Archaeologists excavating traces of an ancient city in Israel have found traces of an even older human civilization on the same site.
While carefully digging the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer, the archaeologists reported they found a beetle or scarab amulet with a marking of King Tutankhamen's grandfather, King Amenhotep III, and broken pieces of Philistine pottery. While Gezer shows relics dating back to tenth to eighth century BC, the new findings can be traced to the 14th century BC.
"It's always changed hands throughout history," said Steven Ortiz, a biblical expert from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, and co-director of the excavation, in an interview. Ortiz discovered the remnants of the older city with a colleague from Israel Antiquities Authority, Samuel Wolff.
The location has been an important spot during the ancient times for traders heading to Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, or Syria. The city has a long history and rulers changed throughout its history. It was given to King Solomon when he married a daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh based on tenth century Biblical accounts. The city eventually lost its importance when the said trade route was moved during the rule of the Romans. The site was conquered, destroyed, and was never rebuilt completely, according to the experts.
"It's not surprising that a city that was of importance in the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah would have an older history and would have played an important political and military role prior to that time. If you didn't control Gezer, you didn't control the east-west trade route," opined Andrew Vaughn, a biblical scholar, who was not involved in the study.
Gezer has been studied by archaeologists for about a hundred years. The site is also the location of the oldest water tunnels that were built underground to protect the water supply during times of war when enemies might use it to poison the population and eventually weaken the defense.