The early Iron Age dating project: Introduction, methodology, progress report and an update on the Tel Dor radiometric dates

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

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


The Iron Age Dating Project was initiated four years ago in order to suggest a radiometric way out of the apparent stalemate reached in the debate over early Iron Age chronology in Israel. It is based on the conviction that a question of such a tight resolution requires an extensive database, carefully selected from many sites and dated by different methods and different laboratories. This is the only means by which inevitable archaeological and analytical errors may be identified and eliminated. The data set, about 100 samples from 21 sites in Israel, producing more than 400 individual measurements, requires explicit and versatile methods for the statistical modeling of the dates. This paper introduces the archaeological, analytical and statistical rationale of the project, alongside partial results. In addition, we present new dates from Tel Dor, the site that produced the first radiometric sequence empirically supporting the low chronology. These new dates, measured by different laboratories, corroborate the previous conclusions regarding Tel Dor. They again support the low chronology, as do the preliminary results of the Iron Age Dating Project. In 1996, two of us (A.G. and I.S.) sent ten samples from the early Iron Age sequence at Tel Dor to be dated by the Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, then headed by Israel Carmi. Shortly afterwards Israel Finkelstein's first paper advocating a 'low chronology' for the Iron Age in Israel (1996) was published.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781845534981
ISBN (Print)9781845530570
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Thomas E. Levy and Thomas Higham 2005. All Rights Reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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