3,000-Year Old Jewelry Discovered at Tel Megiddo
Jewelry finding points to strong Egyptian influence
When TAU researchers unearthed a ceramic jug two years ago at the TAU-led archeological excavations in Tel Megiddo, the biblical site of Armageddon, they couldn't have guessed that the humble vessel held gold and silver treasure. But apparently someone hid their jewelry back in the 11th century BCE, just after the end of Egyptian rule in Canaan, never to retrieve it. Among the jewels is a unique gold earring with a goat pattern that "has no parallel" among archeological finds, says Prof. Israel Finkelstein, a Dan David Prize laureate and the co-director of the Tel Megiddo digs along with Professor emeritus David Ussishkin, both of the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, and associate director Prof. Eric Cline of George Washington University, USA.
The researchers believe that the collection, which was discovered in the remains of a private home in the northern part of Megiddo, belongs to a time period called "Iron I," and that at least some of the pieces could have originated in nearby Egypt. Some of the materials and designs featured in the jewelry, including beads made from carnelian stone, are consistent with Egyptian designs from the same period, notes Eran Arie, a former TAU student, who supervises the area where the hoard was found. Such a connection would not be surprising, say the researchers, since interactions between Egypt and Megiddo are known to have taken place during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
The researchers hope that analysis of both the textiles in which the jewelry was wrapped and the jewelry itself will tell them more about the origins of the collection. If the gold is pure rather than a mixture of gold and silver, for example, the metal most likely will have come form Egypt itself, a region that was poor in silver resources but rich in gold.
Pictured: The goat-patterned ring of mysterious origin, and carnelian beads that clearly point to Egyptian cultural influence