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Grabungskampagne 2009

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Kamid el-Loz 2009

 

11th season

 

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Vorderasiatische Altertumskunde
Near Eastern Archaeology

Director: Prof. Dr. M.Heinz

Trench supervisors

Catanzariti, Antonietta - University of Berkeley, California
Heinz, Anne-Sophie - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Jungfleisch, Johannes - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Kirsch, Elisabeth, M.A. - freelance archaeologist - Berlin
Linke, Julia, M.A. - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Miche, Marius - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Müller, Jan, M.A. - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Wagner, Elisabeth, M.A. - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Walther, Alexandra - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Weber, Martin - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
 

Pottery specialists

Yahya, Hassan, Licence - Lebanese University, Beirut
Walther, Alexandra - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Heinz, Anne-Sophie - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Grudnio, Theresia - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
 

Photographer

Krug, Christian - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
 

Draftspersons

Güth, Juliane - Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg
Leicht, Michael, freelance graphic-designer - Freiburg

 

Preface

Every year we are glad to be back in Lebanon and so it is in 2009. And our first thank-you will be addressed to Dr. Frederic Husseini, General Director of the National Department of Antiquities for supporting us once again and encouraging us to come. We thank the mayor of Kamid el-Loz, Ali Safiyeh, who made us feel welcome in Kamid el-Loz - as did our neighbours and our colleagues from the village. I like to give my special thanks to Ali Safiyeh for helping the excavation 2009 with a sponsorship. Dr. Assad Saif helped with his general advice and our colleague Raffi Gergian helped us throughout the season. We owe all the named our gratitude. In Beirut Dr. Suzy Hakimien and Prof. Dr. Helen Sader took care of us and strengthened our feeling of being at home in Lebanon.
For all the support we got we would like to thank our friends and colleagues in Beirut and Kamid el-Loz.

Often said but never felt to be a routine: Most important for the director of the excavation is the thought and the remembrance that an excavation is only as good as its team - my sincere thanks again to the workmen and friends of Kamid el-Loz as well as to the colleagues who took part in the 2009 excavation: Hassan Yahya, Martin Weber, Alexandra Walther, Elisabeth Wagner, Jan Müller, Marius Miche, Julia Linke, Michael Leicht, Johannes Jungfleisch, Christian Krug, Anne-Sophie Heinz, Theresia Grudnio, Juliane Güth, Antonietta Cantazariti. As a guest researcher but at the same time as a full team member is to be named Hanna Hamel.

For financial support we would like to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Bonn; for help and support in Lebanon I thank very much Hans-Helge Sander, German Embassy, Beirut and we wish him all the best for his new job in Berlin!
 

A tragic accident led to the death of our Lebanese friend and colleague Akram Anʿa from Kamid el-Loz. We miss him and we mourn for him with his family.


Kamid el-Loz, 2009

 

I. Short Overview of the History of the Site

As far as known up to date the earliest history of the settlement Kamid el-Loz starts during the Early Bronze Age. The most recent known settlement dates back into Roman and even into Byzantine times.

 

1. The Early Bronze Age

Pottery fragments found in the stratigraphical sondages of the temple and palace area in 2002 and 2009 show that an Early Bronze Age settlement existed in Kamid el-Loz. No architectural evidence has so far been excavated.

 

2. The Middle Bronze Age

The first architectural evidence of a Middle Bronze Age settlement stems from a temple-building and from living houses on the northwestern part of the site as well as from a fortification located in the northern part of the tell, excavated by the team of the University of Saarbrücken.

According to the most recent results of the Freiburg investigations in Kamid el-Loz (2007, 2008) the settlement around the temple, at the moment being best known in its Late Bronze Age structures, did have a predecessor-settlement during the Middle Bronze Age. During the MBA in Kamid el-Loz the tradition was known to bury the dead underneath the houses of the living as well as using abandoned settlement areas as burial grounds. A massive Middle Bronze Age palace building, the predecessor of the Late Bronze Age palace, has been exposed during the seasons 2007, 2008 and 2009 (see below - The Palace Area 2009). Although the settlement layout of the Middle Bronze Age Kamid el-Loz cannot yet be reconstructed in detail, we might suggest the following: temple and palace of the Middle Bronze Age do refer to an urban status and function of Kamid el-Loz since the first half of the second millennium B.C. This function, among other criteria, might have been the Egyptian's reason for having taken over the political control in Kumidi in later times (during the LBA-period).

 

3. The Late Bronze Age

Up to our present knowledge Kamid el-Loz, then called Kumidi, had probably been a major city in the southern-Beqa'a during the Late Bronze Age. A fortification, a temple and a palace, a workshop area and graves as well as two living areas, excavated since 2002 in the temple area and in a larger scale since 2008 and during 2009 on the east-slope form (up to date) the main architectural structures of the site (see below - The temple area and the excavation on the east-slope). The palace occupied the most prominent spot on the site and probably served as a widely seen landmark - following and keeping the tradition of MBA predecessor building. The city had been surrounded by a massive wall, detected in the northern part of the site, proving that protections as well as a separation between inside and outside the city were needed. It has to be taken into consideration that perhaps segregation between "we" - living in the city as an urban community and "them" living outside strengthened the identity of the people of Kumidi. From Mesopotamia it is known that a city-wall had been the symbol for a political independent urban community. Whether this is true for the ancient cities of Lebanon is not yet known.
The temple, located north of the palace, had been neighboured by a western settlement divided (up to date known) by two narrow alleys running parallel to each other and running from the north-east to the south-west (see below - The temple area). Both split the settlement in three areas: one row of houses stretched north of the northern alley, another row of houses has been located between both alleys and, as will future excavation show, another row of houses should probably be located south of the southern lane, now bordering the middle row of houses. Since our excavations in 2009 it is known that the southern part of this settlement showed at least three settlement levels. Further evidence for the extension of the Late Bronze Age city occurred most notably since 2007, 2008 and during the season 2009 at the east-slope. Thus, we are exposing (since 2007) living houses of Late Bronze Age date (see below - The east-slope) which differ from the style of houses and the building technique used in the temple area. A layer of further two meters of solid Late Bronze Age evidence is waiting here for further explorations.
Although the general layout of the city is still unknown, we are - since the season 2007 - able to point out the dimensions of the Late Bronze Age settlement, which at least extended from the east-slope to the western palace region. Furthermore, some hints concerning the function of Kumidi are available. As texts from Egypt and Kumidi show, the city had been occupied by the Egyptians during the 2nd half of the 2nd millennium B.C. used as the seat of the Egyptian administration in the Beqa'a, Egypt then being the dominant power in the region. Kumidi had been ruled by a local king, named Arahattu, who probably fell in disgrace when the Egyptians took over the political power on the spot. The texts from the Egyptian Amarna-archive suggest that this king had been substituted by the Egyptian high officer and administrator Puhurru who took over the political business in Kumidi at the time of the reign of Akhenaten.
When the Egyptian power diminished and major political changes took place in the area, the architectural order and the function ofKumidi changed. The temple and the palace had been given up and with this loss the loss of the urban status of Kumidi seems to parallel. Nevertheless settlement activities continued and the settlement survived the big upheaval of the time.

 

4. The Iron Age

Research concerning the kind of settlement, the functions and the importance of Kumidi during the Iron Age has been undertaken. During the Iron-Age I period Kamid el-Loz has been a - probably fortified - large settlement, extending from the east-slope to the so called "Kuppe" and further to the south-west next to the Late-Bronze-Age palace. Especially during the 2007 and 2008 seasons we were able to gain more detailed information about the Iron Age activities in Kamid el-Loz and to establish a first insight into the stratigraphically proofed chronology of the Iron Age I/II and III events.
Iron-Age I settlement activities have been excavated on the east-slope in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. House 1 has been reshaped several times during the Iron Age I period and was partly re-used during the transition period from Iron Age I / II. After Iron Age II the slope had been given up for settlement activities and instead being used as a cemetery during the time of the Persian (=Iron Age III) dominance of the Levant and of the area of nowadays Lebanon. The east-slope served as a burial ground until the Hellenistic period and was only used again to establish a settlement in Roman times. And still during the Roman period, and most probably even later on, it has been used as a cemetery. At least during the Iron Age III period a shift of the settlement away from the east-slope and to the former palace area had become necessary. Several pits in this area (III-a-13) contained clear pottery evidence for Iron Age III activities.

 

5. The Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine occupation

From the results of the excavations of the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg in 1997 and 1999-2005 it is further known that tell Kamid el-Loz has been used as a settlement site in the Hellenistic / early Roman period and even in later times. Since 1997, working concentrated inter alia on the so called "Kuppe" (hilltop) region, where a house (living area, handicraft) and the so called "glacis" have been exposed. 2000 the excavation was enlarged, trenches were opened in the east and a second building of the Hellenistic / early Roman period were discovered. Ever since 2001 and 2002 the excavation exposed further architectural proof of the Roman settlement with house II. House IV (2002) meanwhile proved that a proper Hellenistic settlement had been established in Kamid el-Loz, house V, excavated since 2004 in the immediate neighbourhood of house IV as well as of the Late Bronze Age palace reconfirms the existence of the Hellenistic settlement and provides further information on activities in the settlement as well as on the settlement layout. When the inhabitants of the Roman settlement moved to another spot, the former living-areas were transformed into a cemetery. According to the pottery and glass finds, the settlements on the "Kuppe" as well as on the eastern slope and the area south-west of the palace (season 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005) have probably been used from the third century B.C until the first century A.D. without any hiatus. The fact that the site has been settled during Hellenistic and early Roman times gives a new insight into the history of Kamid el-Loz, compared to the results of the excavations done by the University of Saarbrücken.

