Skeletons and traces of destruction found at ancient town

Excavations at Tel Gezer, central Israel, revealed three 3200-year-old human skeletons within a stratum that evidenced a fiery destruction.

Excavations at on of the skeletons (by Steven Ortiz, Tandy Institute for Archaeology-Tel Gezer Excavations)

One of the skeletons belonged to an adult, whose remains were badly decomposed and burned. It was lying with hands over the head. The bones of a child, whose remains were also burned and badly decomposed, were also found. Finally, the remains of yet a third individual, an adult, whose bones were significantly better preserved were discovered. This person, it appeared, was lying in a fetal-like position, as if to defend against the falling debris of surrounding collapsing walls, the stones and mud-brick of which still lay atop the skeleton when archaeologists encountered it. The physical circumstances of the remains clearly suggested that these were not intended burials. Directors of the excavations, Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology and Sam Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority believe the individuals were likely inhabitants of the city, likely Canaanite at this time, that fell in a conflagration during the onslaught of Egyptian armed forces under Pharaoh Merenptah, ancient Egypt’s fourth ruler during the Nineteenth Dynasty. Merenptah is known to have undertaken several major military campaigns, at least one of which took his army into what was ancient Canaan during the 13th century BC.

One of the found skeletons (by Steven Ortiz,Tandy Institute for Archaeology-Tel Gezer Excavations)

(after Popular Archaeology, Steven Ortiz, Tandy Institute for Archaeology-Tel Gezer Excavations)

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