A new Weizmann Institute study has discovered radiocarbon-dating evidence of the First Temple period under a tower in Jerusalem’s City of David that was previously dated to the Canaanite period. The findings, based on soil samples taken from under a seven-meter thick walled tower, shave nearly a thousand years from previous archaeological dating of the structure, which placed it c. 1700 BCE — and contradict a presumed biblical linkage to the site.
Downhill from the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, the Gihon Spring guard tower was discovered in 2004 by archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. Based on pottery and architectural signifiers, the heavily fortified structure — and the rest of the Spring Citadel protecting Jerusalem’s precious water source — were dated to Canaanite construction (Middle Bronze II period).
“This is the largest fortress found in all of Israel to date between the Canaanite cities… and it seems that it is essentially the largest fortress found in Israel until the days of King Herod,” states the website.
‘It is essentially the largest fortress found in Israel until the days of King Herod’
However, new findings by an interdisciplinary cooperative team of Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists and Weizmann Institute scientists place the construction of the tower during the second half of the Iron Age — smack dab in the middle of the Israelite period, and much closer to the days of Herod than earlier suspected.
Contrary to previous estimates, the date revealed by this radiocarbon dating was sometime around 900-800 BCE — nearly 1,000 years later than archaeologists had originally dated the tower, and well after the presumed reign of King David.
Yet again, the ‘bible in one hand, spade in the other’ approach to archaeology fails.