Megiddo: Tell el-Mutesellim
Tell el-Mutesellim is close to the Carmel range (c30 Kms from Haifa) and guards the largest pass between the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon) and the coastal plain. The tell is some 20-30m tall and measures c300x230m (about 10+ acres). There are springs to the NE and W of the tell, and the Wadi Ara (Nahal Iron) runs nearby. The area is thus fertile and the site well supplied with water (essential to the location of any town of significant size). The Via Maris ("way of the sea") followed the wadi, and this is the most convenient location to control this route giving Megiddo its strategic importance.
Several expeditions have excavated the tel, Germans in 1903 & 1905 including a 20m wide north-south trench across the tell and some smaller trenches; later (from 1925-1939) a really large scale investigation by teams from the Oriental Institue of Chicago; and in the sixties and seventies Israeli teams added a number of refinments.
The extensive published results of these excavations have lead to some vigourous debate, and a number of previous conclusions have been overturned as a result of more careful analysis or newer information.
Several of the Bronze Age strata reveal the close contacts between the Canaanite city and Egypt, since Megiddo was vital to Egyptian hegemony in Palestine at this time. The dating and strfatigraphy of Iron Age Megiddo has been the subject of several hypotheses and differing interpretations, for this site I have usually followed the datings given by signs onsite provided by the Israeli authorities.
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Unless marked otherwise Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.