According to historical sources, the Iron Age in the southern Levant spans approximately 1200 to 586 BCE.  To the Non-archaeologists, the 'Iron Age' sounds rather boring.  However, this roughly 600 year period of time encompasses the history of ancient Israel and her neighbors as depicted in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, which is the purview of what used to be called Biblical Archaeology.1

With these words, Thomas E. Levy and Thomas Higham introduced their book entitled, The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science.  Liberal Protestantism scholars deny that either David or Solomon existed as real people, or even that the account of Israel as a unified monarchy or as a divided kingdom ever existed.  However, this book takes on this issue from a scientific standpoint rather that the ideologically biased standpoint of these liberal scholars.  They establish radiocarbon dating of this period as a valid measure when such is conducted with scientific controls.  This was a very ambitious project, and they took 100 samples from 21 sites in Israel.  They did analysis of these sites not only by radiocarbon dating, but also using dendrochronology, ceramic sequences, stratigraphy, and biblical history.2  Their book is 450 pages long and packed with data.

To summarize their book, they demonstrate the following:
  1. The Shishak invasion is dated at 941 BCE, which is very close to the Biblical dating of 945 BCE.3
  2. 100 samples from 21 sites in Israel " the low chronology, as do the preliminary results of the Iron Age dating project."4
  3. Edom shows evidence of kingdom rule from 12th century BCE, which predates the monarchy in Israel, as the Bible says.5
  4. At Tel Rehov, a revised tradition chronology was favored over the low chronology.6
  5. From Megiddo, Tel Dor, Tel Rehov and Tel Hadar, "The procedure we have used shows unambiguously better agreement of the date with the 'low chronology' system.  It allows us to determine that the 'High Chronology' system has little probability of being correct."7
  6. At Tel Dan, these finding support High Chronology.8
  7. They concluded that the differences between labs for C14 explain the difference for the low or high chronology.9
  8. This group differs from conventional chronology by 60 years.  This is vastly closer to Biblical Chronology that the liberals' view of 600 years difference, who say there is no such things as an ancient Israel.10
  9. "Correlating literary sources to the chronological framework poses few problems, especially since our continuous Biblical historiographic sources conform to epigraphic chronological evidence to an extraordinary extent."11
  10. Relying on pottery dating is problematic.12
  11. David's existence is confirmed in the 9th century BCE Tel Dan Stela (Stele)13,14
  12. Multiple Biblical textual lines of evidence confirm David and Solomon.15
  13. Multiple examples in the Bible regarding the truth of the foreign kings lists as well as Israelite kings.16
  14. The disagreement between low and high chronology is 60 years--which is " standard deviation of most of the radiocarbon dates with which many of us are still working."17

This is an important book because it objectively affirms Biblical chronology for the Iron Age of 1200-586 BC using radiocarbon dating.  It also affirms both David and Solomon, and ancient Israel as well.  In speaking about biblical revisionists, Dever says that they either ignore or abuse archaeological data.  He says they also ignore the archaeological evidence for the Shishak destruction ca. 925 BCE.18

Therefore, we have very persuasive evidence for the dating of the Iron Age, the very age of ancient Israel and the documented kings, including David and Solomon.

The Bible is not a myth.

  1. Levy TE & Higham T, editors. The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science. Equinox Publishing LTD, London, Oakville. ©2005 by Thomas E. Levy and Thomas Higham, p 3.
  2. Levy, et al., p 441.
  3. Levy, et al., p 42.
  4. Levy, et al., p 65.
  5. Levy, et al., p 158-159.
  6. Levy, et al., p 271.
  7. Levy, et al., pp 294, 302.
  8. Levy, et al., p 323.
  9. Levy, et al., p 334.
  10. Levy, et al., p 415.
  11. Levy, et al., p 422.
  12. Levy, et al., p 423.
  13. Levy, et al., p 426.
  15. Levy, et al., p 422f.
  16. Levy, et al., p 429.
  17. Levy, et al., p 442.
  18. Levy, et al., p 419.