Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?

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Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?

DR JOHN J. BIMSON

1. The Problem Stated

IN AN ARTICLE which appeared in Pensée in 1973, W. H. STIEBING claimed that “Velikovsky’s revised synchronisms for ancient history cannot be reconciled with the stratigraphical evidence of archaeology” [1]. One of Stiebing’s objections to Velikovsky’s chronology relies on the supposed association of Hyksos objects with pottery of the Middle Bronze II period in Palestine. I have shown elsewhere that this association does not bear close scrutiny [2]. But Stiebing also raised another and more serious problem for the revised chronology, and it is with this that the present paper is chiefly concerned. In brief, the problem is as follows.

XVIIIth-Dynasty scarabs
XVIIIth-Dynasty scarabs from late Bronze Age contexts, Lachish

The ancient ruined cities of Palestine are tells, i.e. mounds consisting of several strata of debris from successive periods of occupation. These strata will obviously follow each other chronologically from the lowest (oldest) to the uppermost (most recent). Scarabs and other objects from Egypt’s XVIIIth Dynasty are regularly found in those strata characterised by pottery types described as Late Bronze Age (LBA). Velikovsky dates the XVIIIth Dynasty over 500 years later than in the conventional chronology, making its beginning roughly synchronous with the start of the Hebrew monarchy. The archaeological levels currently assigned to the monarchic period of Hebrew history are those characterised by pottery types described as Iron Age. The Iron Age levels lie above those of the LBA. Therefore the LBA preceded the Iron Age, and since the Iron Age is synchronised with the monarchic period, the LBA must have preceded the monarchic period. This obviously puts the XVIIIth Dynasty scarabs found in LBA strata, and the rulers whose reigns they commemorate, earlier than the Hebrew monarchy. Thus Velikovsky’s proposed synchronisms between the Hebrew kings and the rulers of the XVIIIth Dynasty would appear to be impossible.

Velikovsky has replied to Stiebing’s argument in a way which can only be described as unsatisfactory [3]. Erroneously taking Stiebing’s claim to be that XVIIIth Dynasty scarabs do not occur in Iron Age strata, he emphasised that they do. In particular, he cited Murray to show that scarabs bearing the prenomen Menkheperre are frequently found with pottery dated to the 10th century BC [4]; Menkheperre was the prenomen of Thutmose III, and the revised chronology indeed places him in the 10th century. In reacting thus to a claim which Stiebing had never made, Velikovsky ignored the claim he had made: that XVIIIth Dynasty scarabs do occur in LBA contexts, and this makes them earlier than Velikovsky’s chronology permits.

Stiebing reiterated this in a later response [5], and again Velikovsky replied. But his reply concentrated on evidence favourable to his revised chronology, and still failed to answer Stiebing on this particular issue [6].

This is disappointing, because the problem raised by Stiebing is a major one. Contrary to a claim made by Velikovsky in the last-mentioned article, XVIIIth Dynasty scarabs are far more common in LBA contexts than in Iron Age ones. To the several examples of XVIIIth Dynasty scarabs in LBA contexts cited by Stiebing [7], many more could be added [8]. These belong especially to the subdivision of the LBA known as LB II. There can be no doubt that LB II was largely contemporary with the XVIIIth Dynasty. Hence Velikovsky’s chronology for that dynasty can only be sustained if the LB II period can be redated to the time of the Hebrew monarchy.

But this can only be achieved if the Iron Age, which is currently dated to that time, can also be redated to a later period. There may seem to be little hope of this; remains of Iron Age cities at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer are confidently attributed to Solomon (10th century BC), and the first Iron Age buildings at Samaria are unanimously agreed to be the work of Omri and Ahab (9th century BC). (Velikovsky himself has never questioned the conventional dating of these levels; his argument concerning the Menkheperre scarabs, noted above, depends on the assumption that pottery currently assigned to the 10th century BC is correctly dated, and his discussion of the ivories from Samaria [9] assumes that their attribution to the time of Ahab is correct.) Furthermore, Stiebing has implied that the context in which Assyrian objects occur in Palestine rules out any redating of Iron Age levels [10].

Each of these points will be discussed below, and we will find that the apparent problems can be readily resolved. Palestine’s LBA and Iron Age strata can be redated in the manner required by Velikovsky’s placement of the XVIIIth Dynasty, and this redating is in fact attested independently by a great deal of archaeological evidence. We must begin in the LBA.

2. A Theoretical Solution

Temple at Hazor stratum comparison
Comparison of (A) LB II (Stratum Ib) temple at Hazor with (B) the basic ground plan of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, as deduced from biblical information. Both have a tripartite division on a single axis, side-rooms and a pair of free-standing pillars (though the latter are not identically situated in both cases)

(a) The Late Bronze Age and the Reign of Solomon

I have argued at length elsewhere [11] that the Israelite Conquest of Canaan is marked by the collapse of Palestine’s major cities at the end of the Middle Bronze Age – an event which I date to the late 15th century BC. A corollary of this is that the first subdivision of the LBA (LB I) is largely contemporary with the time of the Judges, and, in the revised chronology, with the Hyksos period. I have also discussed evidence for this in a recent article [12]. At one place in that article, I assumed a division of LB I into two parts, LB I A and LB I B. Though chiefly concerned with dating the start of LB I A relative to the Hyksos period, I also suggested briefly that the transition to LB I B belonged in the reign of Solomon [13]. Research carried out since that article was written has led me to modify that view. Although an exhaustive study of the LBA contexts of all scarabs commemorating Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would be required to establish this point, a preliminary survey suggests that objects from the joint reign of these two rulers do not occur until the transition from LB I to LB II, and that scarabs of Thutmose III occur regularly from the start of LB II onwards, and perhaps no earlier [14]. Velikovsky’s chronology makes Hatshepsut (with Thutmose III as co-ruler) a contemporary of Solomon, and Thutmose III’s sole reign contemporary with that of Rehoboam in Judah [15]. Therefore, if the revised chronology is correct, these scarabs would suggest that Solomon’s reign saw the transition from LB I to LB II, rather than that from LB I A to LB I B.

Placing the beginning of LB II during the reign of Solomon produces a very good correlation between archaeological evidence and the biblical record of that period. It is with this correlation that we will begin. In taking the LB I – II transition as its starting-point, the present article not only takes up the challenge offered by Stiebing, but also continues the revision begun in my previous articles, and will bring it to a conclusion (in broad outline) with the end of the Iron Age.

Though KENYON has stated that the LB I – II transition saw a decline in the material culture of Palestine [16], ongoing excavations are now revealing a different picture. LB II A “was definitely superior to the preceding LB I”, in terms of stability and material prosperity; it saw “a rising population that reoccupied long abandoned towns” [17]. Foreign pottery imports are a chief characteristic of the period [18]. According to the biblical accounts in the books of Kings and Chronicles, Solomon’s reign brought a period of peace which saw an increase in foreign contacts, unprecedented prosperity, and an energetic building programme which extended throughout the kingdom [19].

I Kings 9:15 specifically relates that Solomon rebuilt Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. In the revised stratigraphy envisaged here, the cities built by Solomon at these sites would therefore be those of LB II A. More specifically, these three Solomonic cities would be represented by Stratum VIII in Area AA at Megiddo [20], by Stratum XVI at Gezer, and by Stratum XIV of the Upper City at Hazor (= Str. Ib of the Lower City) [21].

The wealth and international trade attested by these levels certainly reflect the age of Solomon far more accurately than the Iron Age cities normally attributed to him, from which we have “no evidence of any particular luxury” [21a].

Map showing sites discussed in the text
Map showing sites
discussed in the text

The above-mentioned strata at Megiddo and Gezer have both yielded remains of very fine buildings and courtyards [22]. The Late Bronze strata on the tell at Hazor have unfortunately not produced a clear picture, because of levelling operations and extensive looting of these levels during the Iron Age; but the LB II A stratum of the Lower City has produced a temple very similar in concept to the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as described in the Old Testament [23].

Art treasures from these cities not only indicate the wealth of the period, but reflect contacts with Egypt and northern Mesopotamia [24]. These contacts are precisely those we would expect to find attested during Solomon’s reign, the Bible records Solomon’s trade with Egypt and his marriage to the Pharaoh’s daughter [25], and says (I Kings 4:24) that his kingdom extended as far to the north-east as Tiphsah, which is probably to be identified with Thapsacus, “an important crossing in the west bank of the Middle Euphrates … placed strategically on a great east-west trade route” [26].

