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A team of Israeli scholars recently published an article in PNAS, the journal of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they present new radiocarbon data that they claim provides an absolute chronology for Jerusalem in the Iron Age. The team carbon tested 103 samples of seeds and other remains from five sites around ancient Jerusalem. Previously carbon testing in the Iron Age has proved problematic because of what is known as the “Hallstatt plateau,” a period from about 800 to 400 BC during which carbon dates are inaccurate. Some scholars have suggested this may have been a period of lower solar activity which produced less of the carbon-14 isotope. To counter this difficulty, the Israeli team developed a new method of testing. According to Tom Metcalfe on LiveScience.com, "The new approach applied radiocarbon dating and a group of precise analytical methods collectively called 'microarchaeology' to the layers of sediments associated with the seeds and then verified their dates with measurements of atmospheric radiocarbon from the growth rings of trees that grew between 624 and 572 B.C."

One of the surprising findings was that, according to the results of their tests, the Broad Wall in Jerusalem, also known as Hezekiah’s Wall, was likely built during the reign of Uzziah, who Scripture says built fortifications in Jerusalem (2 Chr 26:9). Another finding was that Jerusalem was much more heavily populated and urbanized in the 12h through 10th centuries BC than some scholars previously thought. This would align with the biblical description of Jerusalem, particularly during the days of David and Solomon.   

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