Biblical Archaeology Review 35:3, May/June 2009

Archaeological Views: Carbon 14—The Solution to Dating David and Solomon?

By Lily Singer-Avitz

The date of the transition from the archaeological period known as Iron Age I to Iron Age IIa is a particularly hotly disputed topic, especially because the date of the transition is crucial for elucidating the history and material culture of the reigns of David and Solomon.

According to the so-called high chronology, the transition occurred around 1000 or 980 B.C.E. It is generally recognized that David conquered Jerusalem in about 1000 B.C.E. According to the low chronology, the transition to Iron Age IIa occurred around 920–900 B.C.E. Other opinions place the transition somewhere between the two—in about 950 B.C.

The date is important because the date you choose will determine whether David and Solomon reigned in the archaeologically poor and archaeologically poorly documented Iron I or in the comparatively rich and richly documented Iron IIa.

However, the differences in data between the various schools are not dramatically far apart. They range between 30 and 80 years.

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