top of page
Archaeological Dig Staff Megiddo


To The Megiddo Excavation 

Megiddo is the jewel in the crown of biblical archaeology. Strategically perched above the most important land route in the ancient Near East, the city dominated international traffic for over 6,000 years — from ca. 7,000 B.C.E. through to biblical times. As civilizations came and went, succeeding settlements at ancient Megiddo were built on the ruins of their predecessors, creating a multi-layered archaeological legacy that abounds in unparalleled treasures that include monumental temples, lavish palaces, mighty fortifications, and remarkably-engineered water systems.

Megiddo was the site of epic battles that decided the fate of western Asia. It was here that the Egyptians took their first steps toward empire building when Pharaoh Thutmose III, in the 15th century B.C.E., conquered Canaan; it was from here that Assyria staged its deportation of the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel; and it was here that Josiah—the last righteous king of the lineage of David—was killed by Pharaoh Necho II, opening the way for centuries of messianic yearning.

Megiddo is the only site in Israel mentioned by every great power in the ancient Near East. In the New Testament it appears as Armageddon (a Greek corruption of the Hebrew Har [=Mount] Megiddo), location of the millennial battle between the forces of good and evil. Megiddo is an archetypal historical site whose cast of characters includes Canaanites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, and Persians in the biblical period and Ottoman Turks and Englishmen in the modern era. No wonder that it was the inspiration for James Michener’s bestseller, The Source.

Drone Photo Archaeological Dig Site Megiddo
Archaeological Dig Staff Perspective  From Dig Megiddo

Megiddo’s importance was undoubtedly due to its role as a way station and control point for international trade. Its strategic location on the Via Maris (the major international military and trade route of antiquity that linked Egypt in the south with Syria, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia in the north and east), gave it control of a bottleneck where the road emerges from the narrow ‘Aruna Pass into the fertile Jezreel Valley.



Of The Historical Megiddo Site 

Megiddo began to dominate the surrounding countryside in the 4th millennium B.C.E. (ca. 3500) – at the dawn of urbanization in the Levant. Today its monumental architecture provides the most impressive evidence of the rise of the first cities in the region.


Megiddo was the site of epic battles that decided the fate of western Asia. When the Canaanite city-states revolted against 15th century B.C.E Pharaonic attempts at hegemony, it was at Megiddo that they assembled to do battle. The Egyptian army, led by Pharaoh Thutmose III, surprised the rebels by choosing the most dangerous route of attack – through the narrow ‘Aruna Pass. After routing the Canaanite forces and capturing rich booty, Thutmose III laid siege to the city for seven months.

His decisive victory enabled him to incorporate Canaan as a province in the Empire of the New Kingdom. The description of the battle of Megiddo is the earliest account of a major war in antiquity. Six letters sent by Biridiya, King of Megiddo, to the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th century B.C.E. were discovered in the archive of el-Amarna in Egypt. The letters indicate that Megiddo was one of the mightiest city-states in Canaan.


In 732 B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III took the region from the Northern Kingdom. In the following years Megiddo served as the capital of an Assyrian province. With the fall of the Assyrian empire the great religious reformer, King Josiah of Judah, was called to Megiddo to report to Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, who was on his way to assist the crumbling Assyrian army in its last-ditch efforts against the Babylonians. Josiah was slaughtered by Necho (II Kings 23:29).

Recollection of this event, along with the memories of the great battles fought here, were probably the bases for the idea in the Book of Revelations (16:16) that Armageddon (the mound of Megiddo) would at the end of days be the site of the last battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Because of Megiddo’s great significance for both Christians and Jews, the site was chosen as the historic meeting place for the 1964 visit of Pope Paul VI with Israel’s president, Zalman Shazar, and prime minister, Levi Eshkol. It was the first visit ever of a pope to the Holy Land.

bottom of page