The Bible adds extra detail concerning Gezer: namely, that Solomon rebuilt it after it had been captured and burnt by the Pharaoh, who had given the site to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, as a dowry (I Kings 9:16-17). In Velikovsky’s chronology, this pharaoh is identified as Thutmose I [27]. In the revised stratigraphy considered here, we would expect to find evidence for this destruction of Gezer at some point during LB I, and sure enough we do, including dramatic evidence of burning [28]. The “latest possible date” for this destruction is said to be the reign of Thutmose III, with some archaeologists preferring an earlier date [29]. We may readily identify this destruction as the work of Solomon’s father-in-law.

From the period between this destruction and the LB II A city comes a group of several dozen burials in a cave. DEVER remarks that most of these “show signs of advanced arthritis, probably from stoop labour, which may be an indication of the hardships of life during this period” [30]. Yet contemporary finds, including “Egyptian glass, alabaster and ivory vessels, and a unique terra-cotta sarcophagus of Mycenaean inspiration” [31], indicate considerable prosperity and international trade at this time. In a revised framework, it is tempting to speculate that the burials were of people who suffered under Solomon’s system of forced labour, by which Gezer was built according to I Kings 9:15. It emerges in I Kings 12 that this forced labour caused sufficient hardship to contribute to the bitterness which split the kingdom after Solomon’s death.

We must turn briefly to Jerusalem, where Solomon’s building activities were concentrated for the first twenty years of his reign, according to I Kings 9:10. Here we find that traces of occupation datable to Solomon’s time in the conventional scheme are rather poor [32] In the revised scheme, we may attribute to Solomon the impressive stone terrace system of LBA date excavated by Kenyon on the eastern ridge [33]. In fact, this is probably the “Millo” which Solomon is said to have built (I Kings 9:15, 24; II:27). Kenyon describes the nucleus of this terrace system as “a fill almost entirely of rubble, built in a series of compartments defined by facings of a single course of stones…” [34]. “Fill”, or “filling”, is the probable meaning of “Millo” [35]. Also to Solomon’s time would belong at least some of the LBA tombs discovered on the western slope of the Mount of Olives; many of these contain LB I – IIA material which includes “a surprisingly large number” of imported items from Cyprus,Aegean and Egypt [36]. The number would not be surprising in the context of Solomon’s reign. Unfortunately, we cannot hope to locate any remains of Solomon’s Temple and Palace at Jerusalem, since even if traces of these buildings survive, they are almost certainly inaccessible to archaeologists because of more recent (especially Herodian) building activity.

We must now leave the subject of Solomonic cities to consider the rest of the LBA. I will not discuss possible correlations for the remainder of this period in any detail here. I simply note the possibility that the transition from LB II A to LB II B, which saw a widespread decline in material culture, should be linked with the Aramaean invasions of Israel and Judah which occurred at the end of the 9th century BC (cf. II Kings 12:17-18; 13:1-7). The destruction of Hazor’s LB II A strata, conventionally dated to about 1300 BC, could have been the work of either Hazael or Ben-hadad II [37].

Next we move on to consider the date for the end of the LBA and the start of the Iron Age in this revised stratigraphy.

(b) The End of the Late Bronze Age

It is well known that at the end of the LBA several cities in Palestine were destroyed. These destructions are conventionally dated to the late 13th century BC, and those scholars who favour the theory of a 13th century date for the Exodus and Conquest have often attributed the destructions at Hazor, Lachish, Debir and elsewhere to the Israelites invading Canaan under Joshua [38]. The Iron Age culture which follows these destructions has been viewed as that brought by the newcomers, and hence has often been described as Israelite. However, it has been pointed out that this culture is, in fact, only an impoverished form of that of the LBA [39], and that there is no reason to attribute it to a nation of newly-arrived settlers apart from the a priori assumption that the settlement by Israel was taking place at this time [40].


Relief showing Assyrian conquest of Gezer (Gazru),
c. 733 BC, from palace of Tiglath-Pileser at Nimrud

The logical revised position for these destructions is the late 8th century, from 733 BC onwards, when Palestine suffered a series of destructive invasions by the Assyrians [41]. For example, the final destruction of LBA Hazor (Str. XIII of the Upper City, Str. 1a of the Lower City), currently dated to about 1230 BC, would be the work of Tiglath-pileser III in 733 BC, as recorded in II Kings 15:29; the end of LBA Gezer (Str. XV) was probably the work of the same campaign, during which the Assyrian armies also attacked Philistia, a conquest of Gezer is depicted in reliefs from Tiglath-pileser III’s palace at Nimrud [42]; the end of Lachish level VI, currently dated to around 1200 BC [43], would be the work of Sennacherib in 701 BC, his siege of the city being recorded in his own reliefs and referred to in the Old Testament (II Kings 18:14, 17; 19:8). It is interesting in this connection that the destruction of level III at Lachish, dated to 701 by TUFNELL and others, has been redated by a number of archaeologists to 598 BC; but despite almost conclusive evidence for this later date, Tufnell objects to it on the grounds that with this destruction removed from 701 BC, “there is no other evidence on the site to substantiate the existence of the well-documented Assyrian campaign” [44]. Our proposed redating of the destruction of level VI provides the missing evidence of Sennacherib’s attack.

A whole series of similar correlations could be suggested for Debir, Megiddo, Beth-shan, Ashdod, Tell Abu Hawam, Aphek and Beitin. That the Iron Age culture which followed these destructions was an impoverished form of what had gone before is what the above scheme would lead us to expect, that culture represents a scattered population’s efforts at recovery after the major cities had been destroyed and many of their inhabitants killed or deported.

There is considerable evidence to support the view that the LBA ended 500 years later than is currently supposed. Let us look firstly at the argument between AHARONI and ROTHENBERG on the one hand and NELSON GLUECK on the other, concerning the dating of pottery at Timna, an ancient copper-mining site in the Arabah. At Timna, a type of pottery described as “Edomite” by Glueck was found with transitional LBA – Iron Age pottery well known from Palestine. This led Aharoni to date the “Edomite” pottery at Timna to the 12th – 11th centuries BC and no later. Glueck protested that this dating of the Timna material was “in error”, his reason being that this same “Edomite” pottery had been found by him at Tell el-Kheleifeh (possibly the site of Ezion-geber), where it is confined to Str. IV. This stratum has been dated by the inscriptional material and the Assyrian pottery which it contains. It does not begin until the end of the 8th century and belongs chiefly to the 7th – 6th centuries BC [45].

It is well known that Egyptian finds at Timna now seem to have overridden Glueck’s objections and to have established an early date for the Timna material. An excellent account of the dispute between Glueck and Aharoni/Rothenberg has already been given by E. DANELIUS in two articles which draw out some of its implications for a revised chronology [46]. But one fact emerges from the above which did not receive emphasis in those articles, and which is very significant for our present discussion: the same pottery is found (a) in Tell el-Kheleifeh Str. IV, where it occurs with Assyrian styles and cannot be earlier than about 700 BC, and (b) at Timna, where it is associated with the transitional LBA – Iron Age pottery types common in Palestine. The logical implication is that there should be no gap of five centuries between the LBA – Iron Age transition and the end of the 8th century BC.

Scale armour fragments
Fragments of scale armour from the end of the LBA occupation at Tell Deir ‘Alla. The holes are for the stitching which held the scales to the underlying fabric or leather

A similar implication can be drawn from finds made at Qurayyah in Arabia, first published in 1970 [47]. Here pottery has been found which has been compared in the same breath with late LBA forms from Palestine and with forms from Str. IV at Tell el-Kheleifeh [48]. Some careful research should be undertaken to see just how many examples of this sort of anomaly exist.

Further evidence comes from Tell Deir Alla, in the Jordan Valley, east of the river and on the northern bank of the Wadi Zerqa. Here we have a LBA settlement destroyed, according to present estimates, at the beginning of the 12th century BC [49]. From the destruction of the LBA occupation come several plates of scale armour [50]. Now fragmentary, these were clearly rectangular in shape originally, and thus resemble the plates of scale armour worn by Assyrian troops in reliefs, e.g. those depicting the siege of Lachish in 701 BC [51]. If the end of the LBA occupation does in fact date to the late 8th or early 7th century BC, these fragments of armour would indeed belong to the time of the Assyrian invasions [52].

