Update and photos re: newly-discovered Lachish entrance(s)

This post has some clarifications on the entrance architecture uncovered at Tel Lachish this season. I described the entrances as “gates” but the excavators prefer a different term for one of them. Here is the text of a message I received from Yossi Garfinkel regarding these openings in the city wall.

Finally we completed the last points we needed to check before closing the season. Because of the fighting we were not permitted to take aerial photos of the site.

I read your blog and you can correct the information about the “gates” and their dating. Gate is a big word, and usually a gate has chambers on both sides. Currently we do not have indications of chambers, so we might have simple openings in the city wall rather than official gates.

The earlier one, already identified and published by Olga Tufnell as “blocked Iron Age,” is probably a Middle Bronze blocked gate. Next season I hope to excavate it and verify its plan.

The second opening in a city wall was found this season. It is dated to Level I (Persian) and Level II (586 BC destruction), so this opening is not “Early Iron Age” as you wrote.

To sum up, we have a newly-discovered Iron Age entrance that dates to the late-6th century BC and afterward. The “early” IA dating was a misunderstanding on my part. Another entrance below it has been preliminarily re-dated from the IA to the Middle Bronze Age. It was noted in the 1930’s but never excavated. Both entrances are located in the city wall on the NE corner of Tel Lachish, fully opposite from the known IA gate complex associated with Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar’s campaigns. The IA opening so far shows no evidence of gate chambers or related architecture. The IA and MB entrances are to be explored in the 2015 season and beyond.

This architecture is significant. There appears to be a significant gap (ca. 1000 years) in the dates of these two entrances. Perhaps we will find something in the next year or two that fills in the blank. Architecture from the earlier Iron Age, particularly Level 5, has been elusive so far and there is much debate about the habitation of Lachish between the 10th and 8th centuries BC. If the NE corner was an entrance to the city during and after the Middle Bronze period, we may find some answers in the near future.

Here are photos of these entrances.

The re-dated entrance at the end of the second excavation week of the 2014 season. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

The re-dated (Middle Bronze?) entrance at the end of the second excavation week of the 2014 season. The opening is blocked by collapsed stones. The line of the entrance runs down the center of the photo. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

 (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

The re-dated entrance after further cleaning. This blocked gate was first mentioned by Olga Tufnell from the First Lachish Expedition in the 1930’s. She classified it as a blocked Iron Age gate but the expedition never excavated further. Work in this area during the 2014 season has led Garfinkel to re-date it from the Iron Age (the biblical “Kingdom Period”) to the Middle Bronze Age (ca. the time of the biblical patriarchs). (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

 (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

The newly-discovered entrance that lies above the blocked Middle Bronze (?) gate. This entrance appears in a large wall but there is currently no indication of gate architecture. This is currently dated to Levels I and II in the Lachish strata. The 2015 excavation season should provide more information about this entrance and anything else around or just below it. (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

 (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

The newly-discovered Iron Age entrance at the end of the 2014 season. This is a ca. 3-meter opening in the wall on the edge of the NE slope, but appears to lack interior chambers. Excavators prefer to label this as an “entrance” rather than an official city gate. (Photo courtesy of the Fourth Tel Lachish Expedition)

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in 2014 Tel Lachish excavation, Ancient Architecture, General Archaeology, Israel, Lachish, New Discoveries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Update and photos re: newly-discovered Lachish entrance(s)

  1. jfjoyner3 says:

    Luke, your pictures have a really good quality. I have 25,000 pictures from my Israel trips using a Canon. Please share what camera you’re using. (Yossi wanted to use my pre-excavation picture of a gate at Lachish. I don’t know if he finally used but I sent it to him as he requested. Anyway, it does not have the same quality as yours.)

    • lukechandler says:

      I use a Canon EOS T3, typically on a non-flash setting. On occasion I use Close-up or Landscape settings, but nothing more technical than that. Glad the pictures seem to be turning out well enough!

  2. G.M. Grena says:

    At the upcoming annual meeting of ASOR, Daniel Perez of Southern Adventist University is scheduled to lecture on the aerial photography of Lachish (presumably conducted in 2013) as well as photogrammetry modeling software. Igor Kreimerman of Hebrew University, Jerusalem is scheduled to lecture on the northeast fortifications. The entire conference seems to be jam-packed with fascinating new information, & I encourage everyone who is able to travel to San Diego in November to attend!

  3. Any update on Tel Lachish?

    • LukeChandler says:

      We have identified the entrances but have not begun to excavate or open them yet. We were able to uncover and identify a thick fortification wall from the level we have been seeking but will need more time to investigate its relation, if any, to these entrances. The directors and staff will be making presentation on the newest results in a few weeks, so perhaps more can be learned there.

      Thanks for commenting, and please continue to check back!

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