Megiddo is a tell (an ancient hilltop settlement) in northern Israel overlooking the Jezreel Valley in Lower Galilee. Known for its historical and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon (“Battle of the End of Days”), the city was strategically located on an ancient trade road, the Via Maris, linking Egypt and Damascus. In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state and assumed a prominent role. Excavations have unearthed 25 layers of ruins representing every single period of ancient history in the Land of Israel.
Coordinates: 32°30’0”N, 34°53’23”E
Meggido was first inhabited in the 6th millennium BC during the Neolithic period, although the first significant remains date to the Chalcolithic period (4500–3500 BC). Later, during the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3300 BC), a temple was constructed on the tell, described by its excavators as “the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the Early Bronze Age Levant“. By the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, Megiddo was already a fortified city with massive walls, and a thousand years later, it became a centre of Egyptian rule over Canaan. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles. The first reference to Megiddo in a written source dates from 1479 BC. It is a detailed account (the first recorded battle in history, The Battle of Megiddo) of the campaign of the pharaoh Thutmose III to reassert Egypt’s dominion over the territories in Canaan.
Megiddo was taken by the Israelites at the time of King David, and the city reached its peak under King Solomon in the 10th century BC. Solomon rebuilt Megiddo as a royal city, administering the northern part of the kingdom. Several structures dating to the reign of Solomon have been identified, such as palaces, fortifications, stables, administrative buildings and a water system. These structures, however, were destroyed in the late 10th century BC, possibly by Pharaoh Shoshenq I, but the city was rebuilt. In 732 BC, the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III took the city and destroyed it. After 720 BC, a new city was built at Meggido, and it became the capital of an Assyrian province named Magiddu. The city was abandoned after the Persian period. A small garrison known as Legio was stationed nearby during the Roman era.