Bayesian statistics archaeological dating

The basal virgin sediment consists of sterile wadi sands.

The first indications of human activity were found several centimeters above these sands – a well-built rectilinear installation ≈1 × 0.80 m, with 3 visible “horn-shape” rock features at each of its exposed corners.

Some of the casualities of the scholarly debate between the traditional biblical scholarship and biblical minimalists has been the historicity of David and Solomon–the latter of which is traditionally cross-dated by biblical text (1 Kings ; ; and 2 Chronicles 12:2–9) and the military topographic list of the Egyptian Pharaoh Sheshonq I (Shishak in the HB) found at the Temple of Amun in Thebes and dated to the early 10th c. The power and prestige of Solomon as represented in the Bible has been most recently challenged on archaeological grounds by I. BCE, confirming the minimalist position concerning the HB and archaeology. Coinciding with the general “deconstruction” of Solomon as an historic figure, Glueck's identification of the Faynan mines as an important 10th c.

On the basis of the dating of the Edom highland excavations, Glueck's excavations at Tell el-Kheleifeh (which he identified with Solomon's Red Sea port of Ezion Geber in south Edom) and most IA sites in this region were reinterpreted as belonging to the 7th c. BCE phenomenon were discarded and assumed to date to the 7th–8th c. The C dates associated with smelting debris layers from Faynan reported here demonstrate intensive 10th–9th c.

This represents the earliest phase of settlement activity at the site.

Above this were 3 m of crushed slag and other copper industry debris layers also representing repeated episodes of smelting, furnace destruction, and related activities.

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To help resolve these controversies, deeply stratified excavations to virgin soil were needed to date the full occupation span of KEN and measure the tempo and scale of metal production during the IA.

Before our project, most IA excavations were carried out on the highland plateau, largely ignoring the copper ore-rich Edom lowlands.

Beginning in 2002, we carried out large-scale IA surveys and excavations in the lowlands.

In 2002, we excavated the fortress gatehouse (Area A), a building devoted to copper slag processing (Area S), and ≈1.2 m of the upper part of a slag mound (Area M) by using stratigraphic methods. These dates confirmed the radiocarbon dates published earlier by the GMM (17). BCE, the stratified excavations in the lowlands of Edom provided an objective dating technique that linked this metal production center with the period of the early Israelite kings and their neighbors mentioned in the HB. BCE portion of this Levantine chronology is known as the IA IIa, a highly contentious period, but especially important for historical archaeology because it is partially dated on the synchronism between biblical texts related to Solomon's successor and son, Rehoboam (1 Kings –26 and 2 Chron.

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).

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