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II. Working Period

The archaeological team arrived in Lebanon on Sunday, July 12th 2009. The season ended on August 25th. 2009.

 

III. Areas of Archaeological Investigations 2009

 

1. The east-slope 

    (plate 1)

 

Aims and interests

The Late Bronze Age settlement disposed of two living areas that existed beyond the "official" quarters - one in the immediate surroundings of the temple and one placed on the east-slope.

 

Our concerns during the season 2009 were:

  • to acquire knowledge about the space-design of the LBA - city of Kumidi - as well as of the size of at least the inner city

  • to gain information about the distribution of functions within the urban Kumidi

  • to study activities carried out within the city resp. within its different living areas

  • to find out the involvement of the settlers into trade resp. to find out who of the settlers had access to what kind of possession.

 

Our questions 2009 on the spot are part of a larger scientific program that is dealing with questions concerning urbanisation and de-urbanisation and its political and economical backgrounds resp. reasons, the analysis of space design, the use of space for power representation, the influence of power structures, "global" politics and village resp. city development, the dealing with traditions and the influence of different political circumstances on this dealing with traditions (research in progress!).

 

The excavation program on the east-slope 2009

Concerning our aims to explore the Late-Bronze Age settlement activities in Kumidi we did in 2009

  • complete our research of the Iron-Age settlement in areas II-d-5/6 and II-e-5/6 for the time being (2009)

  • dismantle the Iron Age walls belonging to the Iron Age building levels (see our report about the east-slope 2008; see further plate 2 - the Iron Age architecture 2008 and the dismantled area 2009)

  • clear away the ash layer that covered the Iron Age buildings

 

Results 2009 on the east-slope

Area II-d-5 (plate 3)

In area II-d-5/south we exposed wall w1/09/C, a solid built stone wall running from south-west to north-east, bending to the south-east after about 3 m and running into area II-e-5.
On top of the eastern part of this wall a burial (grave 3/09/C) had been placed, according to the pottery a burial from Persian times. The upper layer of that wall w1/09/C had been covered with a thick ash layer that covered some of the Iron Age buildings.
Stratigraphically and according to the pottery (see below) the wall represents further evidence for a transitional phase on the east-slope. At the moment being, we do interpret the building-history as follows: Wall w1/09/C had been erected during the Late Bronze Age (LBA II) and re-used during the Iron Age (IA I). This building went out of use after a fire had destroyed parts of the Iron Age settlement in this area. During Iron Age III (Persian period) the function of the east-slope changed and the area became a cemetery.
Wall w1/09/C had been connected to wall w5/09/C, the latter "splitting off" from w1/09/C and running into south-eastern direction (into areas II-e-5/6). The walls do not (yet) form a building. They rather give the impression of being walls that either encircled a space or separated spaces from each other yet without forming "houses". As wall w1/09/C, wall w5/09/C belongs to the up to date known youngest Late Bronze Age building level.
North of that structure another house had been placed, consisting of walls w2a and w2b/09/C forming a southern corner of a Late Bronze Age building. The structure belongs to the so far youngest LBA layer. An Iron Age ash layer overlies that wall which does not show any signs of having been reused during the Iron Age.

 

Pottery

A fragment of red-slipped Phoenician pottery as well as globular cooking pots with ledge rim and drawn-out lip of the Iron Age I occurred in the upper ash layer covering the top of wall w1/09/C. From the same context stem a shallowly ridged rim of a larger vessel and a rim of a cooking pot with a less drawn-out lip that may be considered successors of the folded, ridged rim of storage vessels and the common globular cooking pot with angular, drawn-out rim of the Late Bronze Age.

Below the ash layer at the base of the wall laid straight-sided, funnel-shaped bowls or bowls with simple rims, some with painted rims, as well as the upper part of a jar, with badly preserved decoration reconstructed as a geometrical paint and a string impression, equally dating into the LB II. Wall w5/2009/C produced Mycenaean imports of a fine, beige ware, mostly decorated with groups of horizontal bands and dating into Late Helladic IIIA2 bis IIIB2, as well as a ware whose surface was partially covered in dark, burnished paint; further fragments of which were found in II-e-5/6 (II-e/d-6 South) and II-e/d-6 (North). (plate 4b-c)

Grave 3 from this area produced two small juglets with strongly accentuated shoulder and traces of red paint, reconstructed as bands in the area of the neck and shoulder of the vessels, dating into the Achaemenid period.

 

Small finds

Small find KL1/II-d-5/FS5 is a small juglet without handle. The neck and the strongly accentuated shoulder were painted with red, circular stripes. The juglet has to be dated into the Iron Age III. Like another rather badly preserved, very similar looking vessel it has been found in a grave (grave 3/09). Therefore the grave has also to be dated into the Persian times. (See plate 6)

Furthermore eleven fragments of iron nails have been uncovered, which belong to grave 1/09. Most probably those fragments derive from a wooden bier.

 

Area II-e-5

In area II-e-5 the Late Bronze Age is represented by stone wall w1*/09/C running from north to south, bending in the south and running from north-east to the south-west (see plate 3). A stone laid floor occurred, which had been limited at its north-eastern side by a fire-installation, covered by ashes and surrounded by pottery fragments. The building has not been preserved in its complete layout since Iron Age building activities (for example w2*/09/C) destroyed the underlying LBA wall w1*/09/C. This house structure belongs, after a preliminary stratigraphical examination, to the youngest Late Bronze Age building levels according to our preliminary stratigraphy of the east-slope.
Wall w1*/09/C was covered by an ash layer. Above that ash layer stretches wall w2*/09/C. Thus, wall 2 has to be younger than wall w1*/09/C. It belongs to the Iron Age settlement. The whole building will be explored when the east-slope will be opened further to the south.

 

Pottery

Here bowls with simple and flattened rims that occurred in the context of wall w1*/09/C, as well as more Mycenaean imports date the structure into the early LB IIB period. The Mycenaean imports show the same horizontal bands as in II-d-5, one shows a lily motif, of Late Helladic IIB or IIIA. The Iron Age activities are evident in the cooking pot ledge rims with drawn-out lip recovered in that context.

 

Small finds

Remarkable among the small finds from area II-e-5 are the spindle whorls (KL3/II-e-5/FS34, KL2/II-e-5/FS26; KL5/II-e-5/FS37, KL7/II-e-5/FS51) and a tronco-conic piece of bone, incised with a rhombic decoration. Grinding stones, a hammer stone as well as a fragment of a basalt vessel enlarge the spectrum of findings (see plate 5).

 

Area II-e-6

East of the Late Bronze Age structure of II-e-5 a one-room building (so the structure according to our knowledge 2009 with the walls w3/09/L, W7 and w4/09/L occurred (see plate 3), solidly built with very well set stones. The orientation of this building roughly parallels the orientation of house 2 as does the building technique of the newly discovered house. A floor of tamped clay has been uncovered at a level of 935.18 m. The new building represents further evidence for the Late Bronze Age building level of house 2 in II-e-7 excavated in 2007/8. The space south of the newly uncovered room had been used as an open area for household activities. A tannour and an outstanding amount of large vessel fragments had been found there.

 

Pottery

Only few diagnostic sherds were recovered from inside the room. These include several fragments of a white sandy ware with red stripes which frequently occurred in Kamid in the Iron Age context of the east-slope (the duration of usage has yet to be clarified as work in the area continues), as well as some Late Bronze shapes like a bowl with simple rim or a funnel-shaped bowl.
The vessel fragments from South of the room mirror this mix of possible Iron and Late Bronze Age, as well as include further Mycenaean imports with band decoration dating into the Late Helladic IIIA2 to IIIB2.
North of the room some egyptianized pottery was recovered, evident in the distinct shape with a body ledge and for Kamid el-Loz uncommonly heavy chaff temper (as identified 2008 on-site by K. Kopetzky).

 

Small finds

In the filling on the floor of the room one piece of a so called "Schuppenpanzer" (KL3/II-d-e/6/FS5) has been found. The so called "Schuppenpanzer" is a massive bronze cover that protects the upper part of the body of a soldier, so far only found in the elite burial in the so called Schatzhaus (see plate 5). Furthermore in the same context one spindle whorl (KL5/II-d/e-6/FS5) and two beads (KL4+7/II-d/e-6/FS5) have been found.

 

Area II-e/d-6

House 2 (LBA) mainly excavated 2007 and 2008 (area II-d-7) stretches further to the west. Thus, in 2009 we continued to excavate this western part of the building (see plate 3). Wall w2/08/L, the northern wall of the main building of house 2 stretches into area II-e-6 were it is connected to wall w9/09/L, which bends to the north. The northern border of this room is represented by wall w7/08/L. An entrance leads into a long corridor-like room. North of that room another room has been uncovered, bordered in the east by w7/09/L and in the west by the badly preserved wall w11/09/L. Its northern wall has not yet been excavated.

