National Geographic announces a major find from Megiddo dating to the 17th century BC.
Undisturbed tombs are all too rare in professional excavations.
The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.
The surprise find began as something of a mystery, when archaeologists began to notice cracks in the surface of an excavation area adjacent to the Bronze Age palaces which were discovered in the 1930s. Dirt appeared to be falling away into some unseen cavity or structure below, Adams recalls. Then, in 2016, they happened upon the culprit: a subterranean corridor leading to a burial chamber.
The chamber contained the undisturbed remains of three individuals—a child between the ages of eight and 10, a woman in her mid 30s and a man aged between 40-60—adorned with gold and silver jewelry including rings, brooches, bracelets, and pins. The male body was discovered wearing a gold necklace and had been crowned with a gold diadem, and all of the objects demonstrate a high level of skill and artistry.
Apart from the rich, undisturbed burials, the archaeologists were also intrigued by the tomb’s location adjacent to the late Middle Bronze Age royal palace of Megiddo.
“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because of the fact that the burial is located in close proximity to the royal palace,” Finkelstein explains.
The grave goods point to the cosmopolitan nature of Megiddo at the time and the treasures it reaped from its location on the major trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean. Along with jewelry, the tomb contained ceramic vessels from Cyprus and stone jars that may have been imported from Egypt.
National Geographic has more details, including the report of a DNA study being done at Megiddo.
HT: Joseph Lauer