The first Iron Age occupation at Tell Deir Alla is dated to the 12th – 11th centuries BC, and from this comes an interesting item of pottery. This is a child’s feeding-bowl, with a rounded hollow rim which begins in a spout, and, “after coiling round the bowl, dips down into the middle … ending with a fox’s head almost touching the base of the bowl” [53]. It is made “of light grey metallic ware”, and, in FRANKEN’S opinion, represents “a striving to recreate metal prototypes in pottery” [54]. But the only metal version with which Franken compares this bowl is one in the Hittite Museum at Ankara, and which “comes from a young prince’s grave in 7th century Gordion” [55]. This can hardly be a metal prototype for the Tell Deir Alla version if it post-dates it by four or five centuries! Unless much earlier metal versions can be found, preferably dated independently of the Egyptian chronology which underlies current Palestinian dates, we have here a curious anomaly: two examples of an intricate and distinctive design, separated by 400-500 years, the pottery version being that much older than the metal version which it appears to copy [56]. The revised stratigraphy suggested here would allow the Tell Deir Alla bowl to date from the 7th century, like its metal counterpart.

Tunic-wearing Assyrian soldiers
Drawing of a relief from the palace of Sargon II (721- 705 BC). The Assyrian soldiers are shown wearing tunics of mail consisting of scales like those from Tell Deir ‘Alla and other LBA contexts

(c) The “Philistine” Pottery

At several sites, in the period known as Iron Age I, there occurs a type of pottery with strong Mediterranean connections which is normally associated with the arrival of the Philistines and dated to the 12th and 11th centuries BC. The probable revised placement for this pottery will be mentioned only briefly here, a detailed discussion being reserved for another time.

In the revision we are considering, this pottery first appears around 733 BC. It is very probable, judging from its area of distribution, that the Philistines did use it, but at this late date it obviously cannot be linked with the original Philistine settlement [57]. MR PETER JAMES has suggested to me that, in view of an apparent Cypriot influence shown by the pottery, its arrival should be taken to indicate a settlement by Cypriot groups in Philistia in the late 8th century BC, evidence for which may come from the annals of Sargon II, which record how a certain Iamani became ruler of the Philistine city of Ashdod around 712 BC or earlier. The name Iamani has been taken by a number of scholars to indicate that this man was a Cypriot [58].

In the revised scheme, this pottery cannot have been in use for more than a generation, since it went out of use before the building of the Iron Age II cities, the dating of which we are about to consider.

(d) The Iron Age II A Cities

These are the Iron Age cities at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer normally attributed to Solomon. The logical time for their construction in this revised scheme is the years around 700 BC and following.

In this connection, we must return briefly to the Menkheperre scarabs commonly found in levels conventionally dated to the 10th century BC and assumed by Velikovsky to belong to Thutmose III. Its was noted by MURRAY several years ago, in connection with the common late occurrence of these scarabs, that the name Menkheperre was borne by rulers of the XXIst and XXVth Dynasties, as well as by Thutmose III [59]. During the XXVth Dynasty, whose present placement is not affected by the revised chronology, Menkheperre was probably a second prenomen of Shebitku, who preceded the better-known Tirhakah and probably initiated that dynasty’s anti-Assyrian involvement in Palestine [60]. Since Shebitku reigned around 700 BC, it would be logical to attribute to him, rather than to Thutmose III, those Menkheperre scarabs found in levels currently dated to the 10th century.

In the view offered here, the Iron Age cities normally assigned to that time are no longer “Solomonic” but instead were built some two-and-a-half centuries later than Solomon, under the rule of Israel’s Assyrian governors.

This later dating is in harmony with a considerable amount of evidence. Palace 6000 of Str. Va – IVb at Megiddo, currently assumed to be Solomonic, closely resembles in plan a palace at Zinjirli dated firmly to the late 8th century, while the masonry of this stratum at Megiddo compares closely with that of 7th century Ramat Rahel [61]. Casemate walls like those dated to the 10th century at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer were in use in many periods, including the 7th century [62]. One of the casemates of the supposedly 10th century wall at Gezer was found to contain “badly burned 7th – early 6th century pottery” [63]. Did this wall remain in use for nearly four centuries (surviving the conquest of Gezer by Tiglath-pileser III in 733 BC), as concluded by the excavators [64]? Or was it actually built after that conquest, being in use for just over a century before falling to the attacks of the Babylonians?

Turning to the chambered gateways usually attributed to Solomon at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, we note the fact, rather surprising for the conventional view, that “This unusual type of gate has now been discovered outside of Israel as well, in Philistine Ashdod”, where it is dated to the same time as the so-called “Solomonic” examples [65]. If we are correct in linking this type of gateway with Assyrian rule in Palestine, this discovery is what we would expect, since Ashdod was reorganised as an Assyrian province following the revolt of 712 BC.

Ground plans of Iron Age chambered gateways from Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer and Ashdod
Ground plans of Iron Age chambered gateways from Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer and Ashdod, conventionally dated to the 10th century BC. Those from Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer are assumed to be Solomonic. All four probably belong to the period of Assyrian domination, late 8th century

But the most striking support for dating these cities to the Assyrian domination comes from the pottery evidence. The scheme I have proposed here involves reducing the dates of Iron Age pottery so that pottery dated at present to the 10th century BC onwards all belongs later than the Assyrian invasions of the late 8th century. We would therefore expect this pottery to include occasional items reflecting an Assyrian presence in Palestine. This is precisely what we find.

In one of his last articles, Glueck included a long list of finds of Assyrian pottery in Palestine [66]. Glueck believed that these finds reflected an Assyrian influence which was introduced into Palestine “through troops, traders and settlers from Mesopotamia, from the last part of the eighth century on” [67]. But on checking through the list, we find that several examples come from contexts which are much earlier than this if conventional dates are correct. Of three examples from Lachish, two come from deposits conventionally dated to the 11th – 10th centuries BC, and the third comes from a burial dated to “c. 900 B.C.” [68]. An example from Ain Gev, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, comes from Str. III, which is dated to the 9th century BC [69]. Examples which Glueck cites from Dibon, in Moab, also come from a context dated to the 9th century [70]. In addition to Glueck’s examples, we may note an item of Assyrian pottery from Hazor illustrated by AMIRAN [71]. This is assigned in the excavation report to Str. Va, which is conventionally dated prior to the Assyrian invasion of 733 BC [72].

We therefore see that possibly from Iron Age I onwards, and certainly from Iron Age II A, Assyrian pottery was appearing in Palestine. In the revised scheme under consideration, these items all date from about 700 BC onwards, which is their expected place.

(e) The Remainder of the Iron Age

In the terminology followed here for the Iron Age, the final subdivision of that period is labelled Iron Age III B [73]. This subdivision is conventionally dated c. 720-586 BC. It seems to me that the conventional link between the end of this phase and the Babylonian invasions of the early 6th century is not open to question. With the date for the end of the Iron Age thus fixed, and the date for the beginning of the Iron Age drastically lowered, it is obvious that the Iron Age as a whole must be considerably shortened if the revised stratigraphy outlined here is to succeed as a working hypothesis. Indeed, almost the entire Iron Age must be contained in the period now filled by Iron Age III B alone.

This degree of compression is by no means impossible [74], provided it can be shown that Iron Age III B began much later than 720 BC; we must show, in fact, that it was a very short period beginning near the end of the following century.

At the beginning of Iron Age III B there appears in Palestine a type of pottery known as Assyrian Palace Ware. Until recently, this was confidently dated to about 720 BC (the time of Assyria’s conquest of Israel). A few years ago this pottery would have constituted an insurmountable problem for the redating of Iron Age levels suggested here. At sites where this pottery occurs (e.g. Tell el-Farah North, Samaria, Tell Jemmeh), it would have seemed to confirm beyond doubt the conventional dates for Iron Age strata. But it has recently emerged that the long-held dating of this pottery is over a century too early.

