Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Megiddo, Haifa District, Israel
 

The Sacred Area

 
 
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
1. The Sacred Area Marker
Inscription. [Text on the Left Side of the Marker]:

This area served as a focus of worship for over two thousand years, from the Early Bronze through the Iron I periods. The University of Chicago excavation section a series of temples (1, 3-5) built one on top of the other. The Megiddo Expedition, led by a team from Tel Aviv University, uncovered an additional temple (2) unique in the Levant in its monumentality and the thousands of sacrificial animal bones found in and around it.

[Text on the Right Side of the Marker]:

Period

7000-3500 B.C.
Neolithic & Chalcolithic

3500-2200 B.C.
Early Bronze

2200-2000 B.C.
Intermediate Bronze

2000-1550 B.C.
Middle Bronze

1500-1150 B.C.
Late Bronze

1150-1000/900 B.C.
Iron I

1000/900 - 732 B.C.
Iron II (Israelite)

732-586 B.C.
Iron II (Assyrian, Egyptian)

586-530 B.C.
Babylonian

530-332 B.C.
Persian

 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tel Megiddo marker series.
 
Location. 32° 35.126′ N, 35° 11.132′ E. Marker is near Megiddo, Haifa District. Marker can be reached from National Route 66 just
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
2. The Sacred Area Marker
Close-up view of the English text displayed on the left side of the historical marker.
north of National Route 65, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. This historical marker is located in the Megiddo National Park. The park is located between the Megiddo and Yokne‘am junctions (road no. 66), about 2 km west of the Megiddo junction. The historical marker is situated at the top of Tel Megiddo, on the eastern side, on the northern crest of the broad and deep archaeological trench dug into Tel Megiddo by the University of Chicago's excavation team.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Unique Continuity (here, next to this marker); The Northern Palace (within shouting distance of this marker); The Northern Stables (within shouting distance of this marker); Schumaker's Excavations (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); From Megiddo to Armageddon (about 90 meters away); Tel Megiddo National Park (about 120 meters away); A Public Grain Silo (about 120 meters away); The Southern Palace (about 120 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Megiddo.
 
More about this marker. The "Megiddo National Park" handout/brochure has this to say about Stop 9, "The temple area" on the historic tour:

The deep trench visible from the observation point was dug by the Chicago expedition. In the far section of the trench, opposite the observation point, the mound's numerous
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
3. The Sacred Area Marker
Close-up view of the illustration showing the various "sacred compounds," from the different periods of history, displayed on the historic marker. Temples (1) (2) date to the Early Bronze I Period, Temples (3) (4) date to the Early Bronze III Period, and Temple (5) dates to the Middle Bronze to Iron I Period. Note the "Round Altar" seen in the illustration.
strata can be seen - more than 20 cities - excavated down to bedrock. Remains found in a depression in the bedrock go back as far as the Neolithic period. Finds from the Early Canaanite period indicate the presence of a large un-walled settlement that stretched east toward the present-day road at the foot of the mound.

Below, you can see Megiddo's cultic area from the fourth millennium BCE to the beginning of the Israelite period. In the Early Canaanite period, a series of temples was built here continuously, one atop the other. The earliest, dating from the Early Canaanite period IB, was a broadroom structure with an enclosed courtyard. Paving stones discovered in the courtyard bore incised Egyptian-style motifs, among them depictions of humans and animals.

Another temple from later in this period is the most monumental structure of its time known in the Levant. Impressive, finely finished basalt offering tables were sunken into its floor. Its four-meter thick walls reveal the importance of the site as early at the end of the fourth millennium BCE. This temple illustrates the process of urbanization underway in Canaan at the close of the fourth millennium BCE.

At the end of the Early Canaanite period (2300 BCE), three more temples were built over the earlier ones. They were of the megaron type, consisting of an open entrance area leading to a large room
The Sacred Area image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
4. The Sacred Area
View of the Sacred Area depicted on the historical marker. Note the "Round Altar" that is seen in the illustration, with Temple (5) built on top of it.
whose roof was supported by two columns. A circular altar, eight meters in diameter, predating the three temples, continued in use. Seven steps lead to the top of this altar, which survived to its full height and is clearly visible at the back of the largest of the three temples. Numerous animal bones were found at the base of the altar.

