The Iron Age Fortresses at En Haseva
Rudolph Cohen; Yigal Yisrael

The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 58, No. 4, Pots & People. (Dec., 1995), pp. 223-235.

(The Iron Age Fortresses at En Haseva, Rudolph Cohen, 1995 AD)

Aerial view of To Haseva. The gate complex of the massive 100 x 100 m Stratum V fortress lies in the upper right hand quadrant (northeast). The fortress's inset-offset walls peak through at the perimeter of the excavated area. The wall system connects three towers in the northwest, southwest, and southeast corners. The western wall of the Roman era fortress, Stratum 2, is prominent near the center of the photo, to the left of the modern building. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

By Rudolph Cohen and Yigal Yisrael

Astonishing assemblage of clay vessels and stone altars highlights the recent discoveries unearthed at the Arabah site of En Haseva.1 The fortresses at this crucial commercial crossroads were among the most immense of the region during the Iron Age and Roman Periods. In an article last year (BA 57:4119941), we outlined the Roman, Nabatean, and Iron Age remains at (En Haseva and presented arguments for the identification of the site with the biblical Tamar and the Tamara mentioned in Roman and Byzantine sources. The termination of fieldwork at the site at the end of this past summer (July 1995) offers the chance to display the reconstructed vessels from what was probably an Edomite shrine and to supply further details concerning (En Haseva's Iron Age history. In particular, the remains of an additional fortress (Stratum 6), earlier in date than the two previously uncovered (Strata 4, 5), now complete the stratigraphical sequence at the site.

The Iron Age Strata (Strata 4, 5, 6)

The work at (En Haseva has now distinguished six occupation levels (from the latest to the earliest):

(1) Late Byzantine and Early Islamic Periods (sixth-seventh centuries CE)

(2) Late Roman Period (third-fourth centuries CE)

(3) Nabatean and Early Roman Periods (first-second centuries CE)

(4) Iron Age (seventh-sixth centuries BCE)

(5) Iron Age (ninth-eighth centuries BCE)

(6) Iron Age (tenth century BCE)

Of three fortresses attributed to the Iron Age, the earliest (Stratum 6) probably dates to the tenth century BCE, to the period of the United Monarchy. The Stratum 5 fortress, the largest and best-preserved of the three, has been ascribed to the ninth-eighth centuries BCE. The latest fortress (Stratum 4), apparently concurrent with the Edomite Shrine and accompanying cult remains, and possibly constructed by Josiah (second half of the seventh century BCE), was destroyed after a relatively short existence around the time of the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE).

Stratum 4

As previously reported (Cohen 1994:208), only the eastern side of the Stratum 4 fortress (ca. 36 m long) with two projecting towers (ca. 14 m apart) was cleared. The southeastern tower (11x11 m; its walls ca. 1.5 m in width) was completely cleared. One side of the northeastern tower was built atop an earlier Stratum 5 casemate wall, while the other side lay beneath Late Roman and Nabatean period remains (Strata 2-3).

The ceramic assemblage from this stratum belongs to the seventh-sixth centuries BCE. On this basis, we suggest that the Stratum 4 fortress was constructed during the reign of Josiah (639-609 BCE) and destroyed at about the same time as the First Temple in Jerusalem (586 BCE; Cohen 1994:208).

Though the last three seasons of excavation uncovered no major architectural remains that could clarify the plan of this structure, the area near the northeastern tower offered a very important find in 1994: a circular, polished seal. Made of choice stone, the hemispherical seal measures 22 mm in diam-eter and is 15 mm thick. Two standing, apparently bearded, male figures are skillfully and delicately engraved on this seal. They face one another and are dressed in long gowns. Between them is a tall horned altar. The figure on the left stands with one hand raised heavenward in a gesture of blessing, while the figure on the right stands with one hand raised in a ges-ture of offering. Above the figures are two lines of engraved Edomite script (deciphered by Prof. Joseph Naveh): lmskt bn wljzm ("belonging to mkt son of wljzm"). This seal may have belonged to one of the priests serving in the shrine uncov-ered at (En Haseva (see below). A seal discovered at Horvat Qitmit depicts a similar figure (Beit-Arieh 1991:99; Beit-Arieh and Beck 1987:19).

The group of cult vessels, described below with the Edomite Shrine in which they were found, also belongs to this time period.

