Armageddon

27 Feb 2020

At www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00510-w .... archaeology at Megiddo - Biblical Armageddon. The last battle - the last conflagration etc. The mound of the city is SE of Haifa, not far from Nazareth. The mound is composed of 20 cities (built on top of each other, very often after one of them was destroyed in a conflagration). It began life around 5000BC. In other  words, Megiddo has experienced a number of armageddons - and a final one as the mound was abandoned in the 3rd century AD. Why did it become the focal battle of Revelation?

It was first excavated  back in 1907-1905 and has fascinated Biblicists for generations. The site has been revisited by archaeologists a number of times since then - and this is their story, told  by Eric H Cline, in 'Digging up Armageddon:the Search for the Lost City of Solomon' Princetown University Press:2020. Excavations between 1925 and 1939 were the most revealing - that of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. James Henry Breasted was involved. The Iron IIA city was supposedly built by Solomon in the 10th century BC - and what was thought to be Solomon's stables, because of the layout of some buildings, became a central plank of archaeology in the Holy Land. No actual horse bones were found - although some grain was uncovered. Finkelstein dates Iron IIA ti tge 9th century - and the so called stables  to the first half of the 8th century (in the reign of Jeroboam II). The structures may well have been barracks rather than stables (an idea uplifted from the Bible). This redating is controversial.

The end of LB layer (destroyed by fire and earthquake) was attributed, by Breasted, to the arrival of the Philistines - and is currently dated by C14 to the 10th century BC. Presumably this refers to mid dynasty 20 - around the time of Rameses VI or one of his brothers. Cline also wrote the book, '1177BC:the Year Civilization Collapsed' - which refers to the orthodox archaeological date for the end of LB event (200 years adrift of the modern C14 date).