Assyrian-style bowl from Lachish
Assyrian-style bowl from Lachish, dated to the period of Assyrian domination, late-8th-7th century BC, by N. Glueck, but dated by the excavators to the 11th century BC on the basis of associated Iron Age potteryAssyrian 'Palace Ware' from Samaria Period VII
Example of Assyrian “Palace Ware” from Samaria Period VII, dated c. 720-700 BC by the excavators. Similar ware from Nimrud dates from at least a hundred years later

Thus J. S. HOLLADAY, after noting that Assyrian Palace Ware in Palestine “has generally been attributed to the Assyrian occupying forces of the late eighth century B.C.”, points out that recent studies of independently dated pottery from Nimrud show that its floruit “should be placed in and following the last days of the Assyrian empire”; such forms are “actually post-Assyrian in date. That is, we must recognize them as witnessing to a Babylonian influence…” [75]. The similar pottery from two groups at Nimrud “is to be dated very closely to 612 B.C. and later, instead of to the late eighth and early seventh centuries B.C.” [76].

We therefore find that far from precluding the revision suggested here, this pottery actually demands a drastic lowering of dates for Iron Age levels.

At Samaria and Tell el-Farah North we find destruction-levels currently dated to c. 722 – 720 BC. The “Assyrian Palace Ware” is generally assumed to appear immediately following these destructions. It is a logical corollary of redating this pottery that these destruction levels should also be dated over a century later than at present. However, Holladay avoids the full implications of redating the pottery, and retains dates of c. 720 BC for the destructions at Samaria and Tell el-Farah North by assuming that they were followed by occupation periods lasting over a century, with the “Assyrian Palace Ware” belonging to the end of these periods. That this is incorrect is shown by an item of this pottery from a Samaria deposit which immediately pre-dates the destruction of the Iron Age city [77]. Holladay has to treat this item as “probably intrusive from Pottery Period VII” [78], i.e. in his view from over a century later than the destruction. This merely begs the question. The logical conclusion is that the “Assyrian Palace Ware” was actually coming into use in Palestine when the above-mentioned destructions occurred, and that the destructions must be redated with the pottery [79].

I would suggest that these destructions at Samaria and Tell el-Farah North, and also others conventionally dated to the late 8th century BC (e.g. at Hazor and Gezer), were actually the work of the Scythian raid into Palestine mentioned by Herodotus (bk. I, 105) and thought by some to be referred to in Jeremiah 47. MALAMAT has argued for dating this event to 610 BC [80]. Dating the above-mentioned destruction-levels to this time would suit excellently the new date for the “Assyrian Palace Ware” – 612 BC and later [81].

Further evidence for a reduction of dates for Iron Age III B comes from the coastal site of Mesad Hashavyahu. According to NAVEH, Palestinian pottery types normally dated “to the eighth to seventh centuries B.C.” have been found here in the same context as East Greek pottery which cannot be earlier than 630 BC [82], and which some archaeologists prefer to date even later [83].

(f) Samaria

A separate word must be said concerning the dating of Iron Age Samaria, though for the present this will necessarily be brief.

Periods I and II of the Iron Age town at Samaria are conventionally attributed to Omri and Ahab (first half of 9th century BC). A further four, or possibly three, periods (Kenyon’s “Period VI”, may not exist as a separate building phase [84]) supposedly bring us to a date of 722 BC, when the city was conquered by Shalmaneser V after a long siege, and its inhabitants deported to Assyria [85]. If Velikovsky’s revised chronology is correct, this dating must be wrong. This follows from the firm link already discussed between the XVIIIth Dynasty and LB II strata in Palestine. If Velikovsky’s dates for the XVIIIth Dynasty are correct, we would expect Israelite Samaria to be characterised by LB II pottery; in particular we would expect the city of Ahab’s time to produce Mycenaean IIIa pottery, a chief characteristic of the Amarna period. But the Samaria levels mentioned above all contain Iron Age pottery. We are forced to the conclusion that if Velikovsky’s placement of the XVIIIth Dynasty is correct, these levels do not represent the period when Samaria was the capital of Israel. Instead, they must date, like other Iron Age cities discussed previously, from the Assyrian domination onwards.


Ivory depicting winged sphinx with human face (Samaria)

Similar figure from norm-west palace at Nimrud.A close similarity exists between the ivories from Samaria (usually dated to the 9th or early 8th centuries BC) and those from Khorsabad and Nimrud from the reign of Sargon II (721-705 BC). The drawings above & left compare examples from Samaria and Nimrud

Unfortunately, this leaves us with no evidence at all for the Israelite city, since no LBA material has yet been found at Samaria. However, this absence of LBA finds may have a simple explanation. Remembering that so far less than a third of the upper “royal” quarter has been excavated, and that the lower city has hardly been touched [86], we may suggest that the activities of the Iron Age builders have removed all traces of the earlier city from the areas so far excavated. The excavations on the tell at Hazor lend plausibility to this suggestion. Here the Iron Age builders have in places completely removed the remains of the LBA city by massive levelling operations, so that Iron Age remains are found directly above those of the Middle Bronze Age [87]. It is feasible to suggest that similar operations on the summit at Samaria would have brought the Iron Age builders down to bedrock. I would, however, expect further excavations to produce LBA material from somewhere on the site if the present theory is correct.

The proposed dating of Samaria’s Iron Age levels to the period of the Assyrian domination onwards can be supported in several ways. Firstly, it is precisely in keeping with the revised stratigraphy worked out above for other sites, and actually resolves a long-standing problem concerning the pottery of Periods I and II. Believing these periods of Samaria’s history to belong to the reigns of Omri and Ahab, KENYON dated the pottery found beneath their buildings to the 9th century BC, affirming that it was contemporary with the time of their construction. But AHARONI, AMIRAN and WRIGHT all noted that this pottery is identical with that which elsewhere occurs in levels dated to the 10th century, e.g. at Megiddo and Hazor. These latter writers therefore claimed that it must date to an earlier period than the buildings beneath which it was found, and that it indicated a pre-Omride occupation of the hill [88]. Kenyon continued to assert that it dated to the time when the buildings of Periods I and II were constructed [89]. The grounds for this disagreement are removed by the revision proposed here, since I am suggesting that Samaria Periods I and II belong to the same period which saw the construction of those cities currently attributed to Solomon and dated to the 10th century BC [90].

I would actually suggest that Period I represents the administrative capital which Sargon II built at Samaria. Sargon’s annals relate: “[The town I] re[built] better than (it was) before and [settled] therein people from countries which [I] myself [had con]quered.” [91] Significantly, the Iron Age levels as conventionally dated provide no evidence of Sargon’s apparently extensive building activities [92]. If Period I represents these activities, it would date from between 720 and 705 BC. Period II, with its substantial casemate wall, probably dates from c. 700 BC.

Our next concern must be the date of the famous Samaria ivories. Although hundreds of ivory fragments were discovered during the excavations of the 1930’s, none could be associated with any building remains [93]. Hence they are not firmly linked with a particular building period, and have been conventionally dated independently of stratigraphic considerations to the reign of either Ahab or Jeroboam II [94]. We must show that a much later date is possible.

There is no a priori reason why ivories of this sort should not be dated later than 720 BC, since they actually remained fashionable as late as the 6th century [95]. We should note especially that the Samaria ivories resemble very closely those in a collection from Khorsabad [96]. These date from the reign of Sargon II, and therefore belong to the same time as Samaria Period I if our dating of the latter is correct. We may therefore suggest that the Samaria collection was also formed during the reign of Sargon II, when that king was rebuilding Samaria as an administrative capital. It is possible, of course, that some individual pieces may be earlier than the collection as a whole, while some items may have been added later than Sargon’s reign [97].

Finally we turn to the Samaria ostraca. These are pottery fragments with invoices for wine and oil written on them in Hebrew script. They probably belong to either Period IV or Period V and have been variously dated to the reigns of Ahab, Jeroboam II or Menahem [98], the latest of these dates being mid-8th century. There are actually strong reasons for adopting a much later date.

