The ancient site of Megiddo in northern Israel has been the study of researchers for over a century, and yet apparently it can still offer up something new, this time in the form of a 3,600-year-old tomb that possibly holds the remains of ancient royals.
An archaeologist’s dream, Megiddo, now known as Tell el-Mutesellim, was once a Bronze Age city-state of the Canaanite people, a royal city of the Kingdom of Israel during the Iron Age, and most famously known under its Greek name, Armageddon. Yes, that Armageddon. The biblical city where the battle to end all battles would be waged.
In the last 100 years, researchers have uncovered temples, palaces, and city walls that date back from 3300 to 586 BCE. Now, they have found a tomb untouched for 3,600 years that they think belonged to an elite or even Royal family as it holds human remains and some seriously fancy artifacts, reports National Geographic.
The burial chamber was found next to the royal palace (first discovered in the 1930s) via an underground passage that researchers hadn’t initially realized was there. It was only when they noticed dirt falling through some cracks on the surface of the excavation site that they investigated what lay beneath.
In the tomb they found the remains of what they think is a family; a man aged between 40 and 60, a woman in her 30s, and a child, thought to be around 8 or 10 years old when they died. All were adorned with gold and silver jewelry – rings, bracelets, brooches, and pins. The man was buried wearing an impressive gold torque and diadem. Other artifacts found in the tomb included carved ivories, ceramic pots from Cyprus, and stone jars thought to come from Egypt. These were obviously people of wealth.
“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because the burial is located in proximity to the royal palace,” Israel Finkelstein, one of the archaeologists who has been working on the site since the early 1990s, told Philippe Bohström for National Geographic.
Other bodies were found in the tomb, revealing what the archaeologists call a two-phase of ritual activity. The older six individuals were apparently pushed back to make way for the newer, richer three.
Now the researchers are planning to study the DNA of the “royals” and compare it with other remains found at Megiddo to see if the origins of the city’s ruling class were the same as its residents'.
“These studies have the potential to revolutionize what we know about the population of Canaan before the rise of the world of the Bible,” Finkelstein said.
[H/T: National Geographic]