Bericht 2010/11

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Kamid el-Loz / Lebanon

Seasons 2010 and 2011 (M. Heinz)


Our period of excavation in 2010 and 2011 was each a short, but all successful one. We cordially thank Anne-Marie Afeiche, Raffi Gergian and Dr. Assad Saif for helping us with all we needed to start and carry out our work in Kamid el-Loz. We also thank the mayor of Kamid el-Loz, Haidar al Hajj, for his support. My sincere thank goes of course to our colleagues and friends of Kamid el-Loz as well as to the archaeological colleagues who took part in the 2010 and 2011 excavation: Alexandra Walther, Elisabeth Wagner, Julia Linke, Michael Leicht, Christian Krug, Lisa Kirsch and Antonietta Catanzariti. Hassan Yahya for the first time since many years could not be with us in Kamid el-Loz but as usual helped in many ways organizing both seasons! And another friend shall be mentioned who is accompanying and helping us continuously since years and is thus considered an irreplaceable friend, Georges Hanna.
As guests and researchers we again welcomed Hanna Hamel during our season of 2010, specialist for the Roman pottery, we also welcomed Ann-Kathrin Evers, who conducted the flotation of the season 2010 and Dr. Konstantin Pustovoytov, geoarchaeologist, 2011, the latter two both are at the same time representatives of our new cooperation partner PD Dr. Simone Riehl, Freiburg. And at this point I would like to express explicitly my sincere thank to Isa Saati, who as our colleague and friend its organizing the daily work on our excavation since the very beginning of our activities in Kamid el-Loz!
General information concerning our aims and scientific interests in Kamid el-Loz...

... can be read up in our most recent report about the excavations in Kamid el-Loz in the years of 2008 and 2009 in BAAL 14 (forthcoming 2012; there see amongst others the chapters: I. Kamid el-Loz: From village to city and back again? The settlement history; II. The settlement evidence from the Roman and Hellenistic periods - a short review (M.H.; III. The Archaeological Evidence - The Iron Age; IV. Archaeological Evidence - The Late Bronze Age; V. Between Late Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age; VII. Middle Bronze Age Chronology in the Levant: Identifying an Adequate Chronology for Kamid el-Loz; VIII. Closing Reflections; IX. Catalogue of the Small Finds). Former reports also inform explicitly about our scientific aim and ideas concerning the development of Kamid-el-Loz through the ages. See below our current list of publications concerning Kamid el-Loz:

Wagner 2015
E. Wagner, The life of the dead in Kamid el-Loz/Lebanon - settlement and burials related, in: P. Pfälzner - E. Pernicka - H. Niehr (Hrsg.), Symbols of the Dead, Wagner, E., The life of the dead in Kamid el-Loz/Lebanon - settlement and burials related, in: Pfälzner, P.; Pernicka E.; Niehr, H.; (ed.) Symbols of the Dead, "Contributions to the Archaeology of Egypt and the Levant". QSS 3, Wiesbaden 2015, 51 ff.
Heinz - Kulemann-Ossen 2013

2013 (mit Kulemann-Ossen, S.) The Norther Levant (Lebanon) during the Late Bronze Age) in: Killebrew, A., Steiner, M., (Hg.), Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant. Oxford 2013.

Heinz - Linke 2012
M.Heinz - J. Linke, Hyperculture, tradition and identity: How to communicate with seals in times of global action. A Middle Bronze Age seal impression from Kamid el-Loz, in: J. Maran - P.Stockhammer (Hrsg.), Materiality and Social Practice. Transformative Capacities of Intercultural Encounters (2012)
Heinz (ed.) 2010/2012
M. Heinz (ed.), Report on the excavations in Kamid el-Loz 2008-2009. Together with J.M. Müller, J. Linke, E. Wagner und A. Walther. With contributions by Antonietta Catanzeriti and Martin Weber, Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises 14 (2010 / 2012), 9-134
Heinz (2010/2011)

Kamid el-Loz/Kumidi, Lebanon: a brief overview of the Middle Bronze Age city, Berytus Vol. LIII-LIV, 2010-2011, 39-46.

