Abstract: The Great Temple of Armageddon: New Discoveries at Early Bronze Age Megiddo, Israel
Centuries before the pyramids of Egypt arose along the Nile, the inhabitants of Megiddo (biblical “Armageddon”) in the Jezreel Valley, Israel, organized themselves into a massive city and began construction on a monumental home for their revered god. This Great Temple would be one of the most ambitious construction projects in the Levant, rivaling the sizes of temples in contemporary Mesopotamia and Egypt. This extraordinary 5,000-year-old temple has now been revealed through 14 years of excavation by the Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition. This lecture chronicles the discovery of the Great Temple and provides a detailed archaeological study of the building from its sanctuary containing beautifully carved basalt tables to its curious corridors stacked high with the bone refuse from animal sacrifices. Beyond its size, the Great Temple is spectacular in its skillful construction and its specialized design elements, both of which illuminate the social-political complexity of its builders and certain features of their cult. Who built this massive temple, and what does it say about humanity’s earliest experiments in cities and states?