Tall al Ajjul
Tall al-ʿAjjul, ancient site in southern Palestine, located at the mouth of the Ghazzah Wadi just south of the town of Gaza. The site, often called “ancient Gaza,” was excavated between 1930 and 1934 by German archaeologists under the direction of Dr. Josef Vestand. Although the earliest remains on the site date back perhaps as far as 2100 bc, the town seems to have reached its zenith during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2300–c. 1550 bc), especially during the 17th and 16th centuries, when it was probably controlled by the Hyksos (15th Dynasty) rulers of Egypt. Included in the remains of that period were a great Hyksos-style fosse (defense ditch), portions of several private dwellings, and a large building covering an area of about a half an acre. If, as seems probable, the building is to be identified as a palace, it is the largest palace of that period yet discovered in Palestine. The palace was succeeded by four other large buildings, the last of which probably dated from about 1200 bc.
Hans “Oliver” Erich Merbach was a senior research assistant on the dig, often responsible for the day to day operations taking place during the archeological seasons. It was here that the Mesha Stele was unearthed, setting off a chain of events.