The Edomite Shrine

The crowning discovery of the 1993 excavating season was without a doubt the group of vessels of a cultic nature found in the northern part of the site. Excavators found the assemblage at the foot of the fortifications of the large (Stra-tum 5) fortress, near the remains of a small structure (6.5x2.5 m) whose walls are 0.7 m thick. This shrine appears similar in plan to a structure exposed several years ago at Hor-vat Qitmit, some 45 km northwest of (En Haseva, which was identified as an Edomite shrine (Beit-Arieh 1988; 1991). The vessels—smashed by ashlars of varying sizes which were placed on top of them and which probably were removed from the shrine —were found in a pit nearby and east of the shrine. The nearly six months of intensive work required to restore these important finds proved worthwhile in light of the over-whelming results.2 Our restorations confirmed that the shattered vessels had been placed in the pit intact: we were able to find and restore every piece of each vessel. At Horvat Qitmit, only a few objects were complete even after restoration.

The assemblage included sixty-seven day objects and sevenUnearthed in

the final stratum of (En Haseva's Iron Age life, this circular stone

stamp seal (22 mm in diameter) bears an engraving of two bearded, robed figures standing before a horned altar. An Edomite inscription runs above their heads: lmskt

bn wham ("belonging to mskt son of wtrzm"). Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The architecture of the Edomite shrine surfaced outside the Stratum 5 fortifications at the northern limits of the site. The small structure apparently dates to the late seventh or early sixth centuries BCE. The smashed vessels were found nearby. The elongated style of the

building, dissimilar to domestic buildings of this period, reinforces its identification as a cultic building. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

stone altars of varying sizes. Though the scientific study of this important collection is in its preliminary stage, we have discerned nine types of vessels among the ceramic objects (Cohen and Yisrae11995, Cohen and Yisrael in press): three anthropomorphic stands; eight stands; fifteen incense

burners in the shape of fenestrated pedestaled bowls; eleven incense burners decorated with projecting lugs; eleven chalices; five tripod—perforated cup-shaped incense burn-ers; five small bowls; two incense shovels with projecting handles; three tiny whole pomegranates and four larger incom-plete specimens used to decorate incense burners.

One of the anthropomorphic stands recovered may be the figure of a woman carrying a bowl. The head and body were wheelmade; facial and other features—eyes, ears, nose, mouth and chin—were marked by added pieces of clay modeled by hand. Long locks of hair were affixed to the head, and traces of reddish-brown paint remain visible.

The stands included one which served as the base for one of the anthropomorphic figures, cylindrical stands, and cylin-drical stands adorned with figures in relief Very crudely-fashioned human and animal figures were attached to one of the dec-orated fenestrated cylindrical stands. The upper part of the stand was decorated with two sheep, one opposite the other, with two identical clay human figures between them. A string of lugs encircles the stand, and above it four doves in flight grace the top of the stand. Traces of the join marks are visible.

One other object deserving mention is a stone sculpture—perhaps representing a god—with what may be very stylized human attributes.

The anthropomorphic figures, as well as other objects in our assemblage, are reminiscent of finds from the Edomite shrine at Horvat Qitmit .3

Apparently this unusual collection can be ascribed to the end of the seventh or the beginning of the sixth cen-turies BCE and can probably be connected in some way to the remains of the late Stratum 4 Iron Age fortress. We attribute this fortress to the reign of Josiah (639-609 BCE), the last period of efflorescence and expansion of the Judean monarchy before the Babylonian conquest. The smashing of the cult vessels may have been part of Josiah's religious reform (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chr 34-35).

According to the biblical historian, the wide-ranging reforms instituted by Josiah in Judea, initiated because the Book of the Law was found in the Temple in Jerusalem, included repair-ing the Temple, removing the worship of strange gods from Jerusalem and the surrounding villages, and dismantling the high places found within the boundaries of his kingdom. Although our investigations and analysis of the material are still in progress, both the archaeological record and biblical accounts lead us to believe that the shrine was a high place dedicated to one of the "abominations" which King Josiah destroyed in Jerusalem, Beth-el, and other cities of Judea (2 Kgs 23:5-20), and throughout all the land of Israel (2 Chr 34:3- 7).

The cultic nature of the shrine at (En Haseva is suggested by its distinctive architectural features, which are quite dif-ferent from ordinary residential structures. There is some noteworthy architectural resemblance between the remains of the shrine at (En Haseva and that at Horvat Qitmit.

The prodigious presence of cultic vessels and ritual instal-lations at the site also points to the presence of a shrine.

Head of an unusual three-horned goddess from Horvat Qitmit. This as yet unidentified goddess was part of an assemblage of about five hundred complete or fragmentary figurines and reliefs gathered at the site. The collection shares many iconographic similarites with that of 'En Haseva. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Moreover, some of the (En Haseva finds—especially the anthro-pomorphic stands—are similar to those from Horvat Qitmit. The stand, decorated with relief figures of sheep and humans apparently also has a parallel among the finds from Horvat Qitmit, where, however, the figurines were unearthed sepa-rated from the stands (Beit-Arieh 1991:109-110, fig.19;13eit-Arieh and Beck 1987:14-15).

