Secrets Of Gezer -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:4 (Autumn 1972)
Article: Secrets Of Gezer
Author: Anonymous

Secrets Of Gezer

In June of 1972 a discovery from Gezer was displayed at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. The finds came from a burial cave dating to 1450-1400 B.C., around the period of the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Gezer is being excavated by the Hebrew Union College under the direction of Dr. Joe D. Seger.

The people of the grave were tall and robust, according to a physical anthropologist who examined the bones. Many of them had contracted a disease of the lower lumbar region — arthritis of the bones — perhaps an occupational hazard of farmers who work in a stooping position, according to Dr. Seger. The 93 skeletons found are believed to belong to an extended family group, over three or four generations. Thirty-five percent of the remains were of children under the age of 12. The oldest individual was 40 and the average age of the adults at death was 27.

They took with them to the next world their bronze weapons, cooking utensils, household pottery and food. Remains of sheep and fish bones were found in some of the bowls. Some women’s pins were still in place on their skulls. A group of arrowheads were found still in a cluster, the quiver having long since disintegrated.

Adapted as a burial chamber from an earlier cistern cut 26 feet into bedrock, the cave was found at the southern end of the mound. Burials were placed on a shelf and earlier remains pushed back to the sides to make room for them. Only one sarcophagus (stone casket) was found.

These remains represent a comparatively brief moment in Gezer’s 3,500 year history. The strategic location and abundant water supply made it an important site in antiquity. The Bible depicts Gezer as a border site contested between the Israelites and the Philistines, and it was one of the cities which Solomon fortified, together with Hazor and Megiddo.


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