First Discovery of Bodies in Biblical Gezer From Fiery Destruction 3,200 Years Ago

(Haaretz) — A newly discovered massive layer of fiery destruction confirms Pharaoh Merneptah’s boast that he “seized Gezer,” say archaeologists concluding their tenth season of excavations in the ancient Canaanite city – and report finding actual human remains there for the first time: two adults and a child, the latter still wearing earrings.

The ancient Egyptians may not have originally set out to destroy the royal city. The purpose of given military campaigns was to establish control, not necessarily to destroy: they preferred that vanquished inhabitants survive, farm the land and pay taxes. That said:

“The heavy destruction suggests that the Egyptian pharaoh encountered much resistance from the Gezerites,” remarks Professor Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who is directing the excavations together with Dr. Sam Wolff from the Israel Antiquity Authority.

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