What was the function of the anthropomorphic pottery in a shrine—were these idols of the gods? The clay human fig-ures likely represent the priests from the shrine or other worshippers; they are probably not representations of gods. Beck came to a similar conclusion regarding the Horvat Qitmit assemblage, suggesting that the statues represent "wor-shippers, who donated them to serve as constant reminders before the gods, in order to obtain their blessing and protec-tion" (Beit-Arieh and Beck 1987:26). The homed goddess figurine from Horvat Qitmit is the obvious exception to this (Beck 1986; Beit-Arieh 1991:110-111; Beit-Arieh and Beck 1987:27-28).

Where does one look for the origins of the artistic tradi-tion of the pottery? Beck found Phoenician elements and various Transj ordanian traditions in the iconographic mate-rial from Horvat Qitmit (Beck 1986; Beit-Arieh and Beck

The Edomite Shrine

Artifacts from cEn Haseva The collection of restored cult vessels (above) includes cult stands, pottery incense burners, chalices, tripod-perforated cup- shaped incense burners, incense shovels with projecting handles, and diminutive stone incense altars. Moving clockwise: a multiple tiered fenestrated incense burner topped with four birds in flight; anthrpomorphic stand of a woman carrying a bowl; a profile view of one of the anthropomorphic stands; three large pomegranates, decorative elements for an incense burner; and one of the small limestone incense altars, a prominent aspect of the religious material culture in Judea and elsewhere. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

1987:23-31). She stressed the fact that although the remains from Horvat Qitmit are "well rooted in the religious iconog-raphy of the Near East in general and of the Levant in particular, ...there are ...aspects which...mark a departure from old tra-dition by the creation of new artistic forms" (Beck 1995:189). We agree with her that the human figures cannot be the work of Judean artists, but may very well be that of Edomite or some other foreign artisans (Beck 1995:189-190). Furthermore, these two assemblages may represent the archaeological expression of what is known in current literature on the ancient cult in Judea as popular religion (Ackerman 1992; Dever 1994).

Several vessels from this assemblage were used for offer-ings or burning incense. Potters created these vessels in two parts: the upper part is a bowl whose edges are (almost always) decorated with projecting triangles, also called denticulated fringe decoration (Beit-Arieh 1995:253). A long, narrow clay pipe protrudes from the center of the bottom of the bowl to fit, funnel-like, into a larger pipe emerging from the top of the base of the incense-burner. The decoration of projecting tri-angles at the edges of bowls or other vessels is known from the finds exposed in the Edomite stratum at Tell el-Kheleifeh (Glueck 1967:37, 38, figs. 2:6a-6c, 5:2; Pratico 1985:25, fig. 15:9) and at Buseirah (Bennett 1974:Fig. 16:4) and Kadesh-Barnea (Cohen 1983b:xx). Sometimes the projecting triangles found on (En Haseva bowls are pierced so that an object—perhaps a pomegranate like those found in the (En Haseva assem-blage could be hung from them. The three tiny pomegranates in our collection may have been intended for hanging on just such a small vessel, while the larger pomegranates were meant for a larger vessel. Similar pomegranates were also found at Horvat Qitmit (Beit-Arieh 1988:41; Beit-Arieh and Beck 1987:17). The bases of some of these two-part cultic vessels were engraved prior to firing in a kiln; one of them is engraved with a bull.

A significant proportion of the (En Haseva assemblage includes both clay and stone incense burners of different types that are known from several sites in Judea and other regions (Gitin 1993).

A major difference between the (En Haseva and Horvat Qitmit assemblages is their discovery location. The objects found at Horvat Qitmit were found on the floors of the shrine, while the finds from (En Haseva were uncovered in a pit or favissa. Furthermore, they were found crushed by ashlars. This and other differences between the (En Haseva and Horvat Qitmit assemblages suggest that there is also a chronologi-cal difference between them. While the Horvat Qitmit finds are dated to shortly before or soon after the end of the Judean state, the collection at (En Haseva, as well as the construc-tion of the shrine, may have emerged earlier from religious trends existing during the time of King Manasseh (ca. 698-642 BCE). Manasseh is charged by the biblical record with engag-ing in idol worship (2 Kgs 21:1-16; 2 Chr 33:1-19), setting up once again the high places, and installing a sculpted image in the holy Temple (2 Kgs 21:3, 7; 2 Chr 33:3, 7). The historian J. Bright, based on biblical passages, describes Manasseh thusly:

...Manasseh's policy represented a total break with that of

Hezekiah and a return to that of Ahaz... [As a vassal of

The large gate complex of Stratum 5 measured ca. 15X13 m and consisted of six piers, creating four chambers, and a corridor or courtyard that may have led to an outer gate. Similar structures have been unearthed at Tel Jezreel and Tell el-Kheleifeh. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Assyria[...Manasseh apparently felt impelled to pay homage to his overlord's god; altars to astral deities, probably of Mesopotamian origin were erected in the Temple itself. But Manasseh's actions went much farther than this and constituted a thorough-going repudiation of the reform party and all its works. The local shrines of Yahweh, which Hezekiah had attempted to suppress, were restored. Pagan cults and practices of both native and foreign were allowed to flourish, with apparatus of the fertility religion and the ritual of sacred prostitution being tolerated even within the Temple...Divination and magic...were the vogue in were foreign fashions of various sorts..." (1981:312).

