Dating the iron age I/II transition in Israel: First intercomparison results

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Nearly a decade ago, a different chronology than the conventional absolute chronology for the early Iron Age in Israel was suggested. The new, lower chronology "transfers" Iron Age I and Iron Age IIA contexts in Israel, traditionally dated to the 11th and 10th centuries BCE, to the 10th and 9th centuries, respectively. Thus, it places the Iron I|IIA transition at about 920-900 BCE. This alternative chronology carries important implications for Israelite history, historiography, and Bible research, as well as for the chronologies of other regions around the Mediterranean. Relevant radiocarbon data sets published to date, which were measured at different sites by different laboratories, were claimed to be incompatible. Therefore, the question of agreement between laboratories and dating methods needs to be addressed at the outset of any study attempting to resolve such a tight chronological dilemma. This paper addresses results pertaining to this issue as part of a comprehensive attempt to date the early Iron Age in Israel based on many sites, employing different measuring techniques in 2 laboratories. The intercomparison results demonstrate that: a) the agreement between the 2 laboratories is well within the standard in the 14C community and that no bias can be detected in either laboratory; and b) calculating the Iron I|IIa transition in 3 different ways (twice independently by the measurements obtained at the 2 labs and then by combining the dates of both) indicates that the lower chronology is the preferable one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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