an Iron IIa context) or the Early Iron I (the script looked rather early, so it was dated to the earlier occupation phase). Apparently, the Gath, and, probably, Izbet Sartah inscriptions compared with the Zayit and Gezer inscriptions demonstrate two separate scribal traditions in 10th-9th C BC Western Palestine. The first, demonstrated by the Qeiyafa, Gath, and, probably, Izbet Sartah ostraca, is clearly not derived from the Phoenician cultural sphere from which came the Early Byblian inscriptions (note the G-shaped Lameds!). The second, demonstrated by Gezer and Zayit, clearly is. Perhaps, my guess the Gezer tablet is an Iron I inscription was wrong, and a non-Phoenician early alphabetic script was used in Iron Ages I and IIa, while the Phoenician script was only introduced c. 880 BC.