Stratum 5 (The Middle Fortress)

Remains of an earlier Iron Age fortress (ninth-eighth centuries BCE) were first discovered in 1987 in well-recorded stratigraphy (Cohen 1994). The 1992-1995 seasons were dedi-cated principally to exposing the plan and outline of this fortress.

The large Stratum 5 fortress (100x100 m) was surrounded by an inset-offset casemate wall with three corner towers pro-jecting approximately 3 m from the wall. Casemate-rooms (2.1 m in width) appeared on all sides of the fortress, but no tower was found in the northeastern corner; builders had inten-tionally filled most of the rooms with earth. Their walls exhibit various states of preservation—from a height of ca. 4.5 m to

nothing more than foundations.4

Excavations also exposed casemate-rooms on either side of the beautifully preserved, four-chambered gate (Cohen 1994:210). Two of these rooms yielded a pottery assemblage which included a number of complete ceramic and stone ves-sels characteristic of the ninth-eighth centuries BCE: a cooking-pot, juglets, a storage jar, and an Achzib-type jug (Phoenician red-slipped ware). Alongside this collection was a stone bowl placed on a stone stand; in the bowl was a pottery bowl that con-tained a clay lamp. Nearby was a round stone massebah(?).

The last three years of excavation saw to the final clearing of the large gate-complex (ca. 15.0x12.8 m). In addition to the four chambers and piers found inside the gate (Cohen 1994:210), a long open corridor/courtyard (13.6-14.0 m wide) was found immediately outside, probably leading to the outer gate of the fortress. The walls of this corridor/courtyard were 2 m wide and the length of the eastern wall was 25 m. There was a struc-ture attached to the 18 m western wall. The structure (9x4 m), a bastion or rooms related to the outer gate, contained two adjacent chambers. In addition to its resemblance to the fortress-gate at Tell el-Kheleifeh (Glueck 1939:9,13-14, fig. 1; Pratico 1985; 1986), this fortress-gate is also very similar to—although better preserved than—the gatehouse uncovered at Tel Jezreel (Ussishkin and Woodhead 1994:13-24)

Excavations also uncovered a storeroom complex (maga-zines) and granaries in Stratum 5 stratigraphy (Cohen 1994:208-12). The storeroom complex consisted of three parallel long rooms. They were located south of the gate and adjacent to the inner southwestern corner of the gate complex (Cohen 1994:208). The rooms were 1.5-2.6 m wide and 172 m long, with walls 1.0-1.3 m thick, most preserved to a height of 3 m. No floors were found and, like the casemate-rooms, the storerooms were filled with earth. A long parallel corri-dor (ca. 3.5 m in width, its walls 1.0-1.2 m wide) separated this complex from what-ever structures may have stood to its north. Structures of this type, considered to be storehouses (Currid 1992:102-7; Shiloh 1970:184), stables (Holladay 1986), barracks (Fritz 1977), or market places (Herr 1988), are known at various impor-tant sites of the Iron Age II, like Beersheva (Aharoni 1973:14-15; Herzog 1973) and Horvat Tov (Cohen 1985; 1988/89).

Two granaries emerged near the mag-azines. The largest, east of the storeroom unit, was ca. as m in diameter, built of undressed stones, and preserved to the height of ca. 0.5 m. Its plastered floor offered burnt wheat and barley remains. The granary also contained two com-plete vessels: a large decorated flask and a jug. The outer wall of the second gra-nary, which stood to the north of the long storeroom complex and was built above

Stratum 6 wall remains, was constructed of clay bricks and preserved to the height of approximately 1.2 m. Its floor was paved with crude silex (flint) stones. Since remains similar to those found in the first granary were not uncovered in this structure, we cannot be sure that it was, in fact, a granary. The immense size of the Stratum 5 fortress (1 ha) suggests that cEn Haseva should be considered a fortified city and not merely a fortress. Its groundplan has several features in com- mon with that of the fortress uncovered at Tel Jezreel (Ussishkin and Woodhead 1994), thought to be the central military base in the Israelite Kingdom (Ussishkin and Woodhead 1994:47).5 Furthermore, it is not surprising that its first phase resembles the plan of the fortress at Tell el-Kheleifeh (Stratum II) (Glueck 1939; 1940:12-13; Pratico 1985; 1986) since they were all most likely built during the same time period.

