The Fall of Hazor XIII: Israelites, Sea Peoples, Egyptians, Nearby City-States or Popular Revolt?

The last city at the Lower City of Hazor, Lower City 1A/Upper City XIII, was destroyed with a great and mighty fire. Both Egyptian and Canaanite statues were defaced by the destroyers. According to Israel Finkelstein (TBU, p. 90), Hazor Upper City XIII was destroyed in the mid-13th C BC, since no late 13th Century BC forms were found at the site. This excludes an Israelite cause of Hazor’s destruction since the Israelites were, in Late bronze IIB, nomads, and had not yet even begun to settle by Hazor XIII’s destruction. The Egyptians could not have done it, since they would certainly not have defaced Egyptian statues. No Sea Peoples invasion is mentioned as early as the mid-13th century BC, thus, the Sea Peoples were certainly not the cause of the destruction of Hazor XIII. This leaves us with the ‘popular revolt’ hypothesis and the hypothesis Hazor was conquered by Canaanite armies. While no evidence of weaponry was found in the destruction of Hazor, and the defaced statues are certainly consistent with the idea of a peasant revolt, it is highly unlikely the rebels would burn the city they lived in (!!!). Besides, the most appropriate approach for any army attempting to attack Hazor would be from the southeastern side (near areas P and N in this map), which has been insufficiently excavated to draw any conclusions regarding whether a battle took place there at the destruction of Hazor XIII. After all, Hazor was located on the western end of a series of ‘great powers’ in the Bashano-Syro-Canaanite world which could afford to launch a unified campaign against a city-state, especially one as vulnerable as Hazor (cf. below):

Hazor is in green, the Cities of the Garu (allied with Ashtaroth) are in light purple, Ashtaroth is in Purple, Damascus is in blue and Yenoam (under Damascene influence) is in light blue. The reconstruction is based on the Amarna letters, from the century before Hazor XIII’s destruction. It is clearly not too implausible to imagine an alliance of Ashtaroth and Damascus destroying Hazor, especially since Canaanite city-states were free to expand and maintain territory (cf. the rise of Amurru, Pella’s help in the quelling of the revolt of the cities of the Garu in EA 256). They would likely have no problem with destroying Hazor’s Egyptian statues. Thus, either popular revolt or attack by other Canaanite city-states would be sufficient explanation for the destruction of Hazor XIII.

UPDATE (as of April 5, 2012)- A peasant revolt hypothesis is now considered by me to be more likely than coordinated attack. Many residential areas of the Lower City were not destroyed at the end of Hazor XIII.