Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Shiloh and Carbon14

Page 266:

The richest Iron I pottery assemblage in the highlands of Cisjordan was unearthed in Stratum V at Shiloh (Bunimovitz and Finkelstein 1993). This settlement came to an end in an exceptionally heavy conflagration, which left destruction debris of over 1 m thick. This Shiloh V assemblage can be labelled middle Iron I (Finkelstein and Piasetzky 2006a), as it falls between the earliest post-Egyptian-domination Iron I pottery groups, and the terminal phase of the Iron I in the lowlands. Several samples of carbonized grain found in two silos which belong to this stratum provided a calibrated date of 1056–1008 BC (1081–1032 BC according to the Bayesian model). Albright (1929) affiliated this destruction layer with the aftermath of the Israelite defeat in the battle of Eben-ezer, related in 1 Samuel 4. Though the First Book of Samuel may preserve memories from the formative phase in the history of Ancient Israel (for instance, regarding the importance of Shiloh – a site which was not inhabited in the later days of the Iron Age when the biblical material was put in writing), there is no way to verify the historicity of the story of the battle of Eben-ezer. 


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