Stratum 6 (The Early Fortress)

Among the earliest remains uncovered at cEn Haseva are those of a rectangular structure (ca. 13.0x11.5 m) that may belong to the tenth century BCE. Uncovered beneath the piers of the fortress gate and to its west and south, the walls of the structure were built of silex. The impressive southwestern corner, built of large silex blocks, is preserved to the height of more than a meter. It appears to be a fortress, similar in plan to those found at several Iron Age sites in the central Negev (Cohen 1995).

Diggers retrieved a complete handmade Negbite cooking-pot, made of rather coarse ware and exhibiting very crude manufacturing, from the southeastern room of this fortress. Negbite ware has been found at Tell el-Kheleifeh (Glueck 1939:13f; 1940:17f; Pratico 1985:23f) and in all three fortresses uncovered at Kadesh-Barnea (Cohen 1981;1983a), dating from the tenth to the beginning of the sixth centuries BCE.

The Iron Age History of 'En Haseva

The history of (En Haseva is a rich and varied one. We are now able to tell the story of a site at the center of reli-gious, political, social, and military activities. Sitting at a major crossroads, it served local inhabitants, travelers, com-mercial caravans, and soldiers not only during the Iron Age but throughout the later Nabatean and Roman periods as well.We have described the Iron Age finds. Now it is time to interpret them.

The small Stratum 4 shrine and its assemblage of clay and stone cult vessels establishes (En Haseva as a cult site along one of the Arabian trade routes apparently already in exis-tence (Van Beek 1960:75-82; Ephal 1984:12-17, 232-33; Tadmor 1961:24546).6 The site may be connected to pastoral nomads or caravaneers who were active on the southern fringes of Judea (Ephal 1984:60-71). The apparently deliberate destruc-tion of these cult objects—many of which show great similarity to the Horvat Qitmit artifacts, while others parallel finds from other Judean and Edomite sites—may be attributable to the religious reforms of Josiah, described in 2 Kgs 22-23 and 2 Chr 34-35 (Dever 1994). This period represents the last period of Judeanfloruit and expansion prior to the Babylonian conquest. If our historical understanding is correct, this may explain the link between the cult objects and other Stratum 4 remains; i.e., King Josiah may have built the fortress during his reign (639-609 BCE), either prior to or after destroying the shrine and its vessels.

As in the periods preceding and following, (En Haseva of the seventh-sixth centuries BCE stood at an important junc-tion with trade and communication arteries leading northwest, south, east, and west. The northwestern route led to Beersheva by way of Horvat (Uza, Horvat Qitmit, Tel Malhata, Tel (Ira, and Tel Masos. Alternatively, from Horvat cUza one could travel to Arad, Horvat Tov (Cohen 1985; 1988/89a), and from there to the Hebron area and on to Jerusalem. The southern route led to Ezion-geber (Eilat). Traveling east took one to Edom and beyond, and to the west, the road led to Kadesh-Barnea.

There are several good candidates for the builders of the Stratum 5 fortress. The results of the most recent excava-tions at the site have contributed to a change in our thinking concerning the initiator of this construction project. We now believe that it may have been built in the ninth-eighth cen-turies BCE rather than a century later as previously suggested. A look at the relations between Judea and Edom as they are described in the Bible is necessary to understand who the pos-sible architects were and how we have arrived at our choice of the most likely candidate. (En Haseva Stratum 5 may rep-resent a military base that was enlarged as necessitated by the

The middle fortress (Stratum 5) from the ninth-eighth centuries BCE occupies roughly four times the areal extent of contemporaneous Negev fortresses. Perhaps the site should be regarded as a small administrative city, like the Judean fortified city of Tel Beersheba, rather than a large fortress. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

political climate of the times. The initial early phase, the gate complex, may have been constructed by Jehoshaphat (867-846 BCE) when "there was no king in Edom, a deputy was king" (1 Kgs 22:48).1 Kgs reports that, in an unsuccessful attempt to repeat Solomon's achievements, "Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber" (1 Kgs 22:49; Bartlett 1989:115-6). This attribution would also find support in 2 Chr 17:2: 'And he [Jehoshaphat] placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah." Later, perhaps at the end of his reign, the fortress was enlarged to accommodate the Israelite/Judean retaliatory campaign against Mesha, king of Moab (mid-ninth century BCE; 2 Kgs 3:4-15), who mentions his rebellion against the king of Israel in his Stele (Bartlett 1989:116-22; Dearman 1989). The large Stratum 5 fortress may have served as the deployment center for this invasion. This would not only lend credence to the biblical statement that Jehoshaphat built fortresses and storage cities in Judah (2 Chr 17:12), but would also serve to strengthen the identification of the magazines at (En Haseva as, in fact, a storeroom complex and not a building of some other kind (e.g., stables, barracks, or market places). The similarity in plan between the Stratum 5 fortress at (En Haseva and the Iron Age fortifications at Tel Jezreel (Ussishkin and Woodhead 1994) suggests that they may date to approximately the same time, i.e., the ninth century BCE or some time thereafter.