 

Pottery

In this context, too, several pieces of Mycenaean imports occurred, again mostly sherds of fine, beige ware painted with bands, and two more fragments of the glazed ware, these with figurative painting. This decoration resembles that of a Mycenaean rhyton of the old excavation, dated as palm II decoration into Late Helladic IIIB11. Furthermore recovered were rim and neck of Cypriot Base Ring Ware II, a feature appearing in the Levante from LB I to LB IIB, most common in the LB IIA. Other pottery from this context include again several fragments of bowls with flattened, simple or drawn-out rims.
In the room north of wall w7/08/L, where the LB niveau has not been reached yet, sherds of Iron Age I cooking pots with drawn-out lip occurred, as well as more fragments of pithoi with the finger-ridge decoration of the building level 3.

 

Small finds

Several bronze objects and fragments, among others, fragments of earrings, needles and hairpins (detailed research in progress) have been recovered. Furthermore several grinding and hammer stones could be exposed.

 

The graves

Nine graves with 11 individuals, 10 adults, one child, mainly of the Persian period (and probably also of the Hellenistic period) have been excavated in 2009 in the areas II-d-5, II-e-5 and II-d-6. For some graves the stone circle underlining the layout of the pit had been preserved, so for grave 3 in II-d-5 as well as graves 1 and 4 in II-d-6. All individuals have been buried lying on their back. Grave 3 in II-d-5 (Persian time) solely contain grave goods - 2 pottery vessels, dating the grave to the Persian period (see plate 6). Grave 1 in area II-d/e-6 contained two people, the head of one oriented to the north, the other one to the south. Grave 1 in II-d-6 also contained two burials, buried in an extraordinary way. The female was lying on her back, the lower parts of her legs crossed. On top of her body a male person had been placed, also lying on his back. The right hand side arm of the female had been laid around the waist of the male person. On both skeletons the face-part of the skull had been removed on purpose - one complete, one partly - and only the back of the heads were preserved.

 Preliminary reflections - preliminary interpretations

  • concerning the history of the east-slope

  • its function resp. the ways the area has been used during the settlement history

  • activities carried out on the east-slope

The oldest so far known use of the east-slope dates to the Late Bronze Age.
During the LBA I/II the area had been a settlement district. So far we can differentiate between the following Late Bronze Age building levels.
The oldest level is represented in area II-e-7 by a tannour (level 933.40m).
Slightly younger is that building level that could only be grasped by detached structures, excavated in the deep trenches. The first extended settlements remains comprise house 2 and its extension to the west. Most probably the newly uncovered structures in II-e/d-6 can be added. At the time being the youngest LBA evidence is represented amongst others by walls w 5-3/08/L (see report 2008) and by wall w1-2/09/C and w1*/w5/09/C.
During or at the end of the youngest LBA phase the district has been abandoned, left open and used by squatters (see our report in BAAL HS, forthcoming). The Late Bronze Age settlement, i.e. the walls and houses did not completely erode as (among others) wall w1/II-d-5/2009 (C) shows. After some time (the duration is still unknown) the squatter occupation had been given up and new settlement activities began on a regular basis. Where possible, those responsible for building the new houses during the Iron Age I / II used the older LBA walls. This also meant that the tradition of using the area as a settlement district continued until Iron Age II, the period of the Phoenician time of prosperity. Iron Age III then saw a break in tradition - the function of the east-slope changed. With the "emergence of the Persians" resp. with the growth of the Persian Empire and the Persian influence in the Levant the former use of the east-slope for settling the living ended and the east-slope served for the time being for settling the dead: the area became a cemetery. This function has been kept during the Hellenistic period as well as during the following Roman period, when the last and final change occurred and the cemetery area changed back into a residential area (the chronology of the successive roman occupation and the use of the east-slope as a roman cemetery still has to be studied in detail). At the same time, using the east-slope as a cemetery did mean that the settlement activities moved to other places on the site. During Iron Age III settlement pits in the south-west (the so called palace area) show hints for settlement activities here, followed by the evidence for housing during the Hellenistic period (so far two houses of that time have been excavated). Furthermore extensive settlement activities during the Roman period can be proven for the east-slope and other areas of the tell, as the Kuppe and the area south of the palace.

 

A choice of observations, questions and reflections that we are dealing with in the research project Kamid el-Loz

For the moment being (Kamid el-Loz 2009) we can not yet estimate the range of activities carried out in the Late Bronze Age settlement of the east-slope. It is also an open question what functions this district performed for the city of Kumidi. It seems to be obvious that the Late Bronze Age houses on the east-slope represent a building type different from the contemporary houses in the temple area. Whether different house types correlate with different activities, functions and even user groups of these different houses and areas has to be clarified. The occurrence of an element of a so called "Schuppenpanzer" (warrior-protection) should not be overestimated, but at the same time this finding should be kept in mind since the only other evidence so far for this type of protection-supply has been found in an elite-burial connected to the Late Bronze Age palace (Schatzhaus-burial). Those living on the east-slope had access to imported goods, as, among others, the Mycenaean pottery shows. How these so called "imports" reached Kumidi (via trade, as a diplomatic gift, as part of the possession of immigrants?), what the possession meant for the owners in terms of prestige, status, richness, tradition is also still unknown. While the space design of the Late Bronze Age settlement in the temple vicinity shows aspects of planning of the layout as well as aspects of intentional and planned modifications of the settlements layout (for example the filling of the pathway and thus the change of the traffic through the area as well as the change of communication opportunities!), the east-slope needs further investigations on a larger scale to yield corresponding information. Of major importance is the question concerning the handling of traditions on the east-slope, of building traditions as well as of the tradition of keeping a function within an area of a settlement resp. altering the functions of city-districts. On the one hand tradition did not hinder those living in Kamid during the Iron Age to use the architecture erected by their (LBA) predecessors. Thus, a continuation of tradition, here of the building tradition, seems to have occurred. On the other hand a major break of tradition occurred with the political change and the seizure of power by the Persians. For the first time during the so far known history of Kamid el-Loz a living area had been shifted within the site and the former living area obtained a complete different function as a graveyard. Why this break with a long standing tradition occurred, why this became necessary and who those were who initiated this break is still unknown. At the moment it is safe to say that during Persian times the living had to move and to give way for the "living of the dead"! The tradition of the predecessors obviously had not been the tradition of those living in Kamid el-Loz during the time of the Persian rule in Lebanon. The tradition of space use and functional distribution within the settlement of Kamid el-Loz created during Persian times then lasted until the times of the Roman occupation, the tradition of burying the individual on the other hand had not been shared by "Persians, Greeks and Romans". While the Persian period burials, simple pits, sometimes lined by a row of stones, have been wealthy equipped, the Hellenistic burials have been mainly characterized by placing the dead in large pottery vessels without adding burial gifts (exceptions like a child grave excluded) while the Romans would bury their dead in large stone sarcophagus, either as a single or as a multiple burial. While the tradition of space function had been continued, the burial rites as such have been culturally coded.

 

2. The living area in the temple vicinity (plate 1, plate 7)

 

Aims and interests

Concerning the Late Bronze Age settlement we focus - among others subjects - on space design, on the development of architectural forms, especially the layout and size as well as the building techniques of living houses. We are especially interested in the internal spatial organisation of living areas. We do research how to recognize the amount - and the details - of planning of the layout and how to differentiate between actual planning and the gradual growth of the areas which takes place without a regulating authority or group behind the development. We are interested in the development, the continuity, the modification and the change of building traditions and in how and when continuity and / or change occur. We investigate the reason for continuity and / or change and to whose advantage and disadvantage continuity and / or change take place - whether initiated intentionally or unintentionally. Another research interest focuses on the activities carried out in the houses as well as in the open space between houses; this research is again connected to the complex of questions that deals with tradition, continuity and change.
The questions asked concerning the living area of the temple vicinity are at the same time relevant for the analysis of the settlement area on the east slope and vice versa.

 

Our concern during the season 2009 encompassed:

  • the enlargement of the area of the Late Bronze Age settlement, i.e., the exposure of more houses and more open and public space to have sufficient evidence at our disposal which should allow us to find answers to the above mentioned questions

  • to clarify aspects of the modification of single houses resp. areas

  • to compare the results of our research in the temple living area with the discovery of the Late Bronze Age living area on the east-slope.

 

The program in - and the results of - the settlement excavation in areas I-g-12 / I-g-13 and I-g-14/2009 (plate 7)

Several special research aspects are investigated in the living area of the temple vicinity:

 

a) The enlargement of the area of the known houses to the south (areas I-g-12-13-14) served the aim to gain more evidence for space design, house layouts, installations in houses and open spaces and thus for the possibility to reconstruct activities that had taken place in the settlement as well as for reconstructing the functions the settlement held for the Late Bronze Age city. These questions become all the more interesting and important since the LBA settlement at the east-slope shows already different house types, different building techniques and different house sizes as well as a different form of space organization resp. space design.

