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Absolute Dating of the Late Bronze to Iron Age Transition and the Appearance of Philistine Culture in Qubur el-Walaydah, Southern Levant

Yotam Asscher, Gunnar Lehmann, Steven A Rosen, Steve Weiner, Elisabetta Boaretto


The Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age transition involves profound cultural and political changes in the southern Levant. The transition is dated to the 12th century BC, based on archaeological artifacts and historical documents. A more precise absolute date for this transition for the southern Levant based on radiocarbon is difficult since the 14C calibration curve reduces precision significantly due to wiggles that form an approximately 200-yr-long plateau. This article analyzes 14C samples from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age transition at Qubur el-Walaydah. To increase the resolution of 14C dates within the plateau, 14C samples were collected only from well-defined multilayered contexts. 14C dates from 11 contexts were obtained and these were analyzed using a Bayesian model that incorporated the stratigraphic information. Using this integrative approach we date the Late Bronze Age III levels at Qubur el-Walydah, containing the initial phase of locally produced Philistine pottery between 1185–1140 BC, and the Late Bronze to Iron Age transition between 1140–1095 BC.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.16961


Late Bronze Iron Age chronology; Bayesian analysis; Biblical archaeology; Philistines;

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