Gibeon (ancient city)
The remains of Gibeon are located on the south edge of the Palestinian village of
The earliest known mention of Gibeon in an extra-biblical source is in a list of cities on the wall of the Amum temple at
The 10th-century lexicographer,
Gibeon was founded in the Early Bronze Age, for the excavators discovered 14 EB storage jars beneath the foundations of the Iron Age wall. Other EB remains were discovered at the top of the tel but the stratigraphy had been destroyed by British gunfire during the First World War. It is probable that there was a defensive wall, but this has not yet been found. Tombs cut into the rock on the east site of the hill contained EB jars and bowls, formed first by hand and then finished on a slow wheel. The Early Bronze city was destroyed by fire, but no date has been determined for this destruction.
The Middle Bronze Age is known from shaft tombs on the west of the city: 26 MBI tombs have been found but the crudeness of the pottery they contain indicate that the people may have been nomads camping on an unfortified site. The remains are similar to those found elsewhere at Jericho, Lachish and Megiddo. In MBII, however, a substantial city with finely made pottery was found. 29 MBII tombs have been found, apparently containing multiple burials (as opposed to the single burials of the MBI tombs).
Only seven tombs are known from the Late Bronze period, but they nevertheless point to a degree of sophistication, as they contained imported Cypriote ware and local potters attempted to copy Mycenaean and Cypriote pottery. It would appear that some, at least, of these tombs had been cut during earlier periods and were being reused.
During the early
In the 8th and 7th century BCE there was a considerable wine industry there; cellars with room for 95,000 liters of wine have been found. Impressive among these finds are sixty-three wine cellars from the 8th to 7th century BC. Hebrew inscriptions of גבען (GBʻN) on the handles of wine storage jars, most of which were excavated from a large pool matching the biblical description, made the identification of Gibeon secure and a landmark product of
Gibeon was possibly a dependency of Jerusalem, and was probably not fortified at the time.
In a 2017 paper,