Radiocarbon dating the bible dating with married women
The work reported here represents the large-scale excavations at the IA copper production site of Khirbat en-Nahas (KEN) (12) and is a part of a deep-time study of the impact of mining and metallurgy over the past 8 millennia in Jordan's Faynan district.
Faynan is part of an IA polity known from the HB as Edom, located in the Saharo-Arabian desert zone in southern Transjordan. BCE, Edom extended westward across the Wadi Arabah, from Transjordan into the Negev Desert.
Edom is characterized by 2 major geomorphologic units, the highland plateau and the lowlands that border Wadi Arabah.
Before our project, most IA excavations were carried out on the highland plateau, largely ignoring the copper ore-rich Edom lowlands.
The second major excavation campaign at KEN took place in 2006.
Beginning in the 1980s, this paradigm came under severe attack, primarily by so-called biblical minimalist scholars who argued that as the HB was edited in its final form during the 5th century (c.) BC (3), any reference in the text to events earlier than 500 BC were false (4).
(1), asserting that he had discovered King Solomon's mines in the Faynan district (the northern part of biblical Edom), ≈50 km south of the Dead Sea in what is now southern Jordan.
The period between the First and Second World Wars has been called the “Golden Age” of biblical archaeology (2) when this subfield was characterized by an almost literal interpretation of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible, HB) as historical fact.
A suite of 37 radiocarbon samples from our 2002 excavations was processed by accelerator laboratories in Oxford and Groningen and yielded early IA dates for the occupation of the site, between the end of the 12th c. 12:2–10), and Egyptian texts of the Levantine military campaign by Pharaoh Sheshonq (Shishak) I, who reigned 945–924 BCE (18).
The campaign is mentioned in the HB and absolute dating evidence comes from Shishak's extensive triumphal topographical list related to his victories in Palestine at the temple of Amun at Karnak, Thebes (pls. The KEN excavations bring the early history of IA Edom into the realm of social interaction between 10th c. Although the GMM published 9 radiocarbon dates from the Heidelberg lab and we published 10 dates from Oxford and 27 dates from the Groningen labs, this sample was not substantial enough for some scholars (total of 46 dates) (12, 16) to accept the implications of this new dating framework for Edom.