The Hebrew script in which they are written resembles very closely that of the Lachish letters, which belong to the early 6th century. The similarity has been described as “striking”, and the notion that nearly two centuries lie between the two sets of ostraca has been called “unlikely” and even “impossible” [99]. The script of the Samaria ostraca also resembles that of ostraca found at Mesad Hashavyahu and dated to the reign of Josiah [100]. I would suggest, in the context of the present revision, that the Samaria ostraca also belong to Josiah’s reign (640 – 609 BC), during which Samaria was incorporated into an enlarged kingdom after Assyrian power in Palestine had collapsed [101]. The occurrence on the ostraca of some personal names combined with the theophoric element “Baal”, alongside others incorporating the divine name “Yahweh”, does not weigh against this dating; one of the ostraca from Mesad Hashavyahu also bears a personal name of this type – “Netasbaal” – and that certainly dates from after 630 BC [102].

Dating the final periods of Iron Age Samaria to the reign of Josiah fits well with our previous suggestion that the city was destroyed in 610 BC by the Scythians.

Conclusion: Limits Set by the Archaeological Evidence

Scripts of the Lachish letters
Scripts of the Lachish letters (early 6th century BC), Mesad Hashavyahu ostraca (late 7th century BC) and Samaria ostraca (conventionally dated to the 9th or 8th centuries BC). The relationships do not justify such an early date for the latter

We have seen that several currently emerging lines of evidence support a redating of Palestine’s Iron Age strata. The result is to reduce the Iron Age to the period between c. 730 BC and 586 BC. This is not merely the degree of compression indicated by the evidence we have noted, but also that required to allow LB II to become contemporary with the monarchic period between c. 950 BC and the late 8th century. In other words, this revision readily accommodates Velikovsky’s placement of the XVIIIth Dynasty.

We should also note that the revision of LB II dates proposed here is of the same order as that implied by the “Dark Ages” which characterise other regions of the ancient Near East [103]. We may suggest, in fact, that the chronology of the Iron Age in Palestine has been “stretched” by the conventional scheme to fill what would otherwise have been roughly the same “Dark Age” period as we encounter elsewhere.

However, it must be said before closing that Velikovsky’s placements of the XIXth and XXth Dynasties still face major difficulties. Quite apart from problems within the Egyptian material, which it is not my task to discuss, equally serious ones arise from the contexts in which objects from these dynasties occur in Palestine. Scarabs of Ramesses I and Ramesses II (Dyn. XIX) are found most regularly in LBA contexts in Palestine, so their reigns cannot be placed later than the end of the LBA [104]. I find it absolutely impossible to date the end of the LBA later than about 700 BC at any site. Yet Velikovsky places Ramesses II’s reign in the 7th century BC. This would require placing the end of the LBA about a century later than I have suggested, which is not possible, because we also have to accommodate the entire Iron Age before the Babylonian invasions of the early 6th century.

The revised stratigraphy worked out above would seem to require an 8th century date for Ramesses II, and hence for most of the XIXth Dynasty. This is, of course, where that dynasty would belong in the revised chronology if it was permitted to follow the XVIIIth Dynasty, as in the conventional view, and thereby allowed an independent identity, instead of being identified with the XXVIth Dynasty as in Velikovsky’s scheme [105]. In addition to the archaeological evidence, there are several other reasons for preferring a largely 8th century date for the XIXth Dynasty against that proposed by Velikovsky, but to discuss them here would take me beyond the scope of this paper.

The same sort of obstacle exists to Velikovsky’s placement of Ramesses III as late as the 4th century BC. Scarabs of this ruler are most regularly found in Palestine with transitional LBA – Iron Age Pottery, including the so-called “Philistine” ware [106]. The revised stratigraphy discussed here allows him to reign in the last decades of the 8th century, but no later, notwithstanding the arguments offered in Peoples of the Sea [107]. In this earlier context, the “Peleset” of the Sea-peoples would be the biblical Philistines, as traditionally supposed, but Philistines of the time of Ahaz and Hezekiah, not the Philistines of the Judges era. The individual “peoples” mentioned in Ramesses III’s inscriptions could be groups named by their cities of origin. An identification of the Shekelesh with people from Ashkelon springs readily to mind, and other correlations could be suggested, but again, this would take me beyond the scope of the present paper.

In conclusion, the problem posed by Palestinian archaeology for Velikovsky’s placement of the XVIIIth Dynasty can be resolved; but the archaeological evidence does stand as an obstacle to his placements of Dynasties XIX and XX. In this connection I would echo a view expressed by the editors of Pensée, that it would be quite wrong to erect Velikovsky’s hypotheses and evidence “into a monument which must be defended whole … or else abandoned altogether” [108]. There is no need to accept or reject the revised chronology as a whole; its many component phases require separate assessment. The evidence supporting Velikovsky’s placements for the end of the Middle Kingdom, the Hyksos period and the XVIIIth Dynasty is very impressive indeed. In view of this, it will probably be fruitful to examine alternative revised placements for those later dynasties on which his views appear unacceptable.

Post Scriptum

After I had delivered this paper, DR E. DANELIUS very kindly supplied me with a copy of D. USSISHKIN’S article “The Destruction of Lachish by Sennacherib and the Dating of the Royal Judean Storage Jars” (Tel Aviv 4, nos. 1-2, 1977, pp. 28-60), which reports in detail the results of the renewed excavations at Lachish and argues strongly for dating the end of level III to 701 BC, against the authorities referred to in my paper, who date this destruction to 598 BC. This is not the place for a reply to Ussishkin’s arguments, but we may note that chief among them is that level III “remains the sole suitable ‘candidate’ ” for the city of Sennacherib’s attack, “and we have no alternative but to conclude that this is the level destroyed by Sennacherib in 701 B.C.E.” (p. 52; cf. p. 36). This is because the new excavations have shown that after the destruction of the LBA city (VI), there is no level apart from III which can be associated with Sennacherib’s attack (cf. Tufnell’s argument, noted above). This argument has considerable force in the conventional scheme of things, but in the revised stratigraphy proposed above it has none at all, since level VI itself becomes a “suitable candidate” for the city destroyed by Sennacherib. We may also note that Ussishkin’s dating of the Lachish levels requires an upward redating of the Judaean storage-jar seal impressions to before 701 BC (Op. cit., pp. 54-57), a move which HOLLADAY (cf. MD pp. 266-7) clearly considers impossible. The dilemma produced by Ussishkin’s findings can only be resolved by the revised stratigraphy proposed above, which provides evidence for Sennacherib’s attack while allowing the late dating of the jar-handle stamps to stand.

Chart showing the revised placements of the LB II and Iron Age periods
Chart showing the revised placements of the LB II and Iron Age periods discussed in this paper, with LB I included for completeness.* It is difficult to represent Iron Age I on a simple chart, because its beginning depends on the destruction dates of the LB II B cities, and these vary considerably from one site to another. The transition to Iron Age II is also difficult to estimate except in very round figures. Conventional dates
LB I c.1550-1400 BC
LB II A c.1400-1300 BC
LB II B c.1300-1200 BC
Iron Age I A c.1200-1150 BC
Iron Age I B c.1150-1000 BC
Iron Age II A c.1000-900 BC
Iron Age II B c.900-800 BC
Iron Age III A c.800-720 BC
Iron Age III B c.720-586 BCRevised dates
LB I c. 1400-950 BC
LB II A C. 950-800 BC
LB II B C. 800 – 733/700 BC
Iron Age I c. 733 – 700 BC*
and III A c. 700-610 BC
Iron Age III B C. 610-586 BC

