Duby Tal/Albatross

The imposing mound of Megiddo rises 100 feet from the floor of the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. Because of its strategic location on the Via Maris, an important trade route, Megiddo witnessed numerous conflicts in ancient times. Its bloody history makes it an appropriate setting for the end-of-days battle predicted by the Book of Revelation—the name “Armageddon” derives from the Hebrew Har Megiddo, the Mount of Megiddo.

A broad gash, center, splits the eastern side of the tell; the gash was created in the 1920s and 1930s by archaeologists from the University of Chicago, who identified 20 occupation levels dating from the Neolithic period (8300–4500 B.C.) to the fifth century B.C.

Since 1994, Israel Finkelstein, the subject of the accompanying interview, has codirected, with David Ussishkin and Baruch Halpern, a comprehensive re-excavation at the site under the auspices of Tel Aviv University. In the interview, Finkelstein and BAR editor Hershel Shanks discuss Megiddo’s pivotal role in the debate over the historical reliability of the Bible.