Elusive destructions: reconsidering the Hazor Iron Age II sequence and its chronological and historical implications

Harel Shochat, Ayelet Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hazor, a key Iron Age II site in the southern Levant, was excavated by Yigael Yadin in the 1950s and subsequently by Amnon Ben-Tor. The Iron Age II stratigraphic sequence established proved very influential and nearly canonical; it was interpreted as representing periodic building-and-destruction cycles. The three superimposed ‘cities’ thus reconstructed were inter-alia understood to reflect alternating Israelite/Aramean domination in this conflict-prone border area before the final Assyrian destruction in the late 8th century BCE. Here we offer an alternative reconstruction for Hazor’s stratigraphic/architectural development, with repercussions for several chronological and political-historic aspects of the Kingdom of Israel and the greater Levant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-386
Number of pages24
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We warmly thank Amnon Ben-Tor and the Israel Exploration Society for the permission to reproduce illustrations from the Hazor publications; Ruhama Bonfil for compiling Fig. 2; and Sveta Matskevitch for preparing all the other illustrations and especially the illustrated Table 2. The radiocarbon plots were prepared by Ilan Sharon, who also commented on the paper prior to submission. We are grateful to Tamar Hodos, Dan’el Kahn and two anonymous Levant reviewers for their constructive comments. Part of this work was supported by the Goldhirsh-Yellin Foundation, California and by Israel Science Foundation grant 797/10 awarded to Sharon.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © Council for British Research in the Levant 2019.


  • Aram-Damascus
  • Hazor
  • Iron Age chronology
  • Kingdom of Israel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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