Catanzeriti (2010/2011)
A. Catanzeriti, Middle Bronze Age Ceramic Vessels from Kamid el-Loz, Berytus Vol. LIII-LIV, 2010-2011, 47-80.
Heinz 2011
M. Heinz, Kamid el-Loz: 800 ans de la vie d'une cité de la Beqa'a au Liban, L'AcheóThema Revue d'archéologie et d'histoire, 2011, 70-73
Heinz (Hrsg.) 2010
M. Heinz (Hrsg.), Kamid el-Loz. Intermediary between Cultures. More than 10 Years of Archaeological Research in Kamid el-Loz (1997-2007). With contributions by Sabina Kulemann-Ossen, Julia Linke, Elisabeth Wagner, Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises; Hors-serie VII (Beirut 2010)
Heinz - Vollmer (Hrsg.) 2010
M. Heinz - W. Vollmer (Hrsg.), Libanon. Treffpunkt der Kulturen; eine archäologische Perspektive (Berlin 2010)
Heinz 2009
M. Heinz, Imports - Consumer Goods, Gifts or Private Property? The Story behind the Material Evidence for External Relations of Late Bronze Age Kumidi, in: Interconnection in the Eastern Mediterranean. Lebanon in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Proceedings of the International Symposium Beirut 2008, Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises; Hors-serie VI (Beirut 2009) 311 ff.
Heinz 2008
M. Heinz, Kamid el-Loz: The Levant, Inner Syria and Mesopotamia, in: C. Doumet-Serhal (Hrsg.), Networking patterns of the Bronze and Iron Age Levant: The Lebanon and its Mediterranean connections; on the occasion of the Symposium "Interconnections in the Eastern Mediterranean - the Lebanon in the Bronze and Iron Ages", 4 - 9 November 2008, Beirut, Archaeology and History of Lebanon (Beirut 2008) 105–120
Heinz 2008
M. Heinz, Archaeological Research in Conflict Areas: Practice and Responsibilities, Archaeologies 4, 2008, 460–470
Heinz u. a. 2007/2008
M. Heinz – S. Kulemann-Ossen – M. Leicht, Kamid el-Loz. A Reloading Point in Long-distance Trade during the Hellenistic Period?, in: H. Charaf (Hrsg.), Inside the Levantine Maze. Archaeological and Historical Studies Presented to Jean-Paul Thalmann in the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday. In collaboration with Claude Doumet-Serhal, Anne Rabate and Andrea Resek, Archaeology and History of Lebanon 26-27 (2007/2008) 168–181
Heinz et al. 2006
M. Heinz – S. Kulemann-Ossen – J. Linke – E. Wagner, Notes on the 2005 season at Kamid el-Loz. From the Romans to the Late Bronze Age, Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises 10, 2006, 85–96
Kulemann-Ossen 2006
S. Kulemann-Ossen, Notes on the Late Bronze Age pottery from Kamid el-Loz, Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises 10, 2006, 97-101
Heinz et al. 2004
M. Heinz - C. Leschke - J. Nieling - E. Wagner - E. John - C. von Rueden - A. Groß - L. Lengerich, Kamid el-Loz in the Beqa'a plain / Lebanon, Excavations in 2001, 2002 and 2004; Bulletin d'Archéologie et d'Architecture Libanaises 8, 2004
Heinz 2004
M. Heinz, Kamid el-Loz: From Village to City and Back to Village. 3000 Years of Settlement History in the Beqa'a-Plain, in: C. Doumet-Serhal (Hrsg.), Decade. A decade of archaeology and history in the Lebanon = une décennie (1995 - 2004) (Beirut 2004) 562-581.
Heinz 2000
M. Heinz, Kamid el-Loz - Knotenpunkt überregionaler Fernstraßen und Sitz des ägyptischen Statthalters in der Beqa'a-Ebene, Antike Welt 2000, 359-368
Aims and interests 2010 - 2011

The study of the built environment in its continuities and changes, the analysis of the space design and its development, the determination of the use of the built space - for the life of the living but as well as for the life of the dead, the exploring of the small finds and the pottery development, their dissemination in space, their forms, materials, and after all, their usage patterns and functions have been some of our research topics in Kamid el-Loz during our research on site in 2010 and 2011. 

