Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Egyptian Fortress in Jaffa

Fascinating article:

Situated on the central coast of Israel, on the south side of Tel Aviv, and 60 km to the northwest of Jerusalem, Jaffa’s antiquity and importance as a Mediterranean port was well established before the resumption of excavations in 2008 by the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project. While the biblical texts have served as a primary historical referent, Jaffa’s importance in other periods is much more clearly understood in classical sources including Josephus, but also even from Egyptian New Kingdom literature and administrative documents. Following excavations during the 1950s of the archaeological remains of an Egyptian fortress in Jaffa, a fortress that existed for most of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1460 to 1130 BC), seeking to understand Jaffa’s role in the Egyptian New Kingdom imperial control of Canaan became of paramount importance...

(At the) Battle of Megiddo (ca. 1456 BC)... the pharaoh Thutmose III fell upon the Asiatic coalition, which was led by the king of Kadesh on the Orontes. In the wake of the pharaoh's victory numerous towns were listed as subjugated, their troops likely among the defeated coalition at Megiddo. Among these towns, and the most southern settlement listed, was the coastal city of Jaffa, known to have been inhabited since the Middle Bronze Age, from at least ca. 1800 BC.

While little outside of the listing of Jaffa can shed light on the historical circumstances surrounding its conversion from Canaanite town to Egyptian stronghold, new archaeological data combined with well-known historical texts of the Late Bronze Age are now shedding light on the nature of interactions between the Canaanite inhabitants of Jaffa and its environs and the Egyptian inhabitants of the New Kingdom fortress built atop the city’s earlier remains. The resulting picture is one colored by episodes of violence and peaceful social interactions in Jaffa over a period of more than 300 years, from ca. 1460 to 1130 BC...

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