Researchers from Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority recently calculated the intensity of the magnetic field in Iron Age using fragments of floor tiles that were unearthed in an ancient building near the City of David which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. Their study, which was published in the journal, PLOS ONE, used archaeomagnetism, a process through which data on the magnetic field is recovered from artifacts that are thousands of years old. Many of these artifacts contain trace amounts of ferromagnetic materials, like iron oxides. After they are heated to extreme temperatures, such as when they are in a building destroyed by fire, they acquire the properties of the magnetic field of that particular time and place as they cool. The data shows that the intensity of the magnetic field in the capital of the kingdom of Judah when it fell to the Babylonians was more than double what it is today.
NOTE: The date of the fall of Jerusalem is a matter of debate, with many holding to 586 BC as the date of the destruction of the city. However, ABR Associate, Rodger Young, has presented evidence suggesting that Jerusalem actually fell during the summer of 587 BC (see links below).
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