Anatomy of a Destruction
Crisis Architecture, Termination Rituals and the Fall of Canaanite Hazor
Keywords:Crisis architecture, termination rituals, Israel, Hazor, Late Bronze Age, Canaan
Destruction levels, a recurring feature in ancient Near Eastern tell sites, are too often treated as isolated events. Recent scholarship on the formation processes of the archaeological record stresses the need to understand site destructions as part of long-term processes, rather than as isolated and unique events. This paper offers a model for studying destruction based on the concepts of the materialization of ritual and royal ideology. The identification of crisis architecture and termination rituals is used to shed new light on the activities taking place at the site prior to its final destruction and abandonment. This model is applied to the destruction of Canaanite Hazor at the end of the Late Bronze Age, and provides an alternative view of this event as a result of social, political, cultural and ideological circumstances rather than as an isolated event, stressing the role of internal socio-economic and ideological factors rather than external agents.
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