Gezer (Hebrew: גֶּזֶר) was a town in ancient Israel. Scholars believe that Gezer is Tel Gezer (also known as Tell el-Jezer
or Abu Shusheh), a site around midway on the route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Today the site is a national park in
Gezer was located on the northern fringe of the Shephelah, approximately thirty kilometres west of Jerusalem. It was
strategically situated at the junction of the international coastal highway and the highway connecting it with
Jerusalem through the valley of Ajalon. The view from Gezer encompassed the whole Coastal Plain below it, making it a
strategic military center. Verification of the identification of this site with Biblical Gezer comes from Hebrew
inscriptions found engraved on rocks, several hundred meters from the tel. These inscriptions from the 1st century BCE
read "boundary of Gezer."
Gezer is mentioned in Egyptian records, such as the writings of Thutmose III as well as the letters of Amarna, the
Amarna Letters; and Pharaoh Merneptah boasted that he "seized Gezer". Amarna letters Gezer-(named Gazru, not Gaza,
named Hazzatu) was ruled by 4 'mayors' during the 20 year Amarna letters period, 1350 BC.
Later, Gezer is mentioned in connection with the conquest of the land under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 10:33,
12:12), and was home to the Levites. It was noted to be under Philistine rule as David is said to have broken their
rulership "from Geba to as far as to Gezer". It was the last point to which he pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25; 1
Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. Later the Bible claims that Pharaoh of Egypt destroyed it (see Sack of
Gezer) and gave it as a dowry to Solomon's wife.
In 1177 AD, the plains around Gezer were the site of the Battle of Montgisard, in which the Crusaders under Baldwin IV
defeated the forces of Saladin.
Archaeological excavation at Gezer has been going on since the early 1900s, and it has become one of the most excavated
sites in Israel.
In the modern era, the site was discovered by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. R. A. Stewart Macalister dug in
the site between 1902 and 1907 on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Macalister recovered several artifacts
discovered several constructions and defenses. He also established Gezer's habitation strata, though they were later
found to be mostly incorrect (as well as many of his theories). Other notable archælogical expeditions to the site were
made by Alan Rowe (1934), G.E. Wright (1964-5, at the head of the Hebrew Union College expedition), William Dever,
Yigael Yadin, as well as the Andrews University.
One of the best-known findings is the Gezer calendar. This is a plaque containing a text appearing to be either a
schoolboy's memory exercises, or something designated for the collection of taxes from farmers. Another possibility is
that the text was a popular folk song, or child's song, listing the months of the year according to the agricultural
seasons. It has proved to be of value by informing modern researchers of ancient Middle Eastern script and language, as
well as the agricultural seasons.
Other interesting discoveries at the site related to Biblical archaeology:
8 monumental megaliths identified by Macalister as a Canaanite "high place"
A double cave beneath the high place, probably used for divinatory purposes
9 inscribed boundary stones, making it the first positively identified Biblical city
6-chambered gate similar to those found at Hazor and Megiddo
A large water-system comprising a tunnel going down to a spring, similar to that found in Jerusalem
The excavations at Gezer from 1964-1974 were the first to grant academic/college credit to student excavators (now a
Excavations were renewed in June 2006 by a consortium of institutions under the direction of Steve Ortiz (Southwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary) and Sam Wolff (Israel Antiquities Authority). The Tel Gezer Excavation and Publication
Project is a multi-disciplinary field project investigating the Iron Age history of the ancient biblical city of Tel