 

b) In area I-f-12 / I-g-12 we followed the course of the lane crossing the settlement and are interested in whether - and if - how far the lane bends or runs further southwest. The edge of the settlement, its western border, is so far unknown, although it is obvious that we are working at the western border at least of the LBA settlement. The extension of the settlement (and of the tell resp. the site!) shall be investigated and, furthermore, we are compiling information about the buildings and their state of preservation in the outer district of the settlement. As is already known the northern "end" of the LBA settlement has been badly preserved; it had been left open in ancient times and was then used for a variety of activities, but no longer for permanent living.

 

c) A third investigation concentrated on the clarification of the space west of building F, area I-g-12/north. The area here is characterized by several building activities that led to a variety of modifications of the house-plans and space design. The clarification of the changes here then shall lead to the reconstruction of the form, the size, the layout and the type of building that had been used in this part of the settlement.

 

Area I-g/f-13/12--14 - Stratigraphy

At the moment being the architectural development allows to reconstruct at least three major building levels that occurred during the LBA (I/II) (for a preliminary stratigraphy, the stratigraphical terminology and the analysis of the building history of the area see also our report in BAAL HS forthcoming / in press).
The oldest layout of the LBA settlement is shown by the houses that have been built immediately north and south of the lane resp. street (plate 7) (see our report in BAAL HS). After a certain time of so far unknown duration (which has to be clarified) a change in space design became necessary. Those responsible for the spatial organisation of the settlement modified the layout of the southern part of the (up to date known) settlement area and erected a building of a - at first sight - seemingly new building type. One long wall (wall w9/08) stretching from north-east to south-west formed (according to our current knowledge) the northern back wall of a structure that overbuilt the older house structures here, an interference that effected at least the use of building B. The newly built structure, as far as preserved, consisted of this wall and several small rooms that had been attached to its southern side. However, it cannot be excluded that the "new" building type has been comparable to the row of buildings F, B and A especially if we compare the wall w9/08 with wall Wt2 (the southern bordering wall of the street) of the above mentioned buildings. Open space neighbouring the small rooms contained tannours. Up to now the impression occurs that the building B/south and building H have been partly destroyed by the rebuilding of that area during this new and seemingly younger building level. To the south no further walls are being preserved of this new building. The eastern end of wall w9/08 has been destroyed; its western end still has to be clarified as a whole. For the moment being we can say that the wall bends to the north (north-east) and becomes w10/08, which runs 8 m into northern direction, then again bends to the west and becomes w1/09/Mi. Walls w10/08, fully excavated in 2009, and w1/09/Mi form a corner and at the same time an inner enclosure that is covered by a carefully laid stone floor, which even stretches further to the south.
Another Late Bronze Age building level is once more characterized by differing building types, lying even further in the south. The new layout consisted of at least five large rooms, containing ovens and fireplaces. South of the newly built houses a second lane occurred, so far only to be seen in the section which shows the same filling as the lane on the northern side!

 

The lane and house x/2009 in the western part of the district - a stratigraphy

The lane

Research on the extension of the settlement to the west as well as of the street itself and its course (straight, i.e. further to the west or bending south) showed the continuation of the lane resp. street as well as of wall w1/09/H to the west. Neither the end of the lane has been found up to date nor did it bend nor did we reach the western end of the wall w1/09/H.

 

House "x" and its surrounding area

House x consists of wall w1/09/H, running parallel to the road, Wall w2/09/H, running north-west - south-east, is not connected, but attached to wall w1/09/H. It is bending to the south-west, there forming wall w3/09/H which then constitutes the parallel wall to wall w1/09/H. The western wall of that house has not yet been excavated. The house had been remodelled several times, as a stone floor, placed on top of wall w3/09/H showed.
At the moment being, the stratigraphy of this house is connected to the extended Late Bronze Age I settlement as follows: Wall w1/09/H belongs to that extended settlement, walls w2/09/H and w3/09/H are added to that level and therefore represent stages of this level. The stone floor set on top of wall w3/09/H represents yet another younger building activity. (for details also see above)

 

Pottery (I-g-12-14) (plate 8)

I-g-12

Pottery finds from north of the houses in I-g-13 / I-g-14 are overall congruent with LB forms, containing typical shapes such as the globular cooking pot with drawn-out rim and fragments of storage vessels with ridged rim. An archaeologically complete carinated cup with handles was recovered north of house x/2009, dating into the LBA I. Also from north of the houses stems a fragment ofCypriot White Slip Ware II, a so-called milk-bowl, a characteristic of the Late Cypriot IIA - IIB, whose dating into LBA IB to LBA IIA supports that of the carinated cup.
In the context of house x/2009 itself a floor has yet to be reached, the room filling produced mostly small, non-diagnostic sherds, but also included a fragment of a medium-sized vessel with a scarab seal stamp on the base of the handle, showing a semicircle at each end of the oval stamp, as well as a small bulge sticking out diagonally from one of the ends.

 

I-g-13/14

The pottery from the newly excavated houses south of wall w9/08 corresponds in general with the common household ware of the LBA, represented for example by globular cooking pots with drawn-out rims, and bowls with simple or flattened rims. Other pottery from this context include two narrow juglets, one archaeologically complete, with a slightly rounded base and probably trefoil mouth, dating into the LBA II period, a base and lower body of a goblet painted with horizontal red bands as well as rim and neck of a jar with similar band decoration also of the LBA II. Another piece of interest, again of the LBA II, is a biconical juglet with geometrical as well as figurative reddish-brown painting, with ticks on the rim, horizontal and one vertical band on the handle, and a main field, framed by more bands, showing a human figure.

 

Small finds

Two scarabs have been found in the living area of the temple district (plate 9). One scarab occurred in the filling of room x (I-g-12). It was made of amethyst, did not carry an inscription but had been drilled to be used as a pendant (KL19/I-g-12/115). A second scarab of white (soft) limestone occurred in the filling of house no.1. (KL8/I-g-14/25) It had been carved with a non-readable "inscription", i.e. with signs called "pseudo-hieroglyphs", common during the Hyksos-period.
(The living area showed a great number and variety of stone tools that will be analysed and presented in detail after we carefully studied them.)

 

Space design, change and continuity in the layout of the area

At the moment being it seems that the Late Bronze Age I settlement and the in the further south lying settlement structures (houses 1-5) (LBA) might have been characterized by comparable courtyard resp. house types - future excavations of the area will clarify this. The structure in-between, chronologically as well as horizontally, might show a different house type (see reflections above). It is true that the building direction did stay the same through all levels, but the space design, i.e. the design that organized movement, the way the inhabitants used the buildings and the communication of the users in this area of the city presumably changed, especially if we consider this building consisting just of a row of single rooms (and not of a row of houses as commented upon above). Courtyard houses allow and determine different ways of moving, of being seen and of perceiving the neighbours than the use of the row of rooms of the intermediate structure. Furthermore, the lane south of the houses/rooms 1-5 added another possibility of movement, traffic through the settlement, communication and contact, but it is still unknown whether this lane also belonged to the older phases of the living area.

 

Activities and functions

The variety of activities carried out in the living area next to the temple still has to be explored. Some educated guesses nevertheless might be given: If one follows the proverb: form follows function, then the different types of buildings might have been connected with different activities in the buildings themselves as well as in the open space and with different functions of the area. At least the movement in and around the structures in the oldest Late Bronze Age building level (and of houses/rooms 1-5) might have been different from that in the other intermediate Late Bronze Age level (if the interpretation of the building type as a row of rooms is to be verified). Furthermore, the modes of communication have been differentially coined by the different layouts of the architecture in the differing levels. In all levels household activities belonged to the activities carried out in the area, therefore called "living area" in respect of all levels, regardless of the formal differences the architecture shows.

 

Traditions of architectural forms and space design

If we interpret the small part that has been preserved of the intermediate building level of the wall 9/08 (see above) correctly as a "row of rooms", than a change at least of the building form, perhaps even of the building tradition, (LBA had occurred in this part of the city of Kumidi. At the same time we see continuity - the building direction (as only one element of space design) had been kept. During the LBA authorities had decided to interfere into the given - traditional (?) building order and into the given - traditional (?) - architecture of that spot and to change the "face" of that part of the city. Who these authorities had been, whether they belonged to the inhabitants of Kumidi or had come from outside - and as such perhaps had no connections to the local traditions - remains an open question. The detailed chronology of the building activities has yet to be established (see also below). Our aim is to connect the chronology of the living area with the political history of Kumidi and its occupation by the Egyptians. Having established the chronology, the questions concerning tradition, the reasons for the changing of the building forms, types and thus "traditions" (?) become answerable. An answer then might as well be given to the questions of who the institutions and power had been behind the change. And last but not least we might be able to answer the question where the "tradition" of the changing building levels came from!

 

A last remark shall concern possible connections between tradition, space design and the possibility of immigration to Kamid el-Loz, i.e. the immigration of people or the "immigration" of ideas. We propose that living houses in so called traditional societies (to be defined) should be closely connected to traditions - traditions of social organisation, traditions of religious believes, traditions of dealing with nature (architecture organized according to heat, wind-directions etc.), traditions of the economical organisation of households (sharing or separating working and living space, keeping animals etc.), traditions of gender-coined regulations in using house-space and open space, i.e. space that can be inspected from outside, and hidden space.
The different architectural forms (always keeping in mind that our interpretation of the row of rooms is still an interpretation!) that occur in the history of the living area of the temple vicinity (as well as seen in comparison of the temple living area and the east-slope / details see below!) may also be connected to different backgrounds of different users! Different either because of different cultural backgrounds connected to different "traditions" of building or because of different social backgrounds that made different representations via architecture necessary (Research concerning building "traditions" is in progress).

