Megiddo

Also known as Armageddon, el-Lejjun, Tel el-Mutesellium, Tell el-Mutesellim, Tel Megiddo, Campus Legionis, Har Megiddo, Har-Megeddon, Harmagedon, Isar-Megiddo, Legio, Lejjun, Megiddon

Megiddo aerial from southeast

Megiddo Excavations

Inhabited from the Chalcolithic period, Megiddo has approximately 26 levels of occupation.  American excavators from the Oriental Institute worked from 1925 with the ambitious goal of excavating every level in its entirety.  They made it through the first three levels before concentrating the work on certain areas.

 

Megiddo Pass

From the earliest times (EB) to the earliest historical records of the area (Thutmose III) to the future (Revelation 16), Megiddo assumes a prominent role.  This is largely owing to its strategic location astride the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara) and inside the busy Jezreel Valley.  The modern road follows the ancient one; the tell is just off the bottom right corner.

Megiddo pass aerial from northeast

 

Middle Bronze gate at Megiddo

Middle Bronze Gate

Strongly fortified throughout the ages, Megiddo boasted a stone Syrian-type gate in the days of Canaanite inhabitation.  

This gate is later than the bent-axis gate (straightened to accommodate chariots) and earlier than the famous "Solomonic" gate, part of the construction of King Solomon described in 1 Kings 9:15.

 

Early Bronze Altar

Part of a large religious complex from the third millennium B.C., this sacrificial altar is striking in its size (10m diameter) and location (behind the temple). 

A staircase leads up to the altar, a small temenos fence surrounded it, and large concentrations of animal bones and ashes were found in the vicinity.

Early Bronze altar at Megiddo

 

Iron Age water system at Megiddo

Iron Age Watersystem

Needing secure access to its water supply, Megiddo utilized different watersystems over its history.  

In the 9th c. BC, Ahab constructed a massive system with a 30 meter deep shaft and a 70 meter long tunnel.  This continued in use until the end of the Iron Age.

 

Tunnel to Spring

This Iron Age tunnel connected the bottom of Ahab's shaft to the spring. Before its construction, Megiddo residents had to leave the city walls in order to get water from the spring.

This tunnel was hewn from both ends at the same time (like Hezekiah's Tunnel) and its builders were only one foot off when meeting in the middle.

Megiddo Iron Age water system tunnel

Related Websites

The Megiddo Expedition (Tel Aviv University)  Offers information on the site and its history as well as previous excavations.  Features a 3D presentation of the site as well as a video.

The Megiddo Expedition (Tel Aviv University)  The site for those interested in digging at Megiddo.  Gives all the information necessary to participate in the dig, postponed until the summer of 2003.

Megiddo (Walking in Their Sandals)  Gives easy-to-read information on the location, biblical significance, etc.  Features links to photographs and on-line scripture references.

Megiddo (Christian Travel Study Program)  Features several good pictures with excellent identifying captions, accompanied by text highlighting facts of biblical, historical, and archaeological import.

Megiddo (BIBARCH)  Features many informative links within the text to resources such as: scripture references, the site's bibliography (some sources cited are available on the web), other relevant articles within the site, and a "words and phrases glossary."  Also offers a "Scripture Summary" and an "Archaeological Profile of Megiddo."

 Megiddo: The Solomonic "Chariot City" (Israel MFA)  Gives a detailed history of the site and descriptions of several of the important archaeological features.  Copy of this page at Jewish Virtual Library.

Solomon's Gate at Megiddo (Dig the Bible)  A brief discussion of the Solomonic gate.