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Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP
Virtual Karak Resources Project - VKRP

Joel Drinkard

Click for a larger imageIron II Gates. The Iron Age gates are the primary subject of this article. In general archaeologists have found in the Iron Age 2-chamber, 4-chamber, and 6-chamber gates. And no specific pattern seems to be evident in the number of chambers in these gate complexes. In the eleventh and early 10th centuries, 2-chamber gates were prevalent, though a couple 4-chamber gates appeared at the end of the eleventh or beginning of the tenth centuries. During the mid-10th century B.C., a number of 6-chamber gates appeared. These gates have been found at Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, and Lachish, and were associated especially by Yigael Yadin with Solomonic building projects. Yadin related this pattern to the Old Testament text that mentions specifically Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer as administrative centers (or chariot cities) built and/or rebuilt by Solomon. More recent interpreters have debated the Solomonic date for these structures. Click for a larger imageHowever the recent work of Amnon Ben-Tor at Hazor seems to reaffirm the 10th century date for the 6-chamber gate there. Several of these 6-chamber gates were found associated with casemate walls for the defenses.

Click for a larger imageFour chamber gates replaced these six-chamber gates at most sites in Israel and Syria/Palestine in the 9th century B.C. Such four chamber gates remained the most prevalent form of gate structure during the Iron II period, 9th through 6th centuries B.C. Several features may have been responsible for the change in design. Formerly it was argued that the resurgence of Assyrian and Egyptian power in the region and the development of a more effective battering ram by the Assyrians was a partial explanation of a need for stronger defensive measures. However, the continued presence of 2-, 4-, and 6-chamber gates throughout the Iron Age; and the presence of casemate walls, filled casemates, massive walls, and offset-inset walls; as well as both presence and absence of ramparts or glacis outside the walls probably indicates that local topography and defensive needs were more important than any particular developmental scheme in town defenses. The architect’s preference may have been a primary factor in gate design.

Also during the Iron Age, inner and outer gate structures appeared at a number of sites; again these double gate structures may well have been intended to strengthen defenses. Assaulting an outer gate structure would not give access into the city proper; it would only lead through a narrow passage (where an invading army would be under continual assault by defenders on the walls above) to an inner gate structure, likewise well-defended. Sites with inner and outer gate structures include Tel Dan, Megiddo, Lachish.

 

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