According to the Bible and a religious song you may know, Joshua fought a battle at Jericho. The former ghost and former assistant of Moses led the Israelites around the wall for several days until after seven laps on the seventh day, the wall fell. Then the Israelites – obeying God’s command – slaughtered every living thing in the city. adults, children and their pets. It’s not a happy story, so you should breathe a sigh of relief that these events never happened. When archaeologists excavated the site of the battle at Tell es-Sultan, they found it had been abandoned long before Joshua’s arrival.
Studying the historical accuracy of the Bible is always a concern. Our primary sources are ancient texts edited by many, reproduced dozens of times, and focused on theological information rather than facts. Thus, for centuries, scholars have used archaeological methods to supplement our knowledge and test the accuracy of the Bible. Even so, the results are controversial and difficult to interpret. A new research method using magnetic data could change some of that.
Tel Aviv University doctoral student Yoav Vaknin is the lead author of a groundbreaking new study of biblical archaeology that applies archaeological magnetic techniques to military operations described in the Bible.This article was recently published in an open access journal NASA, which brought together a range of data drawn from studies of 17 different archaeological sites to construct a timeline of ancient destruction. The geomagnetic data set he compiled includes evidence of 21 layers of damage. As Vittoria Benzine put it, it was “the geological ledger of the conquest of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah by the armies of the Arameans, Assyrians and Babylonians”.
Unlike more traditional archaeological methods such as stratigraphy (which looks at different layers in the soil), archaeological magnetic dating is interested in the magnetic field produced by the Earth’s core. It examined the layer of liquid iron in the outer core of the planet. Ron Shaar, who led the development of the method itself, said: “Until recently, scientists believed that [earth’s core] It has remained stable for decades, but archaeological geomagnetic research contradicts this assumption by revealing some extreme and unpredictable changes in ancient times. “
The archaeological material contains magnetic minerals, Wakenin explained. “At the atomic level, one can think of the magnetic signature of these minerals as a small needle on a compass.” For example, when a city burns down, a clay brick is incinerated, and the brick preserves the magnetic signature the moment the city catches fire . If geophysicists know the magnetic state of the various eras at a certain time, then they can determine the origin of the material.
The study focused on objects made of mud (mainly bricks, but also loom weights and beehives made of clay) that were burned during military unrest and invasions. His discoveries confirmed some biblical stories and archaeological theories and debunked others.
Tel Beth-Shean, located in the northern part of modern Israel, was previously believed by archaeologists to have been destroyed by King Hazel of Aram in 830 BC. Vaknin and his co-authors argue that it was actually fired between 70 years (95% probability) and 100 years (68% probability). Waaknin believes that this means the city is likely to have been destroyed during the military action of Pharaoh Shawshank I. The battle is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (2 Kings 14:25026) and in the battle reliefs carved on the walls at the Karnak Temple in Egypt.
Most astonishingly, the discovery of all gold shows that the Babylonians were not responsible for the total destruction of Judah in 586 BC (2 Kings 24:18; Jeremiah 1:3; 39:2; 52:5-6). However, intensity results from sites in the Negev, the Southern Judean Mountains, and the southern Judean foothills suggest that towns in the region survived the Babylonian invasion. Only a few decades later, after Jerusalem and its environs were destroyed, others (most likely Edomites) attacked these smaller settlements. This finding may help explain some of the animosity toward the Edomites that we find in the Hebrew Bible.
Undeniably, archaeological magnetic dating provides another complementary method for determining the chronology of these events. Much like carbon dating (from a set of data samples), larger data sets collected from numerous archaeological studies in the region can be used to date military operations more precisely. This is promising and exciting work.
At the same time, some of the media buzz surrounding the discovery may have overestimated the importance of the method and overlooked some of its limitations. While you won’t know this from some reports, archaeology is already a highly technical discipline, using a range of techniques (such as carbon-14 dating) to formulate hypotheses and draw conclusions. As with carbon dating, archaeological finds are expressed in percentages rather than binary, but this does not appear in news reports. You can be forgiven for turning a 95% probability into a certainty, but a 68% probability is not that conclusive. Frankly, it’s C+. It’s not Wanjin’s fault. This is exactly what happens when archaeology makes news.
It’s also important to note that the findings only express the fact that the site was compromised, not the cause. If Dr. “It’s a very interesting new method of dating,” Laura Zucconi, a professor of history and archaeology at Stockton University who has written about copper mines and the Edomites, told me, But it doesn’t tell us why a site was destroyed. “If a site has layers of damage but lacks other information, we have no way of knowing whether it was a war or just an earthquake that caused a fire.” Zucconi said that while we do have other methods of dating sites, multiple analysis methods are always preferable. “even though [archaeomagnetic analysis] Replicate other methods, preferably with different methods, as the material used in one method may not always be available. For example, carbon-14 dating is not helpful for material dating from 800-400 BC due to a phenomenon known as the Hallstatt Plateau. It is important to have another instrument in your archaeological toolbox.
Vankin told Artnet News that he hopes to establish a similar chronology for the most controversial archaeological period of the ancient Levant (1300-900 BCE). According to the Bible, this was the time of Exodus, when the Israelites settled in the land of Canaan and David was king. This is a period of intense debate, whose events are currently political. It will take him from the proverbial fry to the proverbial fire. But after five years of researching the effects of incineration on clay bricks, and with a rich arsenal of archaeological tools, he was well-suited to the challenge.