'En Haseva sits at a strategically crucial commercial crossroads, especially vital for the Arabian spice trade.

Another possibility is that the fortress was built by Amaziah (798-769 BCE), the son of Joash, who was diligent in fortifying his kingdom both from within and without, and, after instituting reforms in the army, went to war with Edom. He defeated the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, in the northern Arabah, and then went on to conquer Sela (2 Kgs 14:7), renaming it Joktheel, and settling descendants from the Tribe of Judah there. Was it from this fortress that he set out against the Edomites? Or was the fortress built during the reign of Amaziah's son Uzziah (769-733 BCE; 2 Kgs 15:1), the powerful and active king who "built Elot and restored it to Judah" (2 Chr 26:2; 2 Kgs 14:22;), fortified the borders of his kingdom "and built towers in the wilderness" (2 Chr 26:10), and, like his father before him, strengthened his army in order to prevail over his enemies (2 Chr 26:13)? Although there is a strong possibility, based on archaeological, historical, and biblical considerations, that Jehoshaphat was the builder of the Stratum 5 fortress, there are, nevertheless, archaeological remains dating to Uzziah, and a case may be made to support his hav-ing engineered at least part of the construction of this fortress.

We should also take into consideration the possibility that the Stratum 5 fortress was constructed following an Assyrian takeover similar to that which occurred in Edom during the reign of Adad-nirari III (810-783 BCE) and for which there is evidence in an inscription from Calah (Pritchard 1969:281; Bartlett 1989:124; Ephal 1984:76; Millard 1992). The inscription contains the first reference to Edom as a kind of vassal state, paying tribute to the king of Assyria; subsequent references abound (Bartlett 1989; Ephal 1984). Assyria's intense interest in protecting, if not controlling, at least portions of the Ara-bian trade routes could certainly have placed it directly or indirectly, i.e., through its supporters, in (En Haseva any time from the eighth century BCE onward (Ephal 1984:81-111).

Another central question facing the site's researchers con-cerns the destruction of the Stratum 5 fortress. When did the fortress cease to function and why? Who was responsible for its collapse? Was it brought to ruin in a fierce military con-test between Edom and Judea? Or is there a connection between its destruction and the earthquake mentioned in Amos and Zechariah (Amos 1:1; Zech 14:5)?7

The book of Amos explicitly records the beginning of his service: " the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash [Jehoash] king of Israel, two years before the earthquake" (Amos 1:1). This earthquake was apparently of such strength that it left a lasting impression on the nations consciousness, as expressed in the words of Zechariah: ... you shall flee, as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah (Zech 14:5). Scholars date the quake to ca. 760 BCE and attribute to it the destruction of Stratum VI at Hazor (Yadin 1972:113,179-81), Stratum IV at Lachish (Ussishkin 1977:52), and Gezer (Field XI; Dever 1992:28*- 30*). Other sites linked, albeit speculatively, to this earthquake are Deir 'Alla (Phase IX; Ibrahim and Kooij 1979:48), and Beer-sheva (Stratum In; Aharoni 1973:107-8). Based on the destruction debris and its configuration, we believe that the quake men-tioned in Amos and Zechariah was responsible for the destruction of the Stratum 5 fortress gate complex at (En Haseva. Enlarge-ment of this fortress (to ca. 100x100 m) may have taken place after the earthquake. Final destruction of this stratum may have occurred doser to 735 BCE, during the reign of Ahaz, king of Judea (2 Kgs 16). The biblical record tells us that the Judean kingdom under Ahaz was threatened not only by Syria and Israel, but also by the Edomites and Philistines (2 Chr 28:17-18; AhLstrOm 1993:684). An Edomite takeover of Elath is placed by the historian of Kings in the time of Ahaz (2 Kgs 16:6).8

Furthermore, Tell el-Kheleifeh Period IV—the second phase of the fortress—that corresponds to this time period—was considered by its excavator to be completely Edomite (Glueck 1967:10), having been rebuilt by Edom after being destroyed during the Edomite takeover (Glueck 1965:86). This effectively marked the end of Judean rule at Tell el-Kheleifeh. It is very likely that (En Haseva was a casualty of this same Edomite incursion, especially if M. Aharoni is correct in her conjecture that Arad Stratum IX was also destroyed in this campaign (1993:82).

