Beneath these Iron Age walls at Gezer lies a recently discovered Late Bronze Age city that had been destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Samuel Wolff.
Archaeologists excavating the famous ancient city of Gezer in Israel discovered a new occupation layer constituting a previously unknown Late Bronze Age city at the site. During the summer 2013 excavation season, the Tel Gezer team, led by codirectors Dr. Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority, found pottery vessels, a cache of cylinder seals and an Egyptian scarab with a cartouche of Amenhotep III. The finds demonstrate that the residents of this 14th-century B.C.E. city were Canaanites with strong ties with Egypt. During the Late Bronze Age, Gezer and other cities in the southern Levant were under the reign of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Hebrew University professor Tallay Ornan told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Gezer’s destruction by conflagration in the Late Bronze Age “either represents an Egyptian campaign to subdue Gezer, or local Canaanites attacking an Egyptian stronghold at Gezer.”