Photo Essay: Philistine Ekron (Tel Miqne)
Seymour Gitin and David Ben-Shlomo
W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
Ekron, one of the five Philistine capital cities mentioned in the Bible, is located at the site of Tel Miqne (Khirbet el-Muqanna') on the northern border of the territory of Judah. The tell on the western edge of the inner Coastal Plain overlooks several trade routes connecting the coast with the hinterland. It encompasses ca. 20 hectares—the 4-hectare upper city on the Northeast Acropolis and the 16-hectare lower city—representing one of the largest Iron Age sites in Israel. Although W.F. Albright identified the site with biblical Eltekeh in the territory of Dan in 1924, the site was subsequently identified as biblical Ekron based on the observations of N. Aidlin of neighboring Kibbutz Revadim and an extensive survey conducted in 1957 by J. Naveh of the Israel Department of Antiquities. This identification has been borne out by the excavation results and confirmed by the Ekron Royal Dedicatory Inscription found in the 1996 season.
Tel Miqne-Ekron was excavated for fourteen seasons during the years 1981–1996 as a joint American-Israeli project headed by Trude Dothan of the Hebrew University and Seymour Gitin of the Albright Institute (Fig. 1). Ceramic evidence indicates a presence on the tell from the Chalcolithic period through the Middle Bronze Age (the end of the fourth millennium through the first half of the 16th century BCE). Evidence of MB IIB occupation from Stratum XI of the 17th/16th centuries included disparate architectural remains in the upper city, three infant jar burials, and sections of a glacis/rampart in the lower city, the last indicating that Ekron was a large fortified site in this period. Extensive architectural and material culture remains demonstrate that Ekron was occupied from the Late Bronze Age through the Iron Age (the second half of the 16th through the first quarter of the 6th century BCE).