Stratum 6

Credit for the initial construction of the fortress at 'En Haseva (Stratum 6) must go to Solomon. Accepting the identification of En Haseva with Tamar (Aharoni 1963) joins it to the list of sites mentioned in 1 Kgs 9:17-18 as built by the king.9 The Stratum 6 fortress would have been part of the fortress settlement network set up by royal initiative during Solomon's reign (Cohen 1980; 1995). These outposts not only safeguarded the Negev highways but also defended the kingdom's southern border. Many of them, including (En Haseva, were destroyed in Pharaoh Shishak's military campaign against the region in ca. 926 BCE (Mazar 1957; 1986:139-50; Kitchen 1986:293-300, 432-47). As much as scholars continue to debate the date, function, and origin of these fortresses, we continue to interpret them as the product of a central authority projecting its power in defense of crucial trade routes. So too, Solomon, despite the debate that swirls round his historicity, can be credited with significant, archaeologically detectable achievements.

Finally, the question remains as to what part, if any, the Edomites played in the Babylonian campaign against Judea, and to what extent their invasions of the south affected ear-lier strata at (En Haseva. The biblical and archaeological records certainly suggest that the Edomites were willing participants. The Bible relates the origin of strained relations between the two nations in the story of Jacob and Esau. Edom's conflict with Israel finds a place in the narration of the entrance of the Children of Israel into Canaan and continues during the period of the United Monarchy. Saul is credited with armed con-flict against Edom (1 Sam 14:47). David garrisoned Edom so that "all the Edomites became David's servants" (2 Sam 8:14). David also annexed the Arabah to his kingdom, thus insuring that the region's copper mines came under his—and Solomon's—sovereignty. During the subsequent reigns of Jehoshaphat, Amaziah, and Uzziah, they all conquered and subjugated Edom. In periods of freedom from the Judean yoke, Edom, in turn, invaded Judea capturing strategic sites like Ezion-geber. It is assumed that the nations fought over the right to control the trade routes and access to the Mediter-ranean and Red Seas. The rivalry that existed between the two peoples is echoed over and over again in the writings of the prophets (Isa 34:5-1Z 63:1-6; Jer 49:7-22; Ezek 25:13-14, 35, 36:1-6; Joel 4:19; Amos 1:11-12, Oba; Mal 1:2-5).

Further evidence for continuing animosity between Judea and Edom comes from an early sixth-century BCE ostracon from Arad. Known as the Ramoth-negeb ostracon and thought to be a letter from the king in Jerusalem, the text concludes "...Behold, I have sent to warn you today. Get the men to Elisha! Lest Edom come there" (Aharoni 1970:20, 25-26). One scholar, remarking on the fall of Jerusalem, describes the role of Edom as "that of a police force in Babylon's pay" (Lind-say 1976:29). The biblical accounts make an Edomite role at (En Haseva both credible and understandable.

The Iron Age at (En Haseva witnessed both periods ofexpansion and development as well as those of more modest activity. For perhaps three hundred years or longer, the site's fortresses dominated the surrounding area offering protec-tion and security to those who lived or traveled in their shadow. Although its role at the end of the Iron Age may have been somewhat diminished, as indicated by the architectural remains, (En Haseva did not disappear completely. After a period of abandonment lasting some five hundred years, it once again began a rise to efflorescence and prominence (Cohen 1994).


1 Excavations at the site of 'En Haseva in the Negev, Israel, were con-ducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority with funding provided through the Negev Tourism Development Administration.The excavations in 1993-1995 were directed by R. Cohen and Y. Yisrael with the assistance of 0 Feder, E. Tischler, A. Gonen, M. Zuaretz, Blankstein, and Y. Kalman. Also participating were N. Kollele, D. Poretzki, I. Watkin and R. Niculescu (sur-veyors) and N. Sneh (field photographer). Workers included fifty residents of Yeruham supplied by the Ministry of Labor. Students from the Denmark Comprehensive High School participated under the direction of S. Cohen and with the assistance of A. Gonen, M. Zuaretz, and M. Halfon. The edi-tor of English publications is C. Greenberg. For the latest communication on the results of this excavation, see R. Cohen and Y. Yisrael, 'En Haseva, Excavations and Surveys in Israel 15, in press.

2 The restoration work was done by Michal Ben-Gal, Head Pottery Restorer at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

3 This and all subsequent references to Horvat Qitmit can be found in Beck 1993; Beit-Arieh 1988; 1991; 1995; Beit-Arieh and Beck 1987

4 The existence of robber trenches, a common phenomenon at multi-period sites, indicates that these walls were destroyed deliberately rather than by natural forces. The trenches were dug along walls that were then dismantled so their stones could be used in later construction activities. At 'En Haseva, this looting seems to have been carried out principally by the builders of the Roman fortress.

