By: Amnon Ben-Tor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Edited and abridged from NEA 76.2 (2013): 66–67 (see editorial note below)
Tel Hazor, “the head of all those kingdoms” (Joshua 11:10), is the largest tell in Israel and encompasses a total of approximately 800 dunams (200 acres). With the exception of two gaps in the settlement, one at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age and the other following the destruction of the Canaanite city during the transition between the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, Hazor was continuously occupied for approximately two millennia, from the first half of the third millennium BCE to the late eighth century BCE.
Following the Assyrian conquest of Hazor in the year 732 BCE along with several other important sites in the region (as referenced in 2 Kgs 15:29), a period of decline set in until the site was finally deserted. A short-lived Israelite (?) settlement (Stratum IV) was established on top of the ruins of the fortified Israelite city. Poor traces of occupation attributable to the Assyrian, Persian, Hellenistic, and Islamic periods (Strata III–0, respectively) were noted at different locations on Hazor’s acropolis.