Biblical Archaeology Review 24:3, May/June 1998

Israel in Exile

Deserted Galilee testifies to Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom

By Zvi Gal

Between 734 and 732 B.C.E., the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III campaigned to the west, from the Assyrian capital at Nineveh, cutting a swath into the northern kingdom of Israel as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. We know this from the Bible and from Assyrian records.

These texts tell us that Galilee, in northern Israel, was especially hard hit. Its people were exiled to Assyria—an exile, as it were, from which they never returned.

But how reliable are these records of deportation and exile? For this, we must turn to archaeology. From 1974 to 1984, I conducted an archaeological survey and a number of excavations in Galilee that not only answer this question, but open up a new chapter of research on the region.

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