added by archaeologs Palestinian site and biblical city with its most important period of occupation in the Middle Bronze Age c 17th century BC, when it was given a great insloping wall of Cyclopean masonry. To the same period belongs a stone plaque bearing one of the earliest known alphabetic inscriptions. The town was destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age and not reoccupied until the 16th century BC. The site included a glacis of the Hyksos Period, when it probably controlled the territory from Megiddo to Gezer. It was clearly an important city in the Late Bronze Age and it figures prominently in the Amarna letters. It that time, fortifications and a temple with a massebah were erected. The town was destroyed in the 12th century BC and there was another break in occupation until the 10th century BC, when it became an Israelite city and the short-lived capital of the Kingdom of Israel. This was destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BC, after which there was intermittent occupation until its final destruction in 101 BC. The site was replaced by Nablus (Neapolis) in 67 AD. There was also some occupation in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period.
added by archaeologs Modem Balata has been identified as the site of the biblical city of Schechem, near the central Palestinian town of Nablus. There was some occupation in the Pre-pottery Neolithic period, but the first town was built in the Middle Bronze Age, defended first by a free-standing wall, then an earth rampart, and finally by walls of Cyclopean masonry c2 metres thick. The town was destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age and not reoccupied until the 16th century BC. It was clearly an important city in the Late Bronze Age and it figures prominently in the Amarna letters (see El-Amarna); however, few buildings of this period have been investigated. This town was destroyed in the 12th century and there was another break in occupation until the 10th century, when it became an Israelite city. This was destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 bc, after which there was intermittent occupation until its final destruction in 101 bc. sheep. Members of the genus Ovis, distinguished from Capra (the goats) by differences in scent glands, lack of ‘beard’, the number of chromosomes, and the possession of tightly curled horns, curving around the ears. Goats and sheep may sometimes be difficult to distinguish in the flesh, and skeletons are even more so. Key differences are in the horn cores, metapodials and phalanges (see skeleton). Many researchers, however, do not distinguish between them in archaeological site reports and refer instead to sheep/goat, ovicaprid, caprovine etc. Classification of the sheep themselves is controversial. All domestic sheep are generally referred to as Ovis aries, although it is unclear if they do indeed qualify as a separate species. The surviving wild sheep exist as isolated populations scattered through the remote mountain ranges of the Near East and Asia. Differences do exist between these populations — in horn shape, build and pelage — but there is much dispute about their taxonomic value. Six main groups are generally recognized, (a) Mouflon. Recently introduced into the mountains of mainland Europe. The mouflon of Sardinia and Corsica are now regarded as feral domesticated sheep. Usually all classified as Ovis musimon. (b) Urials. A variable group dispersed through the mountains of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, southern USSR, Pakistan and northern India. Some authors include all the variants in Ovis orientalis. (c) Argalis. Giant sheep of the Himalayas, Mongolia and western Siberia. Again variable, but usually all classified as Ovis ammon. (d) Snow sheep. Large sheep from Siberia, (e) Dall sheep. From Alaska and the northern Rocky Mountains, (f) Bighorns. Found in the mountains of the American West. Most researchers would place the origin of domestic sheep in urial-like ancestors. The argalis, snow sheep, dall sheep and bighorns are unlikely to have been involved. Securely identified sheep bones first appear in the Middle Palaeolithic levels of caves in the Near East. These fossils are not morphologically different from skeletons of modem wild sheep, but at <9000-8500 be at Zawi Chemi Shanidar and the nearby site of Shan id ar Cave in Kurdistan there are large proportions of juvenile sheep. It has been suggested that this implies manipulation of the sheep by man. The earliest evidence of an actual change in morphology may be the occurrence of hornless sheep at Ali Kosh in the Southern Zagros mountains (before 7000 be). Sheep seem to have appeared in Europe ready domesticated; they appear in the Aegean before 6000 be and in the West Mediterranean not much later. The whole question of domestication, like the status of today’s wild populations, is still, however, very much under discussion.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983