The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Iron IIA Benyaw Inscription and its Implications for Understanding Abel Beth Maacah in Its Regional–Historical Context

A short Hebrew inscription, with the name Benyaw, inked on a jar in a storeroom containing over 30 such jars dating to the late Iron Age IIA (9th century BCE), was discovered at Tel Abel Beth Maacah. This epigraphic find prompted an investigation of the geopolitical association of this major urban center during various stages of the Iron Age IIA, in light of the location of Tel Abel Beth Maacah on the border between the Israelite, Phoenician and Aramean entities. This lecture will present the main finds from the rich Iron Age IIA occupation sequence at the site and discuss them against the background of the ongoing debate concerning the northern border of the Israelite kingdom and the political and ethnic identity of the region’s inhabitants, vis a vis other major sites in the region, including Dan and Hazor, taking into account aspects of chronology based on radiocarbon dating data and stratigraphy.