Biblical references: Megiddo did not fall to Joshua, although its king was defeated (Josh. 12:21; cf. Josh. 17:11–13; Judg. 1:27–28). Solomon built the city (I Kings 9:15) and included it in his fifth district (I Kings 4:12).

Material remains: identified as Tel al-Mutassalim, 22 miles SE of Haifa. Excavated in 1903-05 by G Schumacher, in 1925-39 by IOC. Y. Yadin did a bit on the surroundings in 1960, and in 1992 I. Finkelstein and D. Ussishkin excavated. The Tell has more than 20 levels, dating all the way back to Neolithic and Chalcolitihic periods.


In short:

- major Israelite city

- only one level (Stratum IVA) during Divided Monarchy

- surrounded by massive 3-m wide wall (offset/inset wall)

- built as important royal center (probably under Ahab)

- large area devoted to pillared public buildings (possibly royal stables)

- underground shaft and tunnel supplied water

- elaborate palaces (including building 338) on eastern part of city

-        - had two palaces during Solomonic period similar to Jerusalem palace. (Yigael Yadin related the Iron Age gate + two palaces to biblical testimony of the building activities of King Solomon. Others: Megiddo gate to the 9th or 8th BC + two palaces to the 9th century. I.e. associated with the Northern Kingdom of Israel).

(Palace 6000 & 1723 – built in bit hilani design)

- ashlar masonry prominent feature of royal architecture

History and archaeology

The Battle at Megiddo between a confederation of Canaanite kings who challenged

Egyptian authority under Thutmose III (1480-1425 BCE); the Canaanites were defeated at fled

into the city of Megiddo; a 7 month siege ensues and Megiddo falls; the Egyptian victory brings

about a further Egyptian push in the Asia, i.e., Syria.

The Israelite city perished in 732 B.C.E. with the conquest of Tiglath Pileser III.

-        Stratum II probably dates to the second half of the seventh century B.C.E. King Josiah of Judah was killed by Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo. To this event can be attributed the association of war with the Megiddo Valley in Zechariah 12:11 and with Armageddon in Revelation 16:16.

-        The Middle Bronze Age: strong system of earthworks . The great "Migdal" temple in the cultic compound may also date to this period. Statue of Egyptian official Thuthotep; some scholars think an Egyptian governor resided there at that time.

-        Circa 1469 B.C.E. Pharaoh Thutmosis III overcame a coalition of Canaanite city-states and captured the city after a siege of seven months. From then until Stratum VII the city remained under Egyptian sovereignty.

-        Late Bronze Age: erection of an elaborate palace + continuity in the "Migdal" temple. Ivories found in the palace reveals Egyptian, Hittite, Aegean, and local cultural influences. Fragment of Gilgamesh epic found on cuneiform tablet. Also; inscriptions from days of Ramses III and IV meaning; that the city was not destroyed before 2nd half of 12th century BC. Destoyed by fire.

-        Stratum VI (late 11th and early 10th centuries B.C.E.); many features similar to previous city. Also destroyed in a great fire.

-        The next city at Megiddo was largely occupied by two units of five rectangular stables and one unit of two stables, with feeding troughs between pillars and a supposed capacity of 450 horses. Yadin attributes these stables to the time of King Ahab, who rallied 2,000 chariots against Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Karkar. Other scholars date them to the days of Jeroboam II, in the first half of the eighth century. A rock-cut water installation, probably built in the days of this city, consists of a shaft 81 ft. (25 m.) deep, with stairs leading to a horizontal tunnel 224 ft. (70 m.) long and to a spring in the slope of the hill, which was thus connected with the city inside the walls.

-     Stratum III: The Assyrian king made Megiddo the capital of a province, which included Galilee and the Jezreel Valley.

-        Last settlement was a small city of the Persian period


Megiddo 10-9th century
Plan of Megiddo in the time of Solomon and Ahab (tenth-ninth century B.C.E.). Based on Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land, Jerusalem, 1970.  

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