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Athena Review Exhibition Reports: 

Archaeology at the Dawn of History

Erie Art Museum

1411 State Street, Erie, PA  (tel: 814.459-5477;  fax: 814/452-1744)

October 1, 2000 - January 14, 2001

More than 4000 years ago, the thriving Canaanite settlement of Khirbet Iskander carried on its daily existence along a caravan route called the “Kings Highway,” east of the Dead Sea in Jordan. A special exhibit featuring archaeological discoveries from this fortified Early Bronze-Age city has been on display at the Erie Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The exhibition includes a variety of domestic and religious objects dated to ca. 2350 BC. Foremost among these is a collection of remarkably preserved ceramic vessels (fig.1), and other objects of daily life including food processing tools of stone.

[Fig.1: An earthenware pitcher from Khirbet Iskander (Erie Art Museum, 2000).]

Khirbet Iskander which means “the ruin of Alexander" (the Great), has no relationship to the Greek conqueror who lived around 323 BC. This much earlier site flourished between 3500-2300 BC, the time when the first cities appeared in the Near East. When other cities in the region had disappeared by about 2300 BC, Khirbet Iskander survived for another 300 years, during the period known as Early Bronze (EB) IV.

Defensive systems at Khirbet Iskander were rebuilt between 2300-2000 BC, and are, based on present information, the only EB IV fortifications known from this time period in the southern Levant. A gateway and a public building also date to this era.

[Fig.2: View of the ancient town site at Khirbet Iskander (Erie Art Museum, 2000).]



from Athena Review, Vol.2, no.4.

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