5 We must stress, however, that the 'En Haseva fortress is smaller in size than that at Tel Jezreel.

6 That mercantile links existed along established land/caravan routes as early as the Iron Age is suggested by the biblical account of the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon (1 Kgs 10:1-13; 2 Chr 9:1-12; Ephal 1984:63-4; Holladay 1995:383), as well as by several other biblical passages (Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20; and Ezek 27:22). The domestication of the camel and its use in long-distance overland traveling and hauling can probably be dated to the thirteenth or twelfth centuries BCE (Albright 1940:107,120; Walz 1951; 1954:47- 50). Commercial water routes were in operation as far back as the end of the third millennium BCE (Grohmann 1933:101-4).

7 The position of 'En Haseva on the Syrian-East African Rift, which runs the length of the country and extends more than 6,500 km from Turkey in the north to the African peninsula in the south, is most certainly respon-sible for the earthquake activity documented there throughout ancient and modern history. The country as a whole has experienced numerous earthquakes because of its relationship to this Rift. See Amiran, Arieh, and Turcotte 1994.

8 Although the Masoretic Text for 2 Kgs 16:6 reads: At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria ..., it is generally accepted that Rezin is a later addition to the sentence and Aram (Syria) is a misreading of Edom, since Elath, never having belonged to Syria in the first place, could not have been recovered by Syria (Bartlett 1989:127).

9 See Dever 1990, especially note 17.We completely agree with Dever's approach in this article.

1° In his early writings Aharoni supported the view of an outside central authority having been instrumental in establishing the fortresses but his later research shows a change of opinion (Aharoni 1967; 1995). In 1977 Z. Meshel believed the fortresses dated to the United Monarchy but were meant as a show of force toward the local inhabitants (1977:133). Today, how-ever, he supports the idea that the Negev dwellers were involved in the establishment of these forts (Meshe11994:54). That it was desert nomads who built the sites/forts/settlements in the Negev is a belief shared today by I. Finkelstein (1984), Z. Herzog (1994:143-4; but for his earlier beliefs see,1983:47-8), and D. Eitam (1988:313), but not accepted by us. They further suggest an eleventh-century BCE date for this sedentarization. N. Na'aman, while agreeing with Finkelstein's premise regarding the establishment of these Negev sites, nonetheless supports my argument that Pharaoh Shishak was responsible for their destruction and notes the absence of an historical analysis of the sources in Finkelstein's research (1992:72, 82-83, 86-88).

11 Are the biblical stories about his building activities, immense wealth and overall improvements in the realm (1 Kgs 1-10; 2 Chr 1-9) historical fact or royal hyperbole? Those who take the traditional view credit Solomon with the achievements noted in the Bible citing literary, archaeological and epigraphic evidence (Mazar 1986; 1992; Aharoni 1974; Dever 1982; Lemaire 1988; Millard 1989; 1991a; 1991b; Younger 1990). Opponents maintain "that the biblical Solomon is almost entirely a literary creation" (Miller 1991:29) and also use literary, archaeological and epigraphic sources to support their conclusions (Garbini 1988; Knauf 1991). Miller is actually somewhere between the two, believing that while the biblical description of Solomon is probably exaggerated, it need not be completely abandoned, just re-interpreted (Miller 1987; 1991).


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Rudolph Cohen is Deputy Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority and

Director of the 'En Haseva excavations. Since 1965, he has concentrated his activities in the

Negev, where he directed the Negev Emergency Project during the years 1978-1988 in his capacity as Archaeologist of the Negev District. Cohen has also directed excavations at Kadesh Barnea (see BA 44 [19811:93-107) and at several sites along the Nabataean-Roman Petra-Gaza Road (see BA 45 [19821:240-247). Dr. Cohen has excavated dozens of fortresses in the Negev, studying their role—and that of the accompanying

settlements—in the history of the region.

Yigal Yisrael earned his BA in archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For approximately twelve years Yigal worked as R. Cohen's assistant on several excavations which Dr. Cohen directed in the Negev, beginning with Kadesh-Barnea and continuing at other sites with MB I through Late Roman period remains. From 1987-92, Yigal was the principal assistant at cEn Haseva, and since 1992 has co-directed the excavations there. Since 1990 he has held the position of District Archaeologist of the IAA for the Central Negev and Arabah. Yisrael has conducted several surveys and excavations in the Negev and Arabah, including the important excavation at Ashkelon (Excavations and Surveys in Israel 13[1995]:100-105)

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