At the beginning of the Middle Canaanite period rites were performed in the open area. At the end of that period, the fortress-like 'Tower Temple' (dismantled by the Chicago expedition) was built over the remains of the above-mentioned three temples. Featuring thick walls and an entrance flanked by a pair of towers, the 'Tower Temple' continued in use until the end of the Israelite period I.

With the complete destruction of the Canaanite city in the Israelite period I, cultic practices ceased in the temple area after over 2,000 years.
 
Regarding The Sacred Area. The text on this historical marker shares two different views on when the Iron I Period ended (either 1,000 or 900 B.C.) and when the Iron II Period began (once again, either 1,000 or 900 B.C.). These two different views are the result of the current split in scholars of Biblical archaeology and history into two camps identified as minimalists and maximalists. I have included two links to help the reader to understand what the
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
5. The Sacred Area Marker
View of photo displayed as part of the historical marker with the following caption: "The remains of this temple (5) were removed by the University of Chicago Expedition." The round altar, from earlier temple structures, would be directly beneath this structure.
significant issues are in these two differing views.

It should be noted that this debate in view points is focused on the period in Ancient Near History from about 1,000 to 800 B.C. (the time period that this historical marker's timeline falls into) and that the debate is centered around matching the historical timeline of the literature found in the text of the Bible with the historical timeline of the archaeological evidence being found in the lands and physical sites associated with the Bible.

The author of one of these links (who is pro minimalist) writes, "Maximalism and Minimalism: labels for two opinions about the relation between written evidence and archaeology, which sometimes are conflicting...The labels 'maximalism' and 'minimalism' were coined in the debate about the historical reliability of the Bible. For more than a century, archaeologists have been digging in the Near East, and inevitably, they found contradictions between the archaeological record and the story told in the Bible...'Minimalism' and 'maximalism' are two principles to cope with this situation. Maximalist scholars assume that the Biblical story is more or less correct, unless archaeologists prove that it is not; minimalists assume that the Biblical story must be read as fiction, unless it can be confirmed archaeologically."

The author of the other link (who is pro maximalist)
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
6. The Sacred Area Marker
A distant view from the park trail, of the historical marker, situated on the north side crest of the major excavation trench that was dig through a portion of Tel Megiddo.
writes, "According to the minimalists, the United Monarchy never split into two kingdoms, Judah and Israel, because it never existed in united form in the first place. Their account is that the two kingdoms developed side by side, with the Kingdom of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem, developing at a far later stage, after the consolidation of the Kingdom of Israel in the ninth and eighth centuries BCE. In this interpretation, David and Solomon are entirely fictional figures."
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Tel Megiddo. This is a link to information provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

2. Megiddo. This is a link to information provided by a web site entitled BiblePlaces.com (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

3. The Megiddo Expedition. This is a link to information provided by The Megiddo Expedition Website. (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

4. Tell Megiddo. This is a link to information provided by the BibleWalks.com website. (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

5. Maximalists and Minimalists
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
7. The Sacred Area Marker
View of the historical marker on an observation platform, overlooking the excavation trench.
. This is a link to articles on ancient history provided by the Livius website. (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

6. Maximalists vs. Minimalists: A Good Survey. This is a link to information found in a blog sponsored by BiblePlaces.com (Submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

7. Why was Megiddo important?. This is a link to information provided by the N.E.T. (Near East Tourist Agency) website. (Submitted on May 22, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

8. Archaeology and History at Megiddo. This is a link to information provided by the N.E.T. (Near East Tourist Agency) website. (Submitted on May 22, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 
 
Categories. AnthropologyChurches, Etc.Settlements & Settlers
 
The Sacred Area Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 8, 2013
8. The Sacred Area Marker
View of the historical marker and a portion of the excavation trench beneath it.
The Sacred Area image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 9, 2013
9. The Sacred Area
A panoramic view of the same area of the Tel Megiddo excavation shown on the historical marker's displayed illustration, with the "Round Altar" in the center of the picture (Click on the picture to enlarge your view).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 2, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 528 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 3, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.
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