Scientific News Hypotheses Historical hypotheses HEBREW UNIVERSITY EXCAVATIONS STRENGTHEN DATING OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDINGS TO DAVID, SOLOMON.|
HEBREW UNIVERSITY EXCAVATIONS
STRENGTHEN DATING OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDINGS TO DAVID, SOLOMON.
A new, laboratory-based affirmation of the
existence of a united Israelite monarchy headed by kings David and Solomon in
the 10th century B.C.E. has been revealed as the result of excavations carried
out by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Institute of Archeology.
The findings have particular significance in view
of the debate existing among archaeologists as to the authenticity of the
biblical account of the two kings and the period and extent of their reign.
The late, famed Hebrew University archaeologist
Prof.Yigael Yadin argued more than 40 years ago that a series of monumental
structures – and particularly the city gates of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer as
well as certain palaces at Megiddo – were founded by Solomon, corroborating
the text in I Kings 9:15. However, during the last decade various scholars
criticized this view and claim that the United Monarchy of David and Solomon
should be dismissed as a real historical period of any value in the history of
Israel. Indeed, it has even been argued by these critics that the findings
described by Yadin were only from the 9th century B.C.E., the period of the
Israelite kings Omri and Ahab.
Writing in the April 11 issue of Science
magazine, Prof. Amihai Mazar of the Hebrew University, Dr. Hendrik Bruins of
Ben-Gurion University, and Prof. Hans Van der Plicht of Groningen University,
Holland, tell of their findings from excavations at Tel Rehov, located some 5
kilometers south of the town of Beit She'an in the Beit She'an Valley. The
scholars argue that these findings conclusively prove that they found at Tel
Rehov signs of an urban society from the 10th century B.C.E. which can be
compared with finds from other sites in Israel, such as Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer,
which were attributed in the past to the United Monarchy.
The excavations at Tel Rehov have been carried
out since 1997 under the direction of Prof. Mazar, the Eleazar L. Sukenik
Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, with the financial support of
John Camp of Minneapolis, Minn. The excavations revealed several strata from the
time of the Judges (12-11th centuries B.C.E.) until the Assyrian conquest of
Israel in the 8th century B.C.E.
In the article in Science, Mazar, Bruins
and Van der Plicht write of radiometric carbon 14 tests that were carried out at
Groningen University on charred grain and olive pits found in various strata at
Tel Rehov. The dates achieved in this research were particularly precise, with
minimal range. The authors further state that this is one of the best sets of
radiometric dates based on stratigraphic sequence from any site related to the
The results show that two strata at Tel Rehov are
safely dated to the 10th century B.C.E. One stratum was destroyed in heavy fire.
The date of this destruction fits very well with the reign of Shishak, the
Egyptian Pharaoh who invaded the Land of Israel around 925 B.C.E. and whose
invasion is mentioned both in the Bible (I Kings 14:25) and in his monumental
inscription at the temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt, where Rehov is mentioned
among many other places conquered at that time.
Since the Shishak conquest occurred a few years
after the death of Solomon, the identification of a city destroyed by him at Tel
Rehov provides an anchor for dating other sites with similar material culture.
This similar culture was found at Hazor and Megiddo in occupation levels which
were identified as "Solomonic" in the past.
Thus, these results provide a new foundation for
the traditional view concerning the attribution of occupation strata and
buildings at Tel Rehov (and conjunctively other locales in the region ) to the
time of the United Monarchy of Solomon and David, and negates the view that all
these finds should be dated to the 9th century.
Contact: Jerry Barach, firstname.lastname@example.org,
972-2-588-2904, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source of the given news and the copyrights
belong to a Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
Publishing date: April 21, 2003