–>

Notes and References

1. W. H. Stiebing: “A Criticism of the Revised Chronology”, Pensée IVR V (1973), pp. 10-12 (quotation from p.11).
2. J. J. Bimson: “The Hyksos and the Archaeology of Palestine”, SISR II:3 (1978), pp.58-64.
3. I. Velikovsky: “A Reply to Stiebing”, Pensée IVR VI (1973), pp.38-42.
4. Ibid., p. 40.
5. Stiebing: “Rejoinder to Velikovsky”, Pensée IVR X (1974), pp.24-26.
6. Velikovsky: “A Concluding Retort”, ibid, pp.26 and 49.
7. Stiebing, op. cit. note 1, p. 12, n. 17.
8. E.g. from Lachish (excluding surface finds): Thutmose III, seven scarabs from Tomb 4004, four from Tomb 216, one from Tomb 4011; Amenhotep II, one from Tomb 4004, one from Tomb 555, one from Level VII, NE Section; Thutmose IV, one from each of Tombs 4004, 216,1003 and 542; Amenhotep III, nine from Tomb 4004, two from Tomb 216, two from Tomb 501, one from Tomb 4019 and one from Tomb 543; scarabs of Ay and Horemheb from Tombs 4011 and 4013 (Tufnell et al.: Lachish IV, 1958, p. 97 and charts on pp. 113-126 which give the locus of each scarab). Scarabs and other objects bearing the names of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III also come from LBA levels in the Fosse Temple at Lachish (Turnell et al.: Lachish II, 1940, p.69). For scarabs of Thutmose III in LBA deposits at Megiddo, see P. L. O. Guy: Megiddo Tombs (1938), p.185. On several objects bearing the cartouche of Amenhotep III in foundation deposits of Str. VII at Beth-shan, see A. Rowe: Topography and History of Beth-Shan (1930), p.19.
9. A in C, viii: “The Age of Ivory”.
10. Stiebing, op. cit. note 1, pp.10-11.
11. J. J. Bimson: “The conquest or Canaan and the Revised Chronology”, SISR I:3 (1976), pp. 2-7; Idem: “A Chart on the Conquest of Canaan”, SISR II:3 (1978), pp. 57-58. See also Idem: REC.
12. op. cit. note 2.
13. Ibid., p. 61.
14. On an item from Tell el-Ajjul belonging to the co-regency of the two rulers, cf. A. Kempinski, IEJ 24 (1974), p. 148 with n. 18; Kenyon, revd. CAH, vol. II, pt. I (1973), pp. 529, 554 on dating the relevant pottery groups. On an item from Jericho, cf. Kenyon, PEQ (1951), pp. 116-117, 138. The find-spots of the Thutmose III scarabs listed in note 8 are all LB II. While Lachish Tomb 4004 also contains LB I material, the deposit is not stratified and there is no reason to link the seven Thutmose III scarabs from this tomb with the LB I rather than the LB II pottery.
15. Cf. Velikovsky, A in C, iii and iv. For a refinement of Velikovsky’s chronology for the XVIIIth Dynasty, see G. Gammon: “A Chronology for the Eighteenth Dynasty”, SISR II:3 (1978), pp. 90-94.
16. AHL, p. 209.
17. M. W. Several, PEQ (1972), p. 128.
18. Ibid
19. I Kings 4:2-25; 9:26-10:29; on Solomon’s building programme, see I Kings 9:15-19; II Chronicles 8:3-6.
20. At Megiddo, the method of excavation employed has resulted in a confused situation in the Middle and Late Bronze Age levels, and the original excavation reports can no longer be relied on as an accurate guide to the division of these strata. In some cases what appears on plan as a single stratum combines elements from different levels. For Kenyon’s assessment of the true situation see Levant 1 (1969), pp. 25-60.
21. These LB II A cities are normally dated to the Amarna period (9th century BC in the revised chronology), and we need not deny that they flourished into that period in order to suggest that they were actually built as early as the reign of Solomon. It is important to note that finds from an occupation level will usually belong to the latest occupation of that phase of the city, and will not indicate the time when it was first built.
21a. Kenyon, AHL, pp. 258-9.
22. On Megiddo, see G. Loud: Megiddo II (1948), text vol., pp. 16-25; Kenyon, AHL, pp. 202-203; revd. CAH, vol. II, pt. I (1973), p. 534; on Gezer, see conveniently W. G. Dever in EAE II, p. 438.
23. See Yadin: Hazor (1972), pp. 86-7. This temple even had two pillars of no structural significance at its entrance; Yadin comments: “The similarity to ‘Jachin and Boaz’ of the Solomonic Temple is striking indeed” (Ibid., p. 89; these pillars were actually found in Str. 1a, but Yadin suggests they originally belonged in 1b – Ibid., p. 85). On Solomon’s Jerusalem Temple, see I Kings 6, and on the pillars, I Kings 7:15-22. Hazor’s Str. 2 was a resurgence of the Canaanite city of the MBA (Str. 3), and hence can be identified as the Hazor of the Judges period (Judges 4:2, 17); see my first article (as note 11), p. 6. Str. 1b brought numerous changes: Yadin, op. cit., pp. 50, 83, 85, 100.
24. On Megiddo: G. Loud, Megiddo II (text), p. 25; (plates) pls. 160, 202, 213, 224, 227, 230-232, 241; Kenyon, AHL, pp. 202-203; on Hazor: Yadin et al., Hazor III-IV (plates, 1961), pl. 323; on Gezer: Dever in EAE n, p. 438. Note the number of gold and ivory objects among the Megiddo hoard; both gold and ivory were imported by Solomon in large quantities – I Kings 10:14-22.
25. I Kings 9:16, 24; 10:28-11:1; cf. also Velikovsky, A in C, iii, on the Queen of Sheba as Hatshepsut, and the articles by E. Danelius cited below, n. 46.
26. J. D. Douglas, NBD, p. 1283.
27. A in C, iii: “Two Suzerains”.
28. Dever et al.: Gezer I (1970), pp. 54-55; Dever in EAE II, p. 438: “… a destruction which left a meter or more of burned bricks in every field investigated.”
29. J. D. Seger, IEJ 23 (1973), p. 250 W. G. Dever at first suggested a date as late as the reign of Thutmose IV: IEJ 20 (1970), p. 226 and Gezer I (1970), p. 55. However, he subsequently retracted this date, believing it to be too late (cf. IEJ 23, 1973, p. 26, n. 6), and suggested linking the destruction “provisionally” with the first campaign of Thutmose III (EAE II, p. 438). But Seger prefers a date earlier still (op. cit.) as also does Kempinski, IEJ 22 (1972), p. 185. The oft-repeated statement by Dever that Thutmose III claims to have destroyed Gezer (e.g. BA 34, 1971, p. 127; IEJ 22, 1972, p. 159; EAE II, p. 438) is untrue. Reliefs in the Temple of Amon at Kamak, illustrating this pharaoh’s campaigns, depict rows of Asiatic prisoners identified by the names of their towns of origin, one of which is Gezer. There is no reason to assume that this indicates the destruction of the town. For references to Asiatic campaign(s) by Thutmose I, see Breasted: Ancient Records of Egypt II (1906), pp. 28-31, 33-35; cf. Velikovsky, A in C, iii: “Two Suzerains”.
30. Dever, EAE II, p. 438.
31. Ibid.
32. See the comments by J. A. Soggin in IJH, p. 341.
33. Kenyon: Digging Up Jerusalem, (1974), pp. 94-96.
34. Ibid, p. 95.
35. Cf. T. C. Mitchell in NBD, p. 823.
36. B. Mazar in Jerusalem Revealed (Israel Exploration Society, 1975), p. 3.
37. I have suggested a possible redating of LBA material at Jericho elsewhere; see SISR I:5 (1977), p. 16.
38. E.g. W. F. Albright, BASOR 74 (1939), pp. 11-23; G. E. Wright: Biblical Archaeology ((2)1962), pp. 80-84; K. A. Kitchen: Ancient Orient and Old Testament (1966), pp. 65-67; J. Bright: A History of Israel ((2)1972), pp. 127-130.
39. Cf. J. B. Pritchard in J. P. Hyatt (ed.): The Bible in Modern Scholarship (1965), pp. 320-321, and works in following note.
40. M. Weippert: The Settlement of the Israelite Tribes in Palestine (1971), pp. 132-34; H. J. Franken, revd. CAH, vol. II, pt. II (1975), pp. 332-333; PEQ (1976), pp. 7-8; J. M. Miller in IJH, pp. 255, 274. Some scholars, in order to explain why the Iron I culture attributed to Israel shows continuity with that of the LBA, assume that the Israelites had no culture of their own and so adopted that of the peoples among whom they settled; cf. Aharoni, LB, pp. 219-220. This reasoning is, of course, circular.
41. A similar placement for the end of the LBA is suggested by D. A. Courville (The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, 1971), in the context of a revised stratigraphy with which, in other respects, I disagree.
42. Cf. H. Tadmor, BA 29 (1966), p. 89, n. 15; Dever in EAE II, p. 429.
