Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dating the Destructions of Iron Age Megiddo

For the last fifteen years, scholars have disagreed sharply over the archaeological chronology of the early Iron II period.  Israel Finkelstein began advocating a “Low Chronology” in the mid-1990s, with the result that the time of Kings David and Solomon was said to be poor and insignificant. 

Now Finkelstein plans to put his theory to four tests, using scientific analysis of the destruction material from his excavations of Megiddo.  The implications may be far-reaching, though I’m dubious about the claim that they’ll settle matters “once and for all.”  From Matthew Kalman at AOL News:

Now Finkelstein, together with Tel Aviv University physicist Eli Piazetsky, is spearheading an international effort to settle the chronology once and for all. A scientific conference at Megiddo, "Synchronizing Clocks at Armageddon," launched a project to analyze 10 separate Iron Age destruction layers using four state-of-the-art scientific techniques: radiocarbon dating, optical luminescence, archaeo-magnetism and rehydroxilation -- a new method pioneered in Britain within the last two years.

Megiddo is the only place in the world with so many destruction layers -- archaeological strata resulting from a calamity such as a fire, earthquake or conquest -- that resulted from a specific event in history.

Finkelstein told AOL News that the site provides "a very dense, accurate and reliable ladder for the dating of the different monuments and the layers."

"These destruction layers can serve as anchors for the entire system of dating," Finkelstein said. "Megiddo is the only site which has 10 layers with radiocarbon results for the period 1300 to 800 B.C.E."

The full article explains the techniques and how the archaeology of Israel impacts the dating of sites in Greece.

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1 Comments:

  • Isn't this a bit like saying that the Waqf is spearheading an international effort to settle the debate on the Jewishness of the Temple Mount once and for all? I'm sure the Waqf would help to work the bugs out of the new rehydroxilation method!

    By OpenID A B Chrysler, at Sun Dec 26, 08:02:00 PM  

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