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Finkelstein and Piasetzky Ajrud 2008

Finkelstein and Piasetzky Ajrud 2008

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THE DATE OF KUNTILLET
>
AJRUD:THE
14
C PERsPECTIVE*
Israel FinkelsteinEli Piasetzky
Tel Aviv University
 Abstract 
 In this article we take a fresh look at the radiocarbon results from Kuntillet 
>
 Ajrud. We maintain that they can provide a reasonably accurate date for both theconstruction and abandonment of the site. The
14
C determinations seem to indicatethat the site was built between 820 and 795 BCE and was abandoned after 745 BCE. Historical consideration discussed in the article may narrow this time-spanto ca. 795–730/720 BCE.
Fixing the date of contruction and deertion of Kuntillet
>
Ajrud i eential for the tudy of key iue in the hitory of the Levant in the Iron II: the nature of theArabian trade; the Ayrian involvement in the outhern deert; the relationhip between the Arab, Irael and Judah, etc. Two avenue exit for verifying theedate: tudying the pottery of the ite in comparion to well-known aemblagefrom Judah and Irael, and interpreting the
14
C determination for ample takenfrom the ite.
PAST RESEARCH
The date of the Kuntillet
>
Ajrud pottery ha been debated. Ayalon, who publihedthe pottery of the ite (1995: 198), compared it to (mainly northern) aemblagefrom the 9th and firt half of the 8th century; accordingly he dated the ite tothe end of 9th and beginning of the 8th century BCE.
1
singer-Avitz ha recently
* Thi tudy wa carried out with the help of the Chaim Katzman Archaeology Fund and theJacob M. Alkow Chair in the Archaeology of Irael in the Bronze and Iron Age, Tel AvivUniverity.
1
Paleographically, Cro (1980: 18) and Naveh (1982: 66, 69) dated the Kuntillet
>
Ajrudincription to ca. 800 BCE, while Lemaire (1984) dated them to the firt half of the 8thcentury BCE. Hitorically, Lemaire opted for the day of Jeroboam II.
175
 
T
el
A
viv
35 (2008)
 propoed down-dating the ite by ca. a century, to the late 8th century, arguingthat it pottery belong to the Lachih III horizon in Judah. she concluded thatthe abandonment of the ite “may have happened concurrently with the dramaticevent in Judah during sennacherib’ 701 BCE campaign, or perhap a hort whilelater” (singer-Avitz 2006: 211–212) and that the foundation of the ite may have been linked to the Ayrian contruction effort along the outhern trade-route,for intance at Tell Abu salima, Ruqeih and Blakhiyah (idem: 213). Accordingly,singer-Avitz propoed aociating the northern pottery form found at Kuntillet
>
Ajrud with Iraelite refugee who came to Judah after the fall of the Northin 722/720 BCE.The two conflicting date for Kuntillet
>
Ajrud put the ite in utterly differenthitorical background: the firt, during the high day of the Northern Kingdom, ca.800 BCE, and the econd under Ayrian aupice, ca. 700 BCE.sixteen ample from Kuntillet
>
Ajrud, mainly of wood remain, provided
14
Cdetermination. segal (1995) interpreted them a dating the occupation of the itefrom the end of the 9th to the beginning of the 8th century BCE. Mehel, Carmiand segal (1995) ued the ame et of data to date the ite to 830–760 BCE. Carmiand segal (1996) propoed a narrower time-range—800–770 BCE. since mot of the radiocarbon meaurement originated from wood ample, one could arguethat the date are influenced by the ‘old wood effect’ (e.g., singer-Avitz 2006:197), i.e., that the occupation of the ite i later than the date of the wood ued for contruction.In what follow we wih to take a freh look at the radiocarbon reult fromKuntillet
>
Ajrud. We maintain that they can provide a reaonably accurate date for  both the contruction and abandonment of the ite.
THE DATA
The radiocarbon meaurement from Kuntillet
>
Ajrud are preented in Table 1 (segal1995).
2
We excluded No. 15 and 16. The former wa removed a it i a inglemeaurement much younger than all the ret (5 sD lower than the lower group—  below); if not removed it would determine the
terminus post quem
of the ite byitelf. No. 16 i older than the ret of the reading; removal of thi ample bear noconequence on our procedure (below).
2
A ample not cited in the table, RT 2095 (segal 1995: 208), i obviouly modern.
176
 
 Finkelstein and Piasetzky: The Date of Kuntillet 
>
 Ajrud—The
14
C Perspective
TABLE 1.
14
C DETERMINATIONs FOR sAMPLEs FROMKUNTILLET
>
AJRUD
 No.Type Sample no.Uncalibrated date [BP
1TamarixRT-18271
*
2635±452TamarixRT-18271
*
2710±603TamarixRT-18291
*
2645±454TamarixRT-18291
*
2660±505Tamarix RT-18322695±506TamarixRT-18332600±457TamarixRT-18352640±508Worked woodRT-20942660±459Arundo/Phragmite(reed)RT-18282410±4510Acacia raddianaRT-18302425±7011TamarixRT-18312555±4512TamarixRT-18342505±6013Phoenix dactylifera (date palm)RT-18362480±5014FabricRT-2096A2495±4015TamarixRT-18262275±4016strawRT-20972785±55
*
sample prepared and meaured twