Israeli-led study confirms biblical narratives


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Hebrew University of Jerusalem PhD student Yoav Vaknin measuring at the Tel Batash (biblical Timnah) archaeological site in Israel.
Tel Aviv UniversityHebrew University of Jerusalem PhD student Yoav Vaknin measuring at the Tel Batash (biblical Timnah) archaeological site in Israel.

New dating tool reveals truth of Hebrew Bible narrative of foreign military campaigns against Judah and Israel

A groundbreaking Israeli-led study using a new geomagnetic dating tool has confirmed biblical accounts of military campaigns against the kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

The joint study by Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and involving 20 researchers from different countries reconstructed the earth's magnetic field recorded in burnt remnants at 17  archaeological sites.

Researchers reconstructed the geomagnetic fields recorded in 21 archaeological destruction layers at these sites across Israel using a new dating tool.

Yoav Vaknin
Yoav VakninBurnt mud brick wall from Tel Batash (biblical Timnah) with markings of the field orientation.

"Based on the similarity or difference in intensity and direction of the magnetic field, we can either corroborate or disprove hypotheses claiming that specific sites were burned during the same military campaign. Moreover, we have constructed a variation curve of field intensity over time which can serve as a scientific dating tool, similar to the radiocarbon dating method," said Hebrew University PhD student Yoav Vaknin.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was based on Vaknin's doctoral thesis.

The findings show that the narrative in the Hebrew Bible of the military campaigns of the Egyptians, Arameans, Assyrians and Babylonians were indeed correct.

Yoav Vaknin
Yoav VakninBurnt mud bricks

One example from the research shows that the Babylonians were not entirely responsible for the destruction of Judah with sites in the Negev surviving until several decades later when they were probably destroyed by the Edomites.

"The new dating tool is unique because it is based on geomagnetic data from sites, whose exact destruction dates are known from historical sources," said Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University's Institute of Archaeology.

"By combining precise historical information with advanced, comprehensive archaeological research, we were able to base the magnetic method on reliably anchored chronology."

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