Institute of Biblical Archaeology

Iron Age

Excavation area III
Excavation area III yielded domestic architecture of the Iron Age. By the end of the third campaign (2003), several Iron Age rooms had been completely exposed giving evidence of a continuous occupational development; so far, it may be subdivided in three main phases:

Excavation of the various Iron Age building phases in area III has brought to light numerous small finds, especially metal objects and pottery sherds. The finds and their functions suggest that the older rectangular house as well as the two-room-house were dwelling-houses. So far, the evaluation of the ceramics shows a typological range dating the Iron Age occupation of excavation area III from the end of the 8th century B.C. to the middle of the 4th century B.C.

With these findings, the excavations in Tell el-Burak have brought forth the first complete ground plans of Phoenician dwelling-houses in southern Lebanon.

Excavation areas II and IV
Also excavation area II contains Iron Age remains. In 2001 already, the excavations came upon a fortification wall at the foot of a step-trench on the south slope of the tell. Thus, Tell el-Burak offers the first opportunity for an archaeological investigation of Phoenician fortifications from southern Lebanon. After work in excavation area II ended in 2003, the stratigraphy of the fortification wall can be subdivided in the following way:

According to the ceramics, those four phases cover the period from the end of the 8th century B.C. to the middle of the 4th century B.C., thus corresponding to the length of occupation in excavation area III.

In the fourth campaign (2005) the last two phases of the fortification wall (collapse and use after collapse) were also shown up in the upper layers of excavation area IV. At the southern end of excavation area IV a wall was exposed that runs in front of and parallel to the fortification wall at a distance of ca. 25 m. The geophysical prospection there shows the wall over a length of ca. 60 m. Its orientation and the vast majority of the pottery sherds suggest a dating towards the end of the Iron Age (ca. 5th to mid-4th c. B.C.). But a safe date can only result from the final analysis of the ceramics and from further investigations around the step-trench.