In the extensive excavations that were conducted in the 1970’s and 80’s at Tel Aphek in the Sharon, under the direction of Professor Moshe Kochavi and Professor Pirhiya Beck ז"ל and on behalf of Tel Aviv University, a single impressive structure was discovered that had been destroyed in a mighty conflagration toward the end of the Late Bronze Age. The numerous finds discovered in the building, which are directly or indirectly connected to Egypt and to administrative and governing activities, led the excavators to refer to the structure as “the Egyptian Governor’s House”.
The excavators assumed that due to the strategic location of Aphek the Egyptians stationed a governor and military unit there. From the time the building was first published until today many have wondered about its role in the deployment of the Egyptian governmental centers. What was the status of Aphek vis-à-vis Jaffa, an Egyptian government center that is also mentioned in historical sources? Were there actually Egyptians who governed there? What regional functions did the building fulfill and what was the identity of its residents?
The preparation of the excavation finds for publication allows us at this time to conduct a renewed discussion on the status of the “Governor’s House” and on its regional contexts with the rest of the sites on the central coastal plain. In contrast with other areas in the country where the Egyptians maintained the Canaanite system of government, on the central coastal plain it turns out the Egyptians chose to establish an array of royal or religious estates that fulfilled economic, administrative and governmental functions.