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From left to right: Eugenia Mintz, Dr. Johanna Regev, Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto and Dr. Lior Regev of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Elisabetta Boaretto Labs.

New Carbon-Dating Techniques Enable 'Absolute Chronology' of First Temple-Era Jerusalem

An Israeli team has achieved a breakthrough in advanced radiocarbon dating techniques, enabling for the first time an “absolute chronology” of Jerusalem in the Iron Age, the time of the Kingdom of Judah and the First Temple, according to a press release from the Weizmann Institute of Science on Tuesday, April 30.

The researchers studied 100 samples of securely dated and scientifically excavated organic material and concluded that ancient Jerusalem was larger and more urban than previously proven, especially during the 10th-12th centuries BCE, during what is commonly thought to be the time of King David and King Solomon.

“Jerusalem is a living city; it’s not like a tel site that’s built as a sequence of layers,” said Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto, who led the Weizmann team. “This is a city that has been constantly rebuilt all this time, and the archaeological evidence is scattered. But despite these challenges, layers and layers of construction and the Hallstatt plateau, we were able to put together its absolute chronology during the Iron Age.”

The study was published on Monday in the National Academy of Sciences peer-reviewed journal PNAS. The effort was led by researchers at Boaretto’s Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and archaeologists from the City of David site in Jerusalem from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University.

The results of the study have potential implications not just in the fields of Israeli and Biblical archaeology, but for Iron Age archaeology as a whole, as the researchers claim to have developed techniques that overcome an issue known as the “Hallstatt plateau,” in which traditional radiocarbon dating proves to be inaccurate when analyzing material from around 800-400 BCE, the late Iron Age. (TOI / VFI News)

“Lord, we thank You for blessing us with more knowledge regarding Biblical times and the promised land. We are also extremely grateful for our scientists who are unveiling these findings and are contributing to significant discoveries regarding our history and ancestors.”