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Report on the First Stage of the Iron Age Dating Project in Israel: Supporting a Low Chronology

Ilan Sharon, Ayelet Gilboa, A J Timothy Jull, Elisabetta Boaretto


The traditional chronology of ancient Israel in the 11th9th centuries BCE was constructed mainly by correlating archaeological phenomena with biblical narratives and with Bible-derived chronology. The chronology of Cyprus and Greece, and hence of points further west, are in turn based on that of the Levant. Thus, a newly proposed chronology, about 75100 yr lower than the conventional one, bears crucial implications not only for biblical history and historiography but also for cultural processes around the Mediterranean. A comprehensive radiocarbon program was initiated to try and resolve this

dilemma. It involves several hundreds of measurements from 21 sites in Israel. Creating the extensive databases necessary for the resolution of tight chronological problems typical of historical periods involves issues of quality control, statistical treatment, modeling, and robustness analysis. The results of the first phase of the dating program favor the new, lower chronology.

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