 

The living area and the deep sounding (see below) - first remarks concerning

  • traditions

  • use and design of space

  • activities throughout the ages

  • functions of the area

 

By reflecting the building activities and traditions in the living area next to the temple the questions arises whether the aspect of "tradition" earns a special meaning in designing space around a temple. This question is initiated by the knowledge of building traditions in the Ancient Near Eastern societies and the space design of settlements and urban places. A district, once used for a building with public functions, i.e. temple and palace, would be designated to that function throughout the settlement history of the village or city. Change of functions of a public space like the above mentioned did rarely occur and if so, the change usually had been connected to influences from "outside the local traditions"!
In Kamid el-Loz the "tradition" of keeping the function of the temple in this area over hundreds of years is being proven On the other hand the tradition of keeping the same temple-layout did not exist!
The same phenomenon characterises the layout and design of the living area. While the function of the area as "living area" can be considered certain and the building direction of the buildings stayed the same throughout the LBA (as well as during the MBA, as sondages carried out in 2008 already proof), changes in the types of houses and in the way traffic had been led through the settlement and modes of communication had been established, changed considerably. The continuation of tradition thus seems to concentrate on "function", while the design of space and the actual buildings that served for carrying out the functions changed according to the needs of those who designed and / or used the area. 

That the area had been used for household and / or handicraft activities during the MBA has already been proven by the inventories discovered in the soundings in 2008 (see our internet report of 2008). Furthermore, the large oven (see below) dating into the transition of the EBA / MBA resp. into the very beginning of the MBA confirms this interpretation - even if it is not yet clear whether the oven there served communal household activities or handicraft.

 

The deep sounding in the living area of the temple district, area I-f-12

 

Aims and interests

The Late Bronze Age settlement comprised of a temple and a settlement area in the direct vicinity of this temple. That the settlement had a predecessor in the MBA II period is known since our research in 2008, the question whether it had a predecessor in the Early Bronze Age should be answered in 2009.

 

Our concerns in carrying out the deep trench in area I-f-12 during the season 2009 have been:

  • to clarify the building and settlement history of the temple area, hence of the settlement area in the vicinity of the temple

  • to study Early Bronze Age pottery, so far next to unknown in the area of today's Lebanon

  • to gain information about the tradition of using space and carrying on the same function (and perhaps activities) within settlement areas in the urban Kumidi over thousands of years

  • to gather information about the natural formation of the tell

 

The excavation program in and the results of the deep sounding in I-f-12/2009 (plate 7)

At the western edge of the tell and immediately west of building I the deep trench has been opened. It encompasses a space of 2 m east-west (930 m east to 932 m east) and 9 m north-south (1020 m north to 1029 m north). The opening of the trench began at a level of 935.55 m (findspot 1) and ended in the southern part of the trench at 931.94 m. In the northern part the settlement layers seem to reach far deeper and the trench is going to be continued there.
Nineteen findspots have been differentiated according to colour and kind of soil as well as according to building structures that occurred within the trench itself.
Findspot 7 contained wall 1/09/We, built of stone and running from south-east to north-west. Findspot 10 contained wall 2/09/We, running north-east - south-west and bound in its north eastern part by a huge oven (plate 10 - the oven) with a diameter of 1.50m. The oven had been laid out and bordered by a 15 cm thick clay wall; the basis of the oven was laid out with small stones (about 15cm to 15cm in size). This stone layer was covered by a layer of burnt clay that was about 4 cm thick. Findspot 17 reached a level of 931.94 m. A pit, dug in to a sterile layer, was limited by one stone wall (w5/09/We) at its southern and another one at its northern edge (w6/09/We). The pit comprises 2 m (east-west) and 1 m (north-south) and contained some animal bones as well as pottery. The bottom of that pit has been reached by 931.15 m.

 

Activities and functions

Two interpretations seem plausible for the use and the function of the large oven:
If the oven served for baking and/or cooking the size seems to be extraordinary large for having been used just by a single household, at least if compared to the ovens we know in Kamid el-Loz for the LBA and MBA settlements. A baking/cooking facility of the above mentioned size might have served several households. One might imagine that the people of the western settlement district used this facility together. In this case its function as a communal installation should be considered! Another use and function seems possible: the oven placed at the edge of the settlement might have served handicraft activities which had been connected to fire, smell and noise and was therefore placed rather at the margin of the settlement and not in its centre! A third consideration should be mentioned - it can of course not be excluded that this type of oven had been the regular oven-type and size for a single household in the days of the late EBA / early MBA period. The excavation of the EBA / MBA settlement might provide the solution to this reflection.

 

Pottery and chronology

Findspots 1 to 5 (level 935.55 m to 933.96 m) contained, as expected, LBA common material like sherds of large vessels with plastic bands, some with an incised herringbone pattern, bowls with simple rims, or cooking pots with drawn-out rims - these findspots started at the level of the LBA building level I. Findspot 5 at the same time contained the first pottery evidence for the MBA, a five-stranded handle from MBA II. 
From findspots 8 (level 933.36 m to 932.89 m) and 9 (932.89 m to 932.82 m) on the pottery that occurred showed predominately MBA characteristics, such as ledge rims, sometimes corrugated, comb decorations, mostly simple horizontal bands, or a regular comb-like decoration of fine ridges all over the exterior of the vessel. Cooking pots show the same shapes as in the LBA, but sometimes with ridged rims. A piece of interest from the deep trench is a shoulder fragment of a jar with elaborate plastic decoration of straight and wavy comb lines as well as punctual indentations, dating into the MBA. Findspot 9, a trodden floor, touched wall 2/09/We and this wall touched the oven (findspot 13, level 932.80 m).
These findspots also included several unusual sherds, like a rim with an inner ledge which dates into the EBII/III, various ledge handles, a typical feature of the EBA but also present in the MBA, and a rounded ledge rim, a possible parallel to EBA rims, e.g. a rim from Sidon's stratum 62.
Findspot 15 (level 932.63 m to level 932.52 m, a clay layer without building structure, equally contained pottery fragments dating to the EBA III, body sherds decorated with a large-area decoration of irregular, shallow combing, horizontal as well as horizontal and vertical or diagonal, the latter often in combination with a slip, dating into the EBA III to IV (plate 11).

 

3. The Palace Area

 

Aims and interests

The Late Bronze Age settlement disposed of a temple and a palace, a settlement area in the direct vicinity of the temple, a burial of elite members in the so called "Schatzhaus" and a workshop next to the palace. So far we do not know whether the palace - as the temple - had been integrated into a living quarter. The Late Bronze Age building has not been part of our research in 2009 and will be only mentioned where necessary to understand the Middle Bronze Age.

 

Our concerns during the season 2009 were:

  • to acquire knowledge about the use of space and the architectural design of the Middle Bronze Age palace-building

  • to analyse the use and the design of space in the area immediately surrounding the Middle Bronze Age palace

  • to study the functions of the palace as well as of the of palace area

  • to acquire information about the activities carried out in the palace and the surrounding area throughout the Middle Bronze Age

  • to gain information about the tradition of palace-design within the urban Kumidi

  • to collect information about older phases of the MBA palace resp. to gain insights into the building history of the palace older than the MBA II-building being excavated at present.

 

Our questions 2009 on the spot were part of a larger scientific program that deals with questions concerning urbanisation and de-urbanisation and its political and economical backgrounds resp. reasons, the analysis of space design, the use of space for power representation, the influence of power structures, "global" politics and village resp. city development, the dealing with traditions and the influence of different political circumstances on this (research in progress!).

 

The excavation program in the palace area 2009 (plate 12)

In order to analyse the size and the layout of the Middle Bronze Age palace and to collect the data necessary to follow our questions mentioned above our research continued in the central part of the building (room/courtyard/hall 10, areas I-i-15/16 and III-a-15/16), in the southern part of the building (room 9 and beyond, areas III-a/b-15/16), as well as north of room/hall/courtyard 10. In the southern and northern areas we were searching for the outer wall of the building, the design of the outer wall resp. the design of the entrance that should be located in the northern part of the building. While removing the burnt bricks from the central hall/courtyard/room 10 in 2008, we found an installation placed in the eastern part of "room" 10 as well a several beams of burnt wood lying on the floor in the south-western part of this room. Could the wood have been part of a roof construction that covered the whole area or was it part of a construction within the hall/courtyard/room 10? This later assumption occurred when figuring out the size of the room/hall/courtyard, so far roughly estimated in its east-western dimension (about 9 m to 10 m). Could this dimension be bridged by a wooden construction? Analysing the space design in the northern and southern part of the Middle Bronze Age palace, clearing "room" 10 and exploring the dimensions of the room as well as searching for further installations have been the aims we followed 2009.

