Eliot Braun

Early Megiddo on the East Slope (The "Megiddo Stages")

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2013

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Between 1925 and early 1933 the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute’s expedition to Megiddo created a large dumping area in a convenient locale to the southeast of the high mound for fills removed from excavations on the upper tell. So that the new dumps would not additionally cover any ancient remains in the vicinity of the tell, that area the excavators labeled the “East Slope” was systematically and incrementally stripped bare of its soil overburden and archaeological deposits down to bedrock. Excavations on that rocky East Slope unearthed a patchy and confusing series of sequences of human utilization, most of which could not be easily correlated with finds on the high mound.

Although a final report on the excavation of the East Slope was planned, the vagaries of the several excavators’ careers, their states of health, and cessation of the expedition’s work due to World War II effectively prevented creation of final reports for that and other areas of the site. Until the present the sole published evidence for the East Slope (sometimes, albeit erroneously, known as the “Megiddo Stages”) was confined to several preliminary reports, all published prior to the second half of the last century. The present work synthesizes all available documentary and artifactual evidence, most unpublished, found in two primary repositories, the Oriental Institute in Chicago and the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem. The aim of this project was to recreate a detailed and definitive account of the archaeological record of the East Slope unearthed by its excavators, as far as it is possible more than eight decades after the excavations’ completion.

This report presents never before published plans, photographs, descriptions from field diaries, and stratigraphic observations that show clear evidence of architectural remains, caves, niches and quarries, tombs, and both rock-cut and built installations in select and non-contiguous locales, as well as artifacts associated with the earliest periods found on the East Slope, dating from the Neolithic period through the Early Bronze Age. This report also offers limited documentation of human activity there in later periods. These are found primarily in documentation of vestiges of numerous constructions, many superimposed on late prehistoric remains, and in evidence of extensive quarrying activity in bedrock.

In addition to detailed descriptions of remains and finds from the early periods, the authors have analyzed and interpreted the significance of the archaeological record in light of modern scholarship, with special attention paid to results of more recent excavation reports on sites within the region. Discussions concern the chronology of East Slope deposits, chrono-cultural attributions and associations of ceramic, groundstone, and chipped stone artifacts as well as the significance of architectural, mortuary, and regional traditions. Those issues are synthesized in summaries that set forth their socio-chronological implications for understanding the late prehistory of the southern Levant.


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