Gezer: king Solomon's wedding present
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Tel Gezer is about 30kms from Jerusalem, just where the Costal Plain meets the Shephelah. Today it is not far from the motorway - a hint of its strategic importance in ancient times. Yet because it is only reached by farm tracks it is not visited by many tourists, and it seems an out-of-the-way spot.

Control of Gezer gave the possibility of control over both the Via Maris - the international highway between Egypt and the East, which heads north to follow the "fertile crescent" rather than cross the desert to Mesopotamia - and of the local highway which followed the Aijalon Valley into the Judean hills to Jerusalem. This is why 1 Ki 9:15ff. lists it with Jerusalem, Hazor, and Megiddo at the head of the cities that Solomon fortified. The Bible also tells us that Pharaoh "captured Gezer and burned it down, killed the Canaanite's who lived in the city, and had given it as dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife".

Archaeology also suggests that Early Iron Age Gezer had a turbulent history. Strata XIII-XI are Philistine, they reveal more than one destruction of the city in the 12th and 11th centuries. Strata X–IX (late 11th–mid-10th centuries) are not Philistine, yet are pre-Israelite, which fits with the biblical account that Pharaoh overran a Canaanite city.

Stratum VIII seems to be Solomonic, with a gate very like those of Hazor and Megiddo. The city at that time was well fortified, reusing the preceding walls were possible except in the gate area. There may also have been a large well built palace/fortress (some ashlars from this seem to have been reused later). However this stratum was destroyed probably by Pharaoh Shishak.

In Stratum VII (9th century) the gate was rebuilt with only four chambers. However the evidence is slight for the period between the Solomonic stratum VIII and the destruction of stratum VI (perhaps by the Assyrians under Tiglath-Pileser in 734BC)

One of the most important finds from Gezer (Tell el-Jezer) is no longer onsite, the small limestone tablet known as the "Gezer Calendar" is now in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.