The Land of Geshur Archaeological Project

Fuel for the fire. Burnt grain in room 3 of Tel Hadar’s granary testifies to a huge, 11th-century B.C.E. fire that swept through the city’s public complex. The blaze distorted and fused pottery sherds and melted mudbrick into a slag-like mixture. X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy analysis of the building’s brick indicated that the conflagration reached a temperature of 1100–1200° centigrade or higher. To reach such an intense level, the fire would have needed a highly combustible fuel such as grain. So devastating and widespread was the fire that the entire site was abandoned for at least a century. If the destruction of Tel Hadar occurred sufficiently late in the eleventh century, it could have been connected with the warfare between the House of David and the House of Saul that followed the death of King Saul.