New Integrated Knowledge based approachs to the protection of cultural heritage from Earthquake-induced Risk

Tel Megiddo
Conservation measures for the purpose of removing hazards
OrdererGovernment Tourism CorporationNature and Parks Authority
DurationApril-November 2006
Implemented by: Vadim Zaytlin
Conservation Guidance - Yoram Saad, Head of the Implementation Branch

Tel Megiddo is one of the largest and most important tells of the Biblical period in the country. It covers c. 60 dunams and rises 40-60 meters above its surroundings. In January 1966 Tel Megiddo was declared a national park and in 2006 UNESCO proclaimed it a world heritage site, together with the Biblical tells of Hazor and Beer Sheva. The site is managed by the Nature and Parks Authority.
Excavations were begun at the site in 1903 and they continue to this day, on behalf of Tel Aviv University, under the direction of Professor Israel Finkelstein and Professor David Ussishkin. Conservation work has been implemented at the site since 2006 by a team from the Conservation Department of the Antiquities Authority.
Apart from localized conservation measures which were taken over the course of the years, extensive conservation work was not carried out at the site since it was first exposed. The ongoing weathering processes and damage have resulted in the deterioration of the building material, and the vandalism and growth of vegetation have accelerated the destruction of the remains.
In 2003 an extensive conservation inventory survey was conducted at the tell by the Conservation Department of the Antiquities Authority as part of a master plan for the preservation of the tell and its development, which was initiated by the Nature and Parks Authority and the Government Tourism Corporation. In light of the survey findings the Tel Megiddo planning committee [1] decided to draft an emergency plan to save the artifacts on the tell. The emergency plan was prepared at the beginning of 2006 by the architects Danny Abu-Hatzera and Yoram Sa‘ad (Head of the Implementation Branch of the Conservation Department). The plan identified which antiquities were at high risk from both the standpoint of conservation and the standpoint of safety. Accordingly, an order of precedence for treatment was determined and it was decided to implement urgent conservation steps to eliminate immediate hazards.

The Focus of the Work in the Project:
1. The water system.
2. A retaining wall situated between the water system and the Canaanite gate.
3. The Canaanite gate.
4. A pilaster in the Israelite gate.
5. A sectional trench below the Assyrian building.
6. Walls in the northern stable.
7. A matzevah near the Mycenaean tomb.
8. A wall in the southern palace.

The Conservation Measures
In the first stage the sections that were treated were those that were extremely deteriorated, which endangered the public next to the visitor’s path, and also antiquities of high cultural value that were in danger of collapse. The treatment included the removal of vegetation that undermined the stability of the structures, stabilizing walls and their foundations by means of rubble construction utilizing indigenous fieldstones; pointing up the joints in the walls with bonding material; injecting bonding material into lacunae in the walls; sealing the tops of walls and returning fallen stones to their original place.

Apart from the conservation work, the conservation team assisted in erecting safety supports in order to allow further excavation and the controlled dismantling of undermined elements.
The extent of the conservation and ongoing maintenance required at the site is far in excess of that which is actually being implemented.

[1]  The planning committee is comprised of representatives of the Government Tourism Corporation, Nature and Parks Authority, Antiquities Authority and architects and archaeologists of the Tel Aviv University archaeological expedition.

For further information see:
David Ussishkin and Israel Finkelstein: Tel Megiddo – The 2002 Season – Marking One Hundred Years since the Beginning of the Excavations
Tel Megiddo National Park


To view the figures, click on the figure caption
Plan of the site.

The water system prior to cleaning and conservation.

The water system after cleaning and conservation treatment that included pointing up joints, sealing the tops of walls and stabilizing walls.

The sectional trench below the Assyrian building – pointing up joints, replacing missing stones for the purpose of stabilization, application of a coating of mortar and soil in order to support the se

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