A low chronology update: Archaeology, history and bible

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The aim of this chapter is to present an up-to-date overview of the Low Chronology system for the late Iron I and early Iron II strata in the Levant, a system I first proposed in two articles which were published about a decade ago (Finkelstein 1995, 1996a). These articles have generated a fierce debate (e.g. Ben-Tor 2000; Ben-Tor and Ben-Ami 1998; Mazar 1997), which was a major stimulant behind the introduction of large-scale radiocarbon projects into Iron Age archaeology. And though the gap between my system and the reasonable voice in the traditional camp is narrowing (the ‘extended conventional chronology’—Mazar in the Radiocarbon Dating conference, Oxford 2004; see also Mazar 2004: 31), the dispute is far from being resolved. The traditional system for the chronology of the late Iron I and early Iron II strata in the Levant is based on two pillars: (1) The date of Philistine pottery and its implications to the end of the Iron I; (2) The date of the Iron IIA strata in the north. These two pillars are certainly related, but they are not necessarily dependent on each other (contra Bunimovitz and Faust 2001: abstract; Mazar 1997). In other words, the acceptance or rejection of one does not call for a similar attitude to the other. And I should say from the outset, these two pillars have very little to do with archaeology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781845534981
ISBN (Print)9781845530570
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005


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