 

Results 2009 in the palace area

Area III - a/b - 15 / 16

Research in area III-a-15/16/south began in room 9 (excavated partly in 2008) with taking out the burnt rubble that filled the room as a result of the heavy burning which destroyed the Middle Bronze Age palace of Kamid el-Loz. While clearing the room its eastern wall appeared, wall w 3/09/M, built, as the others, of solid stone (plate 12 + 18). The height of the wall (level 941.46 / upper stone layer) is considerable lower (preserved height about 0.60 m) than the preserved height of the other walls. This circumstance led to the question whether this "wall" might rather have been a bench along the eastern wall than the wall itself. The thought has been given up so far - no real evidence is available that supports this interpretation, while the type of structure, the size and the way the wall had been built correspond with all surrounding walls. The room now encompasses roughly 16 m². Another question already asked in 2008, namely whether room 9 formed the southern end of the palace should be answered in 2009. While cleaning the surface of the area south of room 9, consisting of heaps of decayed burnt bricks preserved up to level 944.50 m, a further heavily burnt and collapsed stone-brick wall occurred about 944.12 m south of the southern wall of room 11 in area III-b-16. This structure (lying about 2.50 m above the MBA-building) definitely belongs to the Late Bronze Age palace (the architectural analysis and reconstruction of the LBA palace during the post - excavation period will clarify how this wall fits to the ground plan of the LBA palace building and to which LB I/II - palace period it belongs. During the next season the excavation will also concentrate on the clarification of this structure since at least two more rooms of the LBA palace building are already visible.
The space between this Late Bronze Age wall in III-b-16 and room 9 in area III-a-16 was then successively cleared. The area contained a lot of pottery and heaps of burnt brick. The burnt bricks concentrated in the east as well as in the west of the area south of room 9. Both concentrations suggested that two further walls should be expected. This expectation came true with the excavation of wall w7/09/M in the west and wall w8/09/M in the east, forming room 11 (see plate 121318).

 

Pottery

In this area LBA sherds occurred in room 9 and south of room 9, like bowls with flattened rim, globular cooking pots with drawn-out, not corrugated rims, or fragments of larger vessels of coarse ware with folded, corrugated rims.
The majority of the pottery recovered from this area, predominately from Room 11, dates into the MBA II. Typical shapes that occurred in the context of room 11 are flat bowls with slightly rounded sides, and often ringbase, thickened and/or upward turned rim and burnished interior, small, deep pots with carinated shoulder, both with s-shaped or angular carination diverse ledge rims, often corrugated, double and triple stand handles, horizontal comb decoration or regular, shallow comb-like decoration covering the vessel's entire exterior. A form that, while sporadically present in the LBA, was noticeably prevalent here, are corrugated bases; disc bases, flat or convex, clearly separated from the body, the extent of the corrugation varies. Another MBA II shape shows a small bellied jar with vertically burnished exterior. (plate 14).
Several fragments of Levantine Painted Ware occurred in this context, the neck of a juglet with bichrome painted handle and collarette, body sherds with straight and wavy bands, and bichrome bands of lozenges with crosshatching. Of special interest of the sherds of Levantine Painted Ware is a flattened base of a juglet decorated with two band zones of seven horizontal bands each, dating into the MBA II, parallels to which were found in other parts of the MBA palace in I-i-15/16.

 

The next older palace structure underneath the MBA II palace (plate 13)

Removing the brick and stone rubble from the newly discovered room 11 brought a surprise: instead of touching the southern wall of the room 11, two further walls, w9/09/M and w10/09/M occurred in III-a-15/16. They have been solidly built of stones with a brick superstructure like the other MBA palace walls. The walls have been erected in a distance of about 2 m from each other, forming room I/2009, that had been carefully laid out with stone slabs. The walls run parallel to one another from south-east to north-west and at the same time they do not run parallel with the building direction of the MBA II building (see plate 121318). With walls w9/09/M and w10/09/M we touched a building older than the MBA II palace: most probably: transitional phase of EBA/MBA.
The small part discovered so far of room I/2009 (further parts of the building will become visible when the excavation proceeds further south) does not yet allow complex guesses concerning its function. That it should have been an important building, being built with a larger effort can be derived from the size and monumentality of the walls that correspond with the walls of the palace as well as from the effort put into the construction of a floor made of large stone slabs. A third factor should be reconsidered; those using this space for construction the large MBA palace used an area already covered with an older building. Does this mean that we face continuity in the function of the spot?

 

Pottery connected to the stone floor level

The pottery found in connection with the stone floor continues to represent the MB pottery types that characterized and dated the MBA II-palace building of the younger phase, as shown above.
From the context underneath the stone floor the pottery for the most part still dates into the MBA II, evident in the same shapes and decorations mentioned above, like legde rims, flat bowls with thickened, upward-turned rim, or multi-stranded handles. In the context immediately beneath the floor additionally occurred a new type of pottery, the shallow, horizontal and diagonal combing that also occurred in the deep trench in the temple area, parallels to which can be found in the EBA III, thus dating this older layer (pre-stone floor) into the transitional phase of EBA/MBA.

 

Deep trench in storage room 8 (III-a-16)

To collect further information about the history of the MBA II palace building we opened a small trench in the storage room 8 (see plate 18). From the floor level of room no. 8 (941.00 m, Findspot 2) a pit, about 1.25 m deep had been dug into the floor (FS 1 - the pit ends at 939.75 m) containing among others fragments of Levantine painted ware (MBA II) (plate 15). After opening the whole trench and deepening it, a floor level occurred at about 939.65 m, still containing MB II pottery.
Therefore, the pottery recovered from the deep trench dates into MBA II, again showing features characteristic for the time, like pots with carinated shoulder, flat bowls with thickened rim, jars with ledge rims, double strand handles, comb decoration, and the corrugated bases that also occurred in room 11 in III-a/b-15/16.
Pieces of interest here are a fragment of Levantine Painted Ware, a body sherd with bichrome lozenges, a depressed globular juglet with trefoil mouth and the corrugated base known from the MBA II palace, and a cylindrical juglet equally dating into the MBA II, the neck and rim of which are not conserved.

 

Area III-a-15/16 - I-i-15/16

Cleaning room 10 included the removal of stones that had been loosened from the east-section during the winter. Removing these stones caused the sag of a massive layer of brick rubble that had been pressed against the eastern wall of room/courtyard/hall 10 while the brick superstructure of the stone walls collapsed during the fire (plate 12) and fell into "room" 10. The sag exposed the complete inner side of the eastern wall which still carried, in some parts, the white wall plaster.
The dismantling of the brick layer that filled "room 10" brought further walls of the Late Bronze Age palace to light (LBA) (plate 16). Walls WP17, w10/08/W, WP6 and WP9 on the west-side of the palace form a nearly square "room" that had its counterpart just opposite on the eastern side (not depicted). This room is again subdivided by wall w1/09/W. Parts of this room have been cut in modern times. This general layout is still recognizable. The typical entrance situation of the Late Bronze Age palaces on the spot thus has been excavated for the large Late Bronze Age building excavated in the last years: two rooms flank the central entrance into the palace3. The Late Bronze Age walls had to be dismantled in order to clarify the underlying Middle Bronze Age palace.

 

The squatter occupation: the rooms 1-2/2009

While taking off the Late Bronze Age structures an intermediate building layer occurred mainly in I-15/16: A house, consisting of at least four rooms, which had been built on the brick rubble of the MBA II palace (flooring of the house at a level of about 942.50 m, floor level of the MBA palace resp. level of room 10 at 941.00 m; plate 17 - 18). The builders of that house used the existing walls of the MBA structure wherever possible. The eastern and western outer wall as well as the northern wall of "room" 10 had been available. All the builders of this later occupation had to do was to erect a southern back wall (wall w4/09/W) for the new house and to reconstruct the older destroyed walls. To structure the house itself they also built a north-south wall, w5/09/W which cut the large room into two halves. Room 1/2009 contained a tannour in its south-eastern corner; on the floor in front of the tannour a burnt wooden beam had been maintained. Room 2/2009 contained fragments of pottery, a flooring, but no installation. Access to room 1/2009 was possible from the north and the east, access to room 2/2009 still has to be clarified, but an entrance situation from the east (room 1) and from the north seems to be very likely. Among other functions room 1/2009 served as a passage-way. Wall w1/08/W (continuation = w6/09/W) represents the northern limit of hall/courtyard/room 10 but not the limit of the building as such (plate 17 - 18).

 

The western front of the MBA II palace: room 3/2009

Wall w6/09/W (south), wall WP10-1 (=w8/08/W) (west), wall w7/09/W (east) form a room in the western front of the so far excavated MBA palace. The room almost reaches a square dimension. The northern limit has not been excavated yet, but can be seen in the northern profile (wall w8/09/W). At 941.10 m - 940.9 a part of a stone floor in the northern end of this room has been exposed which is limited in the east by w7/09/W and in the north by wall w 8/09/W. To the south this stone floor borders at a clay floor-layer covered with ashes and pottery. In the south-western corner of that room the wall WP10-1 (=w8/08/W) shows a recess into which a tannour had been placed. Another tannour had been erected in the north-eastern corner of that room which thus served, among possible other functions, household activities.
At a level of about 940.37 m a floor layer of trodden clay with traces of ashes (from household activities) has been uncovered. This floor stretches at least under wall w6/09/W and wall w7/09/W and would therefore indicate an even older usage of this area, than that of the MBA II palace.