43. O. Tufnell: Lachish III (1953), p. 51; AOTS, p. 302. Albright, who originally dated the end of LBA Lachish to c. 1230 BC, later preferred “1220 or somewhat later”: The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra ((4)1963), p. 27.
44. O. Tufnell in EAE III, p. 745; see originally Lachish III (1953), pp. 55-56. Others preferring a date of 701 for the end of Level III are: Aharoni and Amiran, IEJ 8 (1958), p. 182, n. 42; D. Ussishkin, IEJ 27 (1977), p. 51. The later date has been argued by Albright, Buchanan, Kenyon, Lance and Wright; for references, see H. D. Lance, HTR 64 (1971), pp. 321-330. Also now J. S. Holladay in MD, pp. 266-67, and JBL 96 (1977), pp. 283-84.
45. Aharoni initially dated the Timna pottery to the 10th century BC: PEQ (1962), pp. 66-67, but subsequently to the 12-11th centuries BC and no later: PEQ (1966), p. 7. Egyptian finds at Timna raised the dating even further; cf. B. Rothenberg: Timna (1972), pp. 105-110, 180. For Glueck’s objections to Aharoni’s dates, see especially Eretz-Israel 9 (1969), p. 54 with n. 16. Glueck continued to hold to a late dating even after the Egyptian finds had been made; see The Other Side of the Jordan ((2)1970), pp. 73, 93-4. For Glueck on Tell el-Kheleifeh Str. IV in summary, see BA 28 (1965), pp. 86-7; for detailed dating evidence, Eretz-Israel 9, pp. 51-59.
46. E. Danelius: “The Identification of the Biblical ‘Queen of Sheba’ with Hatshepsut, ‘Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia’ in the Light of New Archaeological Discoveries”, pt. I, Kronos I:3 (1976), pp. 3-19; pt. II, Kronos I:4 (1976), pp. 9-23.
47. P. J. Parr et al: “Preliminary Survey in N. W. Arabia, 1968”, Bull. Inst. of Archaeology (1970), pp. 193-242.
48. Ibid., pp. 238-240.
49. H. J. Franken: Excavations at Tell Deir Alla I (1969), p. 19. This date has the support of Carbon-14 tests on the charred remains of wooden beams, but cf. Isaacson’s remarks on the interpretation of dates obtained from such material in Pensée IVR IV (1973), pp. 26-32.
50. Franken, VT 11 (1961), p. 365 with pl. 12.
51. See Pritchard: The Ancient Near East (1958), pl. 101.
52. Scale armour fragments found at Lachish (7 of bronze, 10 of iron) were dated to 701 BC by Tufnell, Lachish III, 1953, pp. 386-87, along with a fragmentary helmet-crest. These must now be dated to 598 BC in view of the redating of Lachish Level III (above, with note 44). Stiebing’s appeal to this helmet-crest as confirming the present dating of Iron Age levels (op. cit. note 1, pp. 10-11 with n. 11) is therefore invalidated; it is not Assyrian, as he supposes, but Babylonian. (Note that the terminology used by Stiebing for the Iron Age is not the same as that followed in the present article; what I refer to as Iron Age III is included in Stiebing’s Iron Age II; cf. below, note 73.)
53. Franken, VT 11 (1961), p. 369 with pl. 17.
54. Ibid., p. 369.
55. Ibid.
56. Franken refers to a similar bowl in pottery from Ain Shems (Ibid.). This is illustrated in EAE I, p. 249. While similar in design, it is clearly not made of the same grey metallic ware as the example from Tell Deir Alla. Described as LBA, it cannot be dated independently of Egyptian chronology.
57. On the initial Philistine settlement, and possible ceramic and other material evidence for it in a revised scheme, see my article “The Arrival of the Philistines and the Revised Chronology”, SISR III:1 (1978), pp. 13-16.
58. But cf. Tadmor, JCS 12 (1958), p. 80, n. 217. This will be discussed in detail in another place.
59. M. A. Murray in Tufnell et al, Lachish III, pp. 360-361; cf. Petrie: A History of Egypt III (1905), p. 292.
60: Cf. K. A. Kitchen: The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1973), pp. 154-158. I am indebted to Mr Peter James for drawing my attention to the possibility of identifying the XXVth Dyn. Menkheperre with Shebitku and of attributing to him the scarabs discussed here. Kitchen mentions the possibility that Menkheperre was a second prenomen of Shebitku, but dismisses it, despite seemingly good evidence, e.g. a faience necklace bearing the alternating cartouches Menkheperre and Djedkaure, where the latter is known to be Shebitku: Ibid., p. 153. Kitchen’s objection is that if Menkheperre was a second prenomen of Shebitku, “it is curious that … this alternative cartouche is so very little used otherwise” (Ibid.). But if the late Menkheperre scarabs were Shebitku’s, the name was used more often than is currently supposed.
61. On Megiddo’s Palace 6000 and that of Zinjirli, see Yadin, BA 33 (1970), pp. 73-75 with figs. 3 and 4. The Zinjirli palace is that of Barrekub; see Frankfort, AAAO, pp. 170-71, with fig. 82. On Ramat Rahel, see note 90.
62. N. L. Lapp: “Casemate Walls in Palestine and the Late Iron II Casemate at Tell el-Ful”, BASOR 223 (1976), pp. 25-42.
63. Dever et al., Gezer I (1970), p. 5.
64. Dever, BA 30 (1967), p. 61: “… this was certainly continued to be reused … down to the destruction of Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.”
65. Aharoni, IEJ 24 (1974), p. 15, n. 11; cf. M. Dothan, IEJ 22 (1972), pp. 166-67, 244.
66. Eretz-Israel 9 (1969), p. 51, n. 2.
67. Ibid., p. 51.
68. Tufnell, Lachish III (1953), pls. 72:12; 81:103, 104; cf. text vol., pp. 200, 250.
69. Mazar, IEJ 14 (1964), p. 43, fig. 8:9; cf. p. 29.
70. Tushingham, BASOR 133 (1954), pp. 23-24 with fig. 10.
71. Amiran: Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land (1970), p. 291, photo 300.
72. Yadin et al., Hazor II (1960), pls. XCVII:11; CLIX:13; pp. 57, 63.
73. Schemes for subdividing the Iron Age are numerous. Here I follow that in A. Negev: Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (1972), p. 352, which divides the Iron Age into three main periods, each with two subdivisions, a-b.
74. At some sites, compression is partly facilitated by an extensive “gap” in the stratigraphical record: “At the present time, there are no published southern (Judaean) sites with strata dating to the eighth or first half of the seventh century B.C.” – J. S. Holladay in MD, p. 260.
75. Ibid., p. 272 (emphasis original). In the light of this, Holladay suggests that the Fort and Residency excavated at Tell Jemmeh, normally attributed to an Assyrian governor through their association with this type of pottery, “were the work of Nebuchadrezzar, who logically should have established a garrison there following his defeat of the Egyptian army in 605-604 B.C. (II Kings 24:7)” (Ibid.).
76. Ibid., p. 282, n. 59.
77. Kenyon, S-S III, fig. 10:9.
78. Holladay, op. cit., p. 272.
79. It has actually been suggested by Wright, Eretz-Israel 9 (1969), p. 130 that the material assigned to “Period VII” is largely destruction debris from the end of Period V (Wright questions the existence of VI as a separate building period; see note 84). This would strengthen the case for dating the destruction of the Iron Age city to the time the pottery discussed here was in use, rather than a century earlier.
80. Malamat: “The Historical Setting of Two Biblical Nations”, IEJ I (1950), pp. 149-159.
81. The Northern Tell el-Farah is probably biblical Tirzah. The end of LBA occupation here, currently dated to the mid-13th century (de Vaux, AOTS, p. 375), would fall in the second half of the 8th century by the revision. This corresponds with the fact that Tirzah is not mentioned as an Israelite city after the reign of Menahem (747-738 BC); it may have been destroyed by Menahem (cf. II Kings 15:16) or by the Assyrians soon after. Level III, and perhaps Level II (Iron Age) would belong largely to the Assyrian regime and would date between c. 700 and c. 610 BC Level I contains the “Assyrian Palace Ware” (AOTS, p. 378), and therefore dates from c. 610 BC onwards, perhaps to 586 BC. The conventional dates for Tirzah’s strata are dovetailed with biblical history by assuming that Tirzah was abandoned when Omri moved the capital of Israel to Samaria (see Ibid,, pp. 380-81). This assumption is quite unwarranted.
