YEAR 2001

Immediately above the Early Bronze Age level there was a layer of sterile sand. This sand varied in depth from 90 cm to 140 cm. The excavation revealed 19 graves of the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 BC).

Seven constructed graves

There were two types of constructed graves, both rectangular and either lined with stones or with mud brick. In the latter we noted that the entire burial was sealed with grey clay. In these graves the deceased is found buried in a supine or flexed position. Objects found in them included so-called luxury items, mainly metal artefacts, and jewellery.

Four simple graves dug into the sand

A body was found in a flexed position head to the east. In another burial, a skull was facing northeast. Only a few bones were recovered in some of these graves.

Middle Bronze Age - Jar Burial with a secondary inhumation
Middle Bronze Age - Jar Burial with a secondary inhumation
Middle Bronze Age - Constructed grave
Middle Bronze Age - Primary inhumation.
Eight jar burials

The earlier burials were found at the top of the sand layer. One jar under a house floor belonged to a later period.

One grave at Sidon revealed multiple burials. This illustrates a probable change towards a more urban social structure during the end of the Middle Bronze Age period. This differentiation by post-mortem treatment is further emphasized by the presence of different grave goods for each mode of interment.

At Sidon we noted the predominance of single burials during the early Middle Bronze Age MBIIA, (2000-1750 BC) which may reflect an association with the burial traditions and culture of the previous MBI (EBIV) period. Another element shared by most single burials at Sidon is that the pottery shows a strong thread linking the plain ware types to EBIV types while the painted ware represents the new MBIIA style of decoration. This stresses a continuity between the two periods. Very similar to EBIV tombs at Jericho, further south and inland near the Jordan River, we also find a correlation between post-mortem primary treatment and metal deposition, namely the pairing of bronze axes (the typical Canaanite “duck-bill” axe) the classic “prestige” weapon with bronze spearheads. Metal weapons accompanied almost all of the articulated burials. Objects of gold and silver found in one grave are rare elsewhere at comparative sites in Palestine. Their presence at Sidon together with the bronze weapons indicates that some earlier tombs at Sidon are richer then later ones. This suggests that these were the graves of certain persons of elevated social status. It is also worth noting that sheep/goat offerings were found with the burials of that period. Of the disarticulated individuals (with the exception of one jar burial where a spearhead was found) only pottery, scarabs or beads accompany the inhumations.