 

The eastern front: room 4/2009

The walls w6/09/W (south), WP18 (east), wall w7/09/W (west) form the second room excavated at the front side. The northern limiting wall could not have been traced yet. The entrance design of the LBA palaces showed two rooms at the northern side of the palace framing the entrance pathway into the palace4. The occurrence of the western room of the MBA II palace seemed to point out a similar entrance situation - so far (2009) this possible parallel in design and layout can neither be verified nor denied. Cleaning the area between wall WP18 in the east and w7/09/W brought to light a massive stone-brick structure that had been collapsed and fallen into the obviously empty space in front of the palace (plate 1217 - 18). The brick structure and additional brick rubble filled the area and formed a heap of stones and bricks up to 1.80 m high (reaching from level 941.80 m down to 940.00 m; to remember - the floor level in room 10 is at about 941.00 m) (see plate 1217 - 18). This rubble and the bricks filling the area in the eastern part in front of the palace had been used for post-palace settlement and household activities, among them food-storage, as storage vessels indicate, that occurred on an irregular conserved floor in front of the palace at 941.50 m. The floor area cannot yet be integrated into a house structure (see excavation 2010 when the eastern front area of the palace will be clarified). Wall WP18, the western border so far known from the palace and running north-south, had also been used during the period when the house on top of the rubble had been in use. The wall is based on a stone wall (=w10/09/W) that forms the eastern wall of the MBA II palace. The rows of stone seized so far lays at level 941.10 m. This wall as well as the floor level in room/hall 10 which lies at 941.10 m and the stone base of wall w6/09/W that lies at 940.80 m belong to the same building structure: the MBA II palace.

 

Preliminary summary

The MBA palace known today consisted of at least 5 rooms or 4 rooms and one hall or open courtyard, no. 10. The northern front of the palace as well as the design of its southern part are not yet known and will be clarified during the excavations that follow. The centre of the building should be a hall/courtyard 10, encompassing about 110 m². All the walls of the building are solidly built of stones and bricks; the average width of the walls is between 1.20 m and 1.30 m. The analysis of inventories and installations is on the way and the results will inform us en detail about activities and the details of the building function. It is to be mentioned that besides room 8, the storeroom, the rooms seemed to have been generally emptied before the building had been given up. The northern rooms of the palace might also have been used for storage. In room 3/2009 a storage vessel with a seal impression occurred (see plate 20) and on the eastern side of the palace front area a storage vessel with a scarab-impression (inside the vessel, on its base) has been found (see below - pottery).

The area where the palace has been built formed a plateau that showed the following history of use - from the oldest to the youngest evidence:

 

  1. Oldest pottery: EBA/MBA, found in the trenches in room 8, room I/2009 and underneath room 3/2009 i.e., the oldest pottery is still not connected to any architecture evidence.

  2. Oldest building structure: walls of room I/2009 and stone flooring there, MBA II

  3. Next younger building structure: the MBA II palace

  4. Following building structure, still MBA II - the house on top of the MBA II palace rubble, reusing the MBA II palace

  5. Youngest building structures - the LBA I and II palace

 

The MBA II palace of Kamid el-Loz is up to now the oldest palace-building known for the area of today's Lebanon. At the same time it is also the only palace building so far known for the MBA II in Lebanon.

Concerning the development of social and functional hierarchy and the institutionalizing of functions and status, the development of urbanisation on the spot as well as in the region and concerning the growing need of urban elites to represent themselves invisibly via architecture, the palace of Kamid el-Loz is of invaluable importance.

 

Pottery: The rooms 1 and 2/2009

The pottery recovered from the upper layers covering this area includes some characteristics of the LBA, like a fragment of Cypriot White Slip Ware II, which in the old excavation occurred in the Palace first in building layer P45 and here dates either into LBA IB or IIA, a juglet with shoulder handle and bichrome painted bands of the LBA I, or household ware like cooking pots with not corrugated, drawn-out rim, which occurred in the context of the removal of the LB walls.
The pottery from the older squatter occupation though contains typical MBA II pottery, like small pots with carinated shoulder, another small pot with strongly rounded carination and vertically burnished exterior (see I-i-15/16/FS19), and various flat bowls, some of which with vertically burnished exterior.
Another example of Levantine Painted Ware of the MB II occurred in the context of the child-burial in wall w 4/09/W, a juglet with loophandle, decorated with horizontal and vertical bands and spirals.

 

The western front: room 3/2009

The gros of the pottery from this room occurred in the context of the floor, including fragments of large storage vessels of coarse ware, partially with string impressions, common MBA II forms such as diverse ledge rims, bowls with thickened or upward turned rim, some with vertically burnished in- and exterior, double-strand handles, the simple ridge decoration also present in Room 4, or the corrugated bases already mentioned in III-a-15/16.
Also in this context occurred a plate or baking tray with indented herringbone-like decoration on the thickened, corrugated rim, equally dating into the MB II, as well as two examples of Levantine Painted Ware. The one a rim, neck and handle of a juglet with red decoration, ticks on the rim, collarette, horizontal bands on the shoulder, and irregular bands on the double handle, the other a juglet, neck and rim not preserved, with bichrome decoration of straight and wavy bands on the shoulder, concentric circles on the body, and more horizontal bands at the base of the vessel, with a vertically burnished exterior, similar to the Levantine Painted Ware from I-i-15/16 from the Eastern Front.
Still, most of the pottery recovered in this area stems from simple vessels for daily use. Taking further into account the tannourine it is likely that storage and food processing took place in this area of the MBA II palace.
Additionally recovered in the MB II filling of room 3 were fragments of a coarse, brittle ware with a shallowly horizontally combed and slipped exterior, North Canaanite Metallic Ware of the EB II/III.
Also from this context stems a handle with a cylinder seal impression, described in detail in the paragraph on smallfinds.

 

The eastern front - room 4/2009


The archaeological findings of room 4 are not clearly divided into two layers belonging to the younger squatter occupation on the one and older MBA palace on the other hand; it is not clear whether or not room 4 was part of the squatter occupation.
A body sherd of Levantine Painted Ware found in the upper context shows concentric circles, resembling a Levantine Painted Warejuglet from the Western Front, whereas a juglet base of Levantine Painted Ware decorated with horizontal bands, the shape of the base resembling the same juglet from the Western Front and additionally that of the base from III-a-16, occurred in the lower context of room 4 that definitely belongs to the MBII palace. The presence of Levantine Painted Ware can ergo not be used as an indicator as to whether or not room 4 was part of the squatter occupation. Overall the pottery from the upper context shows familiar MB II characteristics, like flat bowls with thickened rim, double strand handles, the regular comb-like decoration of shallow ridges, and the single ridge decoration, without any apparent disruption in the material. As both the double-strand handle as well as the simple ridge decoration only occurred in the MB palace, not in the house, this might indicate that the upper findings of Room 4 belong to the MB palace and the room was not part of the squatter occupation. Another argument in favour of this is a base of a medium-sized vessel stamped with a hieroglyphic scarab seal, the usage of this seal more likely in the palace than in a squatter occupation.

 

Small finds

A seal impression printed on the handle of a storage jar occurred in the clay filling of room 3/2009 on the western side of the palace (see plate 20). The impression resp. the seal is organized in a scene with humans and gods interacting and an image area containing a lion, above the lion a "Flechtband"/interlace, and above that motive a winged animal with a human head and face.
Detailed description:

Plot and actors: The main scene of the acting is created by three human actors and a goddess. The right hand side of the scenery shows a naked female, crossing her arms in front of her breast and probably wearing a horned crown. The goddess is looking to the left (within the scenery) and facing the other main protagonists: First a male person, facing the naked goddess and obviously greeting her with both arms raised. The male figure wears a so called Syrian "Rock mit Wulstsaum" / a skirt with a bulging seam. The position of this figure just in front of the goddess, his acting - addressing the goddess - his dress as well as his size that equals that of the goddess might identify him as a king. Behind the "king" follows a figure, (the image is only partly preserved), clearly smaller in size then the "king" or the naked goddess and carrying a "stick" with a bend end. The scene is completed by the representation of another male figurine following the little person, dressed only with a belt that is decorated with three tassels and holding an animal in his raised arms. One characteristic of that figurine is his long hair. The stylization of the fourth actor (naked except of the belt) as well as his headdress characterizes him also as a so called athlete (suggestion as described e.g. by Eder/Nagel, DaM 6). The whole "main" scene is composed of four actors, the three humans facing the goddess.
Side-scenery: Aside the main plot three motives are shown - from top to bottom - a winged animal with a human head and face, i.e. a sphinx, below that an interlace and on the base a lion, walking and roaring.

 

Preliminary conclusions: Some reflections concerning

  • the layout and ground plan of the palace and its chronological phases

  • the history of the palace area

  • its function resp. the ways the area has been used during the settlement history

  • activities carried out in the so called palace area:

 

During MBA II the palace shows three building stages or even more likely three building levels. The first building level is so far only represented by the walls of room I/2009. Shortly after that an extended palace building has been erected which's outer limits to the north and the south have to be excavated in the next campaigns. During the second MBA II building level the palace has been destroyed and given up. A post-palace occupation level - the third MBA II building level - followed - represented by the house of the so called "squatter-occupation".
During the LBA I period a new palace had been erected precisely on the same spot as the MBA palace. The reasons to call these MBA and LBA buildings "palaces" should be commented upon in short: both structures, the MBA as well as the LBA building, are unique in size, in building effort and in the layout. Both building locations have continuously conserved these unique house plans. Furthermore, the LBA "palace" contained tablets which document the use of this building for administrative activities.
The full range of activities carried out in the palace of the MBA is not yet known but first hints and suggestions can be given. Room 8 of the palace has been used as a storage room as the storage vessels kept there have proven. The largest room/hall or courtyard no. 10 might have served representational purposes. The western entrance room contained two tannours and in the rubble of this room the sealed handle of the storage jar has been found. Thus, storage and baking / preparing food had been exercised here.

