H. Shafir

A brutal blaze brought an end to the ceremonial palace and much of Canaanite Hazor. The fire was so violent that it reached 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit, melting clay vessels and heating mudbricks into glass. Three factors contributed to the inferno’s intensity: the large amount of wood construction, especially in the palace roof and floor; nearly 1,000 gallons of highly combustible olive oil stored in pithoi (storage jars) in the building; and the high winds common in the region. Such an immense conflagration may explain why Hazor is the only site remembered in the Book of Joshua as having been set on fire. The photo above shows the ashy remains of the ceremonial palace as well as some broken pithoi (in the foreground) that may have contributed to the blaze.