The redating of Megiddo’s late strata may be as follows. The end of Str. Va-IVb may be linked with Josiah’s annexation of the northern territories after the decline of Assyrian power. The limestone altars belonging to this city were deliberately destroyed (cf. MRMC, pp. 7-8, written, however, before Va-IVb was identified as a single stratum), and this may have been the result of Josiah’s activity in II Chron. 34:6-7: “… he broke down the altars … throughout all the land of Israel.” The city of Str. IVa would then be the city of Josiah’s enlarged kingdom (cf. Aharnoni, LB, pp. 349-50), probably destroyed by Necho in 609 BC after Josiah’s death (II Kings 23:29). Str. III-II would then belong to the Babylonian period, and a style of coffin datable to the time of Nebuchadrezzar is indeed allocated with these strata (cf. Tufnell, PEFA 6, 1953, p. 67). Str. I belongs to the Persian period.
82. J. Naveh, IEJ 12 (1962), pp. 96-7.
83. Cf. Holladay in MD, p. 281, n. 33; p. 283, n. 77.
84. For Kenyon on the problem of Samaria Periods V and VI, see S-S I, pp. 106-108. Wright holds that “Period VI as a building phase does not exist”, and that “the pottery attributed to it should be used for an interpretation of Building Period V”: BASOR 155 (1959), pp. 25-6.
85. II Kings 18:9-10; on the Assyrian records, Tadmor, JCS 12 (1958), pp. 33, 39.
86. Cf. Crowfoot in S-S I, p. 3. Further excavations in 1968 produced only Persian, Hellenistic and Roman finds: J. B. Hennessy, Levant 2 (1970), pp. 1-21.
87. Yadin, Hazor (1972), p. 137.
88. Aharoni and Amiran, IEJ 8 (1958), pp. 179-80; Wright, BASOR 155 (1959), pp. 20-21 with n. 24.
89. Kenyon, Bull. Inst. of Archaeology (1964), pp. 145-147.
90. The contemporaneity of so-called “Solomonic” Megiddo with Samaria Periods I-II is further attested by the masonry and building techniques used at the two sites; cf. the striking similarities noted by Crowfoot, PEQ (1940), p. 146, which actually apply to those buildings at Megiddo later assigned to Str. Va-IVb, though at the time Crowfoot wrote his review it was not recognised that these “strata” form a single city plan distinct from IVa. The attribution of Megiddo Va-IVb to Solomon, and of Samaria I-II to Omri and Ahab, has prevented recognition of their contemporaneity, despite the clear indications from pottery, masonry and building techniques alike.
The same masonry and building techniques occur again at Ramat Rahel (Aharoni, IEJ 6, 1956, pp. 138-144), and Aharoni was at first inclined to date the Ramat Rahel citadel as early as the 8th or even 9th century (Ibid., p. 151). Its date was subsequently lowered to the late 7th century (AOTS, pp. 178-183).
91. ANET, p. 284.
92. Cf. Kenyon, S-S I, pp. 110-115.
93. J. W. Crowfoot and G. M. Crowfoot, S-S II, p. 2.
94. See A. Parrot: Samaria, the Capital of the Kingdom of Israel (1958), pp. 69-71 and the literature cited there.
95. Crowfoot and Crowfoot, S-S II, p.I; Frankfort, AAAO, p. 190.
96. Frankfort, Ibid.
97. The Samaria ivories have also been compared with some from Nimrud dating probably to the reign of Sargon II (cf. Crowfoot and Crowfoot, S-S II, p. 5). Some of these Nimrud ivories were taken by Sargon from Hamath, which he defeated in 720 BC (R. D. Barnett, Iraq 25, 1963, pp. 81-84). According to II Kings 17:24, people from Hamath, among others, were used by Sargon to resettle Samaria after the deportation of some of the Israelite population. One possible explanation for the similarity between the Nimrud and Samaria ivories is that some of the Samaria ivories were also brought from Hamath at this time, or made in Samaria by craftsmen from Hamath.
98. The Harvard excavation of 1908-1910 produced over 100 ostraca, of which 65 had legible Hebrew inscriptions. The literature on the date of the Harvard Ostraca is immense. See most recently W. H. Shea: “The Date and Significance of the Samaria Ostraca”, IEJ 27 (1977), pp. 16-27 and references given there to earlier discussions.
99. J. L. Starkey in H. Torczyner et al.: Lachish I (1938), p. 13. When Vincent was shown the Lachish ostraca without being told of their archaeological context, he dated them to the 8th century, believing they must be contemporary with those from Samaria (Ibid.). Discussing the Samaria ostraca, Birnbaum also comments on “the small degree of development from here to the Lachish Ostraca”, and hence dates the Samaria examples to “the latest possible period” allowed by their archaeological context. Unfortunately, working with the conventional dates for Samaria’s strata, he still felt unable to place them later than the reign of Jeroboam II (PEQ, 1942, p. 108).
100. J. Naveh: “A Hebrew Letter from the Seventh Century B.C.”, IEJ 10 (1960), pp. 129-39.
101. Cf. II Kings 23:19: II Chron. 34:3-9; F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman JNES 12 (1953), pp. 56-58; W. W. Hallo, BA 23 (1960), p. 61; Aharoni, LB pp. 349-50 with map 33. Note that the proposed revision allows nine seal impressions from Samaria, found in a pit used in Periods IV-V, to be contemporary with those found commonly in Judah and usually dated to the reign of Josiah. The Samaria examples have the same flying scarab-beetle motif as is common on the southern stamps, but lack the inscriptions usual on the latter. See A. D. Tushingham, BASOR 200 (1970), pp. 71-78; idem, BASOR 201 (1971), pp. 23-35; ado A. R. Millard, BASOR 208 (1972), pp. 5-9.
102. J. Naveh: “More Hebrew Inscriptions from Mesad Hashavyahu”, IEJ 12 (1962), pp. 27-32.
103. On evidence favouring a 500-year reduction of LBA dates at several sites in Greece, Asia Minor and Syria, see Israel M. Isaacson: “Carbon 14 Dates and Velikovsky’s Revision of Ancient History”, Pensée IVR IV (1973) pp. 26-32; Idem: “Applying the Revised Chronology”, Pensée IVR IX (1974), pp. 5-20.
104. On cartouches of Ramesses I found beneath walls and floors of the Str. VI temple at Beth-shan, see Rowe: Topography and History of Beth-Shan (1930), p. 24; scarabs of Ramesses II in LBA contexts at Lachish, see Tufnell et al., Lachish II (1940), p. 69, Lachish IV (1958), p. 97 and charts on pp. 113ff; at Megiddo, P. L. O. Guy: Megiddo Tombs (1938), p. 185 and pls. 100:5; 131:6.
105. Dyn. XIX has already been given a 9th/8th-century date by Courville in The Exodus Problem, vol. I, pp. 279-98. While preferring the general placement to Velikovsky’s, I do not accept the details of Courville’s reconstruction.
106. E.g. at Tell el-Farah South, from Tomb 984 (Starkey and Harding: Beth Pelet II, 1932, p. 26); at Ain Shems, from Tomb I with “Philistine” pottery (Rowe: Catalogue of Egyptian Scarabs, 1936, no. 830; Mackenzie: Excavations at Ain Shems II, 1913, p. 61); at Megiddo, from Str. VIIa, an ivory pen-case bearing Ramesses III’s cartouche (G. Loud: Megiddo Ivories, 1939, pp. 3-9). Velikovsky incorrectly says this item was found “in a heap of refuse left by earlier excavators” (Peoples of the Sea, p. 87); it actually comes from a sealed context, definitely of Str. VIIa, which is late LBA. Note also the Timna finds (Rothenberg: Timna, 1972, pp. 162-66).
107. A date for Ramesses III in the late 8th century fits the context of the XXth-Dynasty finds at Timna (previous note), which, as Danelius noted in Kronos I:4 (1976), p. 20, cause difficulties for Velikovsky’s dating. A late 8th-century date also works well at Beth-shan, where a statue of Ramesses III was found in the same stratum to which belonged a portion of wall resembling, in its masonry and building techniques, walls from Megiddo and Samaria dated in the present reconstruction to c. 700 BC. A complete discussion of the Beth-shan finds is best left until a later date, when Velikovsky’s interpretation of this material will also be examined.
108. Pensée IVR X (1974-5), p. 43.


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