 

The tradition of using the spot for official activities and functions had been kept for about maximal 800 years; the knowledge of the function of this spot had been available for the same time span. Nevertheless after the burning down of the MBA building settlers used it for other purposes and erected the above mentioned "squatter" house. Consequentially some questions arise - who dared to change the function of the spot, who dared to use a former palace / administration building for housing and who dared thus to interrupt the tradition of functional use of this area? Asked the other way round - who dared to deviate from the local tradition? And thinking about the interruption of tradition and function - where had the institution been located which had been placed in the palace when the squatter occupation occurred? Did the administrative function still exist in Kamid el-Loz during the period of interruption? And where had the administrative elite been during that time? How had the place been organized, politically and socially, when the palace had been given up?

And when the original function had been brought back to the area - who had kept the knowledge of the function? Who knew that in "former times" a palace/administrative building had been used there? Who brought the tradition back to the place and why? And who had been the administrators?

 

4. The deep trench east of the so called "Schatzhaus" (plate 21)

 

Thanks to the sponsorship and help of the mayor of Kamid el-Loz, we were able to open another deep trench. The aim of the excavation in areas I-h-18, II-h-1 und II-h-2 was first to enlighten the conditions of that context, i.e. to check the rumour that especially the area around the "Schatzhaus" had not only been looted but completely destroyed. The excavated architectural structures proof and demonstrate, better than words, that the opposite is true.
A trench of 23m length (east 1019m / west 996 m) and 4m width (north 985m - south 981m) has been opened (opened from level 944m) and deepened down in a reduced area (deep trench within the trench, see plate 21) for 3.50m (deepest level reached 940.65m; this level corresponds roughly to the floor level of room / hall 10 in the MBA II palace).

 

The eastern part of the trench (plate 22)

Between 1019m east and 1010m we deepened the trench to check the conditions of the context in the area. A massive brick layer occurred at 942m. Within the trench a small deep trench has been opened of 2.5m length, 1m width and 1m deep (down to 940.65m). Pottery from the deepest layer here, a red brick-earth layer, FS 12, contained datable material, amongst others the typical painted and combed ware which we also found in the MBA II palace context.

 

The middle part of the trench (plates 22 and 23)

In the middle of the trench we reached a round floor structure (level 943.30m), carefully plastered with gypsum like material. Into the middle of this floor a pit had been deepened that contained a large (empty) vessel. No further datable pottery occurred in this context. According to the level of the neighbouring architecture the dating of this floor structure into the LBA seems to be likely. To the north this floor resp. the plaster of that floor stretched to wall w5/09/K, a massive stone wall. The wall formed the corner of a room, further architectural evidence will be gained with the future excavations!

 

Western part of the trench (plates 22)

The western part of the "trench" has - unlike the eastern part - not been deepened, since immediately below surface two stone walls turned up. Two building layers can be defined, each representing a corner of a room. (plate 22)

 

The upper building layer (plate 22)

Two stone walls, w2/09/K running northwest-southeast and wall w4/09/K bending to southwest, form a corner of a room. The superstructure of these walls had been build of brick that partly decayed. Three stones layers have been preserved up to 0,60m high. The level of the upper layer of wall w2/09/K is 943,20m, the floor belonging to both walls is preserved at 942,60m (at 942.90m the oldest LBA - wall in the palace has been preserved). The width of the wall w2/09/K is about 0,70m. Wall w2/09/K runs into the southern section, to the north the wall has not been preserved. North of w4/09/K and west of w2/09/K stretches the mentioned floor, made of trodden clay. Pottery from this context (FS 10), among the fragments those of carinated bowls date the structure into the LBA, a fact, which in turn fits to the levels of this building layer.
South of w2/09/K and w4/09/K (see plate 22) a room can be supposed, the area filled with stones as could be seen in the section. The area has been too small to be excavated this excavation will be carried out in 2010.
To the west this floor borders upon the excavation area of the University of Saarbrücken.

 

The lower building layer (plates 22 )

The lower, older building shows nearly the same building direction as the younger one. Two walls, w1/09/K and w3/09/K form a corner of a room. The stone built walls are 1 m to 1.20 m wide and as such correspond in size and building technique to the palace walls! Especially wall w3/09/K consists of striking large stones up to 1.20 m wide. Wall w1/09/K runs into the southern section!, where the brick superstructure of this wall is still visible and preserved up to a height of 1.50m while w3/09/K runs into the western section.
Between w1/09/K and w3/09/K a floor of brick had been preserved at a niveau of 941.65 m (w1 upper layer preserved at level 942.68 m, w3/09/K upper layer 942.60 m) (niveau 941.65 m corresponds to the wall levels in the MBA palace rooms!).

 

Pottery

The pottery recovered from this deep trench stems from the LB II in the upper part and the MB II in the lower part.


Eastern Part
Hardly any diagnostic sherds were recovered in the small deep trench in the eastern part of the trench, but combed decoration of horizontal bands and a fragment of Levantine Painted Ware painted with bichrome straight and wavy bands indicate a MB II context.


Middle Part
Here again only few sherds were recovered, among them a badly preserved fragment of a biconical jug with geometric painting dating into the LBA II, a shape in the old excavation particularly prevalent in the context of the Schatzhaus and present from P4cd to Pb6, as well as MBA pottery like a rim of a flat bowl with vertically burnished interior, dating into the MB II, comb and ridge decoration, and a from base to shoulder preserved empty vessel, round bellied, with four evenly spread not preserved handles, dating into the MBA IIA.


Western Upper Part
The pottery that occurred in the context of walls w2/09/K and w4/09/K again shows a mix of LBA II and MBA II, with simple deep and funnel-shaped bowls of the LBA II, as well as carinated bowls and comb decoration of the MB II, some simple ridge decoration, and another Levantine Painted Ware fragment with straight and wavy horizontal bands, similar to the one mentioned above.
Of interest is a conical juglet with rounded base, irregularly painted with a collarette and horizontal bands on the body that form a starshape in the center of the base, and vertically burnished exterior, in shape similar to juglets from Hazor, dating into MB II7.


Western Lower Part
The pottery from the context of walls w1/09/K and w3/09/K still includes some few LBA sherds, but consists mostly of MBA II pottery, bowls with thickened rim, some burnished, small carinated pots, the regular comb-like decoration of shallow ridges all over the exterior of the vessel, as well as a high percentage of sherds, mostly from storage vessels, with ridge decoration and string impressions.
Also from this context stems a handle with a hieroglyphic scarab seal stamp portraying two ankhs in the upper half of the stamp, the lower half not being well enough conserved to recognize the hieroglyphs, in a simple frame, a possible connection to the MBA palace with its scarab stamp find.

 

Conclusions

The test trench east of the palace and in the immediate neighbourhood of the so called "Schatzhaus" delivered a variety of information concerning the history of the settlement development and of functions distributed over the site during the MBA / LBA.
The city of Kumidi as well as the MBA city had at their disposal a palace and in the immediate surrounding of those palace buildings of major importance (according to wall size and use of these buildings). Up to now we do not know what kind of activities had taken place in the newly discovered buildings nor do we know which functions they served. That they should have been connected to some official functions and to the palace can already be supposed and this assumption will be clarified with our future excavations.

 

With the excavations 2009 investigations begin in a new quarter of the Late Bronze Age city of Kumidi. New findings and insights into the architectural planning, the organization of space around the Late Bronze (and Middle Bronze) Age palace and into the layout of a for-mal used district can be expected in the following years.

 

1 Penner, S., Kamid el-Loz 19. Die Keramik der Spätbronzezeit, Saarbrücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 63, Bonn 2006: Abb. 46.3
Doumet-Serhal, C., The Early Bronze Age in Sidon – "College Site" Excavations (1998-2000-2001), Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique T. 178, Beirut 2006: Pl. 142.4
3 Adler, W., Penner, S., Kamid el-Loz 18. Die Spätbronzezeitlichen Palastanlagen Textband sowie Katalog- und Tafelband, Saarbrücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 62, Bonn 2001
Adler, W., Penner, S., Kamid el-Loz 18. Die Spätbronzezeitlichen Palastanlagen Textband sowie Katalog- und Tafelband, Saarbrücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 62, Bonn 2001: Palace P1/2
Penner, S., Kamid el-Loz 19. Die Keramik der Spätbronzezeit, Saarbrücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 63, Bonn 2006: S. 293
6 Penner, S., Kamid el-Loz 19. Die Keramik der Spätbronzezeit, Saarbrücker Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 63, Bonn 2006: S. 169f, Abb. 97.2
7 Yadin, Y., Hazor II - Excavations 1956, Jerusalem 1960: Pl. CXI.16-18

 

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