Our work focused on the Palace Area and on the neighboring "Administrative" Area (2010 and 2011) as well as on the living quarter west of the temple realm (2011).
  • Our actual aims in 2010 and 2011 in the Palace Area have been to reconstruct the layout and to establish the typology of the Late Bronze Age as well as of the Middle Bronze Age palace architecture and to track the building history of the palaces of Kamid el-Loz. We recorded the pottery and small finds,    the inventories and the installations typical for the public buildings of the time and tried to determine the activities carried out in the palaces during the Late and Middle Bronze Age. The palace, so our hypothesis, has been segregated from the daily business of a residential area throughout its history, but was integrated at the same time in an environment of monumental buildings.
  • Two corresponding buildings have been placed in the immediate eastern neighborhood of the palace, the so called"Administrative" Area during the Middle and the Late Bronze Age. We are exploring their forms, their functions, the activities carried out here, their functional relationship to the palaces and thus their significance for the urban Kamid el-Loz.
  • In 2011 we have expanded our research on the Area immediately west of the Temple. The area has been used, during the Late Bronze Age as well as during the Middle Bronze Age as residential area. During the Middle Bronze Age the settlers also buried the dead within this quarter. The resultsof a small sondage, carried out 2007, in  building A resp. in its courtyard, no. ct 4, led to the assumption, that not only regular funeral services have been made in this residential area (but at a time when it was temporarily abandoned), but that at a certain time a mass grave has been created in this location. In 2011 we wanted to verify whether this assumption is correct and if so, what actually had happened, when this grave had been set and what its temporal relationship was with the Middle and Late Bronze age residential houses.

Preliminary insights - comments in the archaeological results 2010-2011

Every season we move some steps forward in our achaeological exploration and every season we add puzzle stones to the picture of the social, political, religious, economic and thus the cultural life in Kamid el-Loz that we are trying to understand and to explain. Our reflections concerning the events, the architectural developments, the images of the settlements, the space design, the functions and activities located in houses, areas and within the settlements as well as the life of the living and the "life" of the dead can be broadened season by season as can the analysis of pottery and small finds. The following reflections, mainly related to the build environment, are based on the outcomes of our work including the results of 2010 and 2011. They are not more yet than preliminary thoughts concerning the life in Kamid el-Loz through the ages - and should be read in connection with our considerations concerning the history of Kamid el-Loz already published.
History of Events
Twice during the Middle Bronze Age (about 2000 - 1550 B.C.) did Kamid el-Loz burn! And at least the palace area and the area of the administrative district were strongly affected.
The Palace Area

The Middle Bronze Age (2000 - 1550 B. C.) (plates 3 and 4)
After the first fire-disaster had struck the palace area during the MBA II, destroying the older MBA II palace (plate 4) the inhabitants of Kamid el-Loz re-erected a monumental building, the younger MBA II palace, on the rubble of the burnt predecessor (the older MBA II palace). When the fire hit the area a second time and destroyed the palace again (now the younger MBA II palace), the reaction was different. Obviously had those living afterwards in Kamid el-Loz seen no need, had no means or where not allowed (?) to rebuild a palace again. The site underwent a functional alteration. On top of the burnt "palace-rubble" did the inhabitants of Kamid el-Loz build a small living house (see our report in BAAL 14, forthcoming), a functional transformation that had taken place during the late MBA II. Only at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age did those then responsible for the construction activities in Kamid el-Loz rededicate the location to the older function and erected once more a building of monumental size, now the earliest LBA palace. Although we do not yet know the political story behind the events (a theme that is explored for the time), first considerations concerning the actors involved are possible. Whatever designation we give the monumental building affected, palace, monumental house, official building - the effort to erect a building of its size had been invested twice, had then been interrupted and then again been repeated. We may also say: a tradition had evolved, was then interrupted and, after this discontinuation, re-invented again. If so, the question is, who those had been who invented, and carried on, the tradition and who those had been who used the spot for a small residential building, integrating the walls - and thus knowing about the existence - of the older monumental structure? Change of function, interruption of a tradition - who dares to do the latter? People who have not been socialized in this tradition and for whom the monumental building respectively the rubble of this building was not more than exactly this - rubble, or people who had not benefited from this tradition and would thus have been most interested in preventing every visible reminder? The re-use of the location for again erecting a monumental building raises comparable questions concerning the builders - and more.
The Late Bronze Age (1550 - 1200 B.C.) (plates 3 and 4)
The MBA II monumental building had mostly been covered by the burnt rubble of its brick walls as well as of the burnt brick rubble produced by the fire-destruction of the small house. Those who erected the LBA I palace however did use the older stone foundations of the MBA II building, integrated it into the new structure and even led some walls of the new structure exactly parallel to the older walls (see below for the detailed report on the construction and design of both the younger MBA II palace ant its LBA I successor). How could they know about this older structure that had been completely covered and even partly overbuild? How did the knowledge survive? Or was it rather that those building the new palace (LBA I) accidentally came across the older walls and used them where they were useful? The function of the location, site of a palace, a monumental or public building thus was take up again, the type of building however changed and followed a new layout.
The fire disaster that hit the palace area twice had obviously also destroyed the next door district to the east, the so called administrative area.

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The Administrative Area /EB IV/MB I, MB II, LB I; ca. 2000 - 1400 B.C. (plates 5-8)


The MBA II - buildings
Earlier during the MB II a massive stone wall (the older MB II structure),either part of a monumental building or serving as sustaining wall, had been built close to the hillside, as the sections of our 2011 excavation show (plates 6-7) (for stratigraphical details and for details on the construction see our excavation report in BAAL, forthcoming). While the northern facade of the stone wall shows signs of very heavy burning, the area south of it is filled with burnt brick rubble and burnt brick rubble covered the top to that wall. Our current reflection on the massive wall is the following: Its placement at the very edge of the hill made this structure on the one hand a very exposed one, if it had been a wall of a freestanding house - a designation which we consider at the moment being less likely. It is the landfill, leveling the slope north of the wall which leads us to call this construction rather a sustaining "screen" than a house wall! The bank of earth together with the massive wall created the foundation layer for the building activities that followed the vast destruction. At the same time did this construction prevent the burnt rubble from slipping down the slope.
The leveling north of the wall and the heaps of burnt brick south of it where thus used, as observed in the neighbored palace area, as base of the upper resp. younger MB II building. The younger MB II architecture so far known consists of a larger building or courtyard, stretching to the south, and a smaller room or courtyard, connected to the larger one and oriented to the north (plate 6). This younger MB II structure experienced the same fate as the younger MB II palace, it burnt down. The fire left huge masses of brick rubble which anew served as base for the later LB I building (plate 6), which likewise - and again like the palace of the LB I, had been destroyed by fire. The architectural character (and thus the functional use!?) of the administrative area did, during the LBA I, correspond to the space design known from the MB II period. The builders in charge erected once more a major construction, which overbuilt the MBA II monumental structure, and they also established the so called "Schatzhaus" (treasure house) as well as the so called "Werkstatt" (workshop).
Another similarity with the palace area emerges, that might hint, once again, at an intermediate functional designation of the administrative area after the second MB II fire destruction and before the re-building of the location for administrative purposes at the beginning of Late Bronze Age (LB I). West of the MBA II building had a tannourbeen placed and next to this a child being buried in a pot (plate 6). This pot had been damaged and the skeleton torn into pieces, when the MBA II wall of the younger monumental building collapsed and fell on the top of this space. The pottery around the burial was rather LBA I than MBA II - and the question at the moment being unanswered is: When did the MBA II wall collapse? It is not impossible that here, as well as in the palace area, a transitory functional change took place and that the use of the location as a burial space represents likewise an intermediate utilization of the then burnt and devastated area.
The MB II / LB I - destructive (!) history of the palace and the administrative area are thus comparable, the building history has still to be explored in more detail to compare both areas. The palace area, during the MB II, had first been used for building monumental structures, followed by a functional change, when the small house had been erected. A second functional change came off resp. the spot saw the revival of the older function, when the LB I palace was built.
The administrative area also shows the sequence of monumental architecture during the MB II, but it is too early to definitely define the function of the older MB II structure, the massive wall.
Installations - MB II / LB I
Installations occurring east of the buildings still have to be clarified in function and chronology. The round structure, formed by a stone circle, a gypsum plastered round floor and a large vessel placed in the middle of this gypsum floor (an installation so far only known from the LBA temple area, dating most likely into the LBA period. The long oval structure had been erected on the top of the brick rubble that overlies the older MB II wall. Its function and way of use (filled with a dense package of ashes) as well as its final chronological assignment remain to be clarified.

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North of the massive stone wall (plate 8) did a stone built structure occur, one layer of stones that contained vessels, placed there on purpose in a trough that was an integral component of the wall-like stone setting. According to the pottery we should face here the chronological transition from the EB IV to the MB I period.
The Residential Area and the Middle Bronze age burial pit (2000 - 1550 B.C.) (plate 9)
A further history of alternating uses and functional changes can be shown in the residential area west of the temple (for details see below and our report in BAAL, forthcoming). Obviously had the MBA II settlement been abandoned at the end of the MB II for an intermediate period. The reason for this has still to be found out, the impacts can be demonstrated. Unlike in the palace and administrative area did the residential area show no evidence of fire destruction. Instead we found heavily eroded pottery fragments in the area that rather hint a period where the MBA II houses had been left open. This assumption, that the area might have been temporarily abandoned, is reinforced by the excavation results in house A. In the courtyard of the LBA I house A had a burial pit been embedded, containing the remains of ten dead persons. Complete skeletons as well as many single bones filled this pit, some of the bones showed signs of violence and excessive force. The pottery found in the pit clearly date into the MBA II period. The pit must have been installed before house A had been erected during the Late Bronze Age I - walls wt 3 and wt 5 of house A overbuilt the pit!
So what happened in Kamid el-Loz during the second millennium B.C.?
The historical events that led to the two major fire destructions in Kamid el-Loz are still unexplored, their investigation and reconstruction is part of the ongoing research. It is, moreover, a question still unanswered, why after the first fire disaster those living in Kamid el-Loz were able to rebuilt the city, while the second blaze changed the local living conditions profoundly. It is thus of major interest to explain the circumstances that led to the intermezzi as well as to find out, who the "actors" had been at the time. And another question becomes virulent. After the transitional functional change those responsible for rebuilding Kamid el-Loz re-introduced in all three areas the originally located functions. But how did the knowledge about the former functions survive the transitional period? And who were those who had this knowledge at their disposal? A last thought shall be given to the burials. The previously known MBA II burial customs in Kamid el-Loz point out that burying the dead within the settlement and at times when the settlement and houses were still occupied, was the exception in Kamid el-Loz. Our latest insights concerning the burial customs seem to confirm this. In Kamid el-Loz did the life of the living and the "life" of the dead, as a rule, belong to two different spheres. The settlement  was for the living, the dead had to be outside, an abandoned settlements seems to have complied with this demand.
And, as Lisa Kirsch, the excavator of the burial pit, marked (in Kamid el-Loz, 2011):
The probably violent death of at least two people and the cutting up of several of the individuals (whether this treatment caused their death or was done after they had died, is up to know unclear) may indicate warlike conditions in the area. The mass grave has been set up during MBA II, the houses above were built during the LBA I period. What actually happened during this time span is still unknown. Interestingly enough, after the MBA II the temple area shows a hiatus and was only resettled during the LBA I. At the end of the MB II, the temple-building, the palace and the administrative area all suffered from violent destruction. The residential area however was just abandoned, signs of fire have not yet been located. What actually happened in Kamid el-Loz and whether the interruption of the settlement activities, the violent destruction of large areas of the settlement and the violent death of so many people were causally connected, remains an open question at the moment.

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