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the vast mound is entirely man-made, containing the remains of 29 separate cities built one on top of the other by a succession of civilizations from 3,000 to 300 B.C.
Now Finkelstein, together with Tel Aviv University physicist Eli Piazetsky, is spearheading an international effort to settle the chronology once and for all. A scientific conference at Megiddo, "Synchronizing Clocks at Armageddon," launched a project to analyze 10 separate Iron Age destruction layers using four state-of-the-art scientific techniques: radiocarbon dating, optical luminescence, archaeo-magnetism and rehydroxilation -- a new method pioneered in Britain within the last two years.
Megiddo is the only place in the world with so many destruction layers -- archaeological strata resulting from a calamity such as a fire, earthquake or conquest -- that resulted from a specific event in history.
Finkelstein told AOL News that the site provides "a very dense, accurate and reliable ladder for the dating of the different monuments and the layers."
"These destruction layers can serve as anchors for the entire system of dating," Finkelstein said. "Megiddo is the only site which has 10 layers with radiocarbon results for the period 1300 to 800 B.C.E."
Megiddo is the only site in the Levant mentioned in all great records of the Ancient Near East: the Old and New Testaments on the one hand, and Egyptian, Assyrian and Hittite sources on the other.
Megiddo guards the most important highway of the ancient world, the Via Maris that connected Egypt with Mesopotamia.
Via Maris is the modern name for an ancient trade route, dating from the early Bronze Age, linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia — modern day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
The Via Maris (purple), King's Highway (red), and other ancient Levantine trade routes, c. 1300 BCE
Jezreel Valley with Via Maris in background
Its earlier name was "Way of the Philistines", a reference to a passageway through the Philistine Plain (which today consists of Israel's southern coastal plain and the Gaza Strip). From the Philistine Plain, the Way continues north through the Sharon. At Dor (near modern Hadera) the Way branches into two Ways — one continuing along the Mediterranean coast, and the other following an inland route through Megiddo, the Jezreel Valley, the Sea of Galilee and Dan.
"Via Maris" is Latin and means "the Way of the Sea". The name is based on a passage from the Vulgate (the New Testament in Latin translation), Matthew 4:15:
terra Zabulon et terra Nephthalim via maris trans Iordanen Galilaeae gentium
(the land of Zebulon, and the land of Naftali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles).
That verse paraphrases Isaiah 9:1 (or 8:23):
In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.
Some consider the name Via Maris a misnomer and instead prefer to call this route the Great Trunk Road.
Together with the King's Highway, the Via Maris was one of the major routes connecting Egypt and the Levant with Anatolia and Mesopotamia. The Via Maris was crossed by other trading routes, so that one could travel from Africa to Europe or from Asia to Africa. It began in al-Qantara and went east to Pelusium, following the northern coast of Sinai through el-Arish and Rafah. From there it followed the coast of Canaan through Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Joppa, and Dor before turning east again through Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley until it reached Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. Again turning northward along the shore, the Via Maris passed through Migdal, Capernaum, and Hazor. From Hazor it crossed the northern River Jordan at Jacob's Ford then climbed sharply over the Golan Heights and wound its way northeast into Damascus. Here travellers could continue on the King's Highway as far as the Euphrates River or proceed northward into Anatolia.
Originally posted by ladyinwaiting
Bump. Excellent topic. I want to do some more reading before I come back and comment.