Traces of a Canaanite revolt against Egyptians revealed in Jaffa

Archaeologists researching the site in Jaffa, Israel, revealed signs of a sudden fiery destruction of the site that happened 3100 years ago. Experts believe that this attests to a previously unknown Canaanites against their Egyptian overlords.

Burnt structure unearthed at the site (by Haaretz)
Burnt structure unearthed at the site (by Haaretz)

Excavations at the site of the fortified Ramesses Gate at Jaffa, dating to between 1460 BC – 1125 BC, revealed remains of a fortress from the Egyptian rulers of the area of the pharaonic New Kingdom period. The researchers also discovered bent arrowheads and a massive destruction layer of burned mud-bricks under the collapsed tower at the Ramesses Gate. Archaeologists from the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project of the Tel Aviv University and from the University of California believe that these finds prove evidence to Canaanites opposing Egyptian rule in Jaffa.

Metal arrowheads found at the site (by Haaretz)
Metal arrowheads found at the site (by Haaretz)

Archaeologists also discovered over 50 ceramic vessels  from a layer of destruction debris measuring 2-metres in thickness. Some of the vessels evidently fell from the towers of the gate into the debris area. Experts suspect that the Canaanites lit the ceiling of the gate complex on fire, and it collapsed. The blaze was so intense that the bricks facing the passageway that belonged to the 6-meter wide mud-brick towers were baked to a depth of as much as one meter.

Among the finds in Jaffa are Canaanite and Egyptian storage jars, Cypriot pithoi, scarabs, arrowheads, lead weights, around 800 beads, and kilos of carbonized seed including chickpeas, lentils, wheat, barley, grapes, and olives.

Digital reconstruction of the gate complex (by Haaretz)
Digital reconstruction of the gate complex (by Haaretz)

Ancient Jaffa, which the Egyptians called “Yapu,” was of key strategic importance to the rulers of the Levantine coast, providing port on the way from Egypt to Mount Carmel (Haifa today). Egyptian records describe local Canaanite uprisings elsewhere, there is no record of any rebellion in Jaffa. The Egyptian rule in Jaffa lasted from the mid-15th century BC to the late 12th century BC, when  the Canaanites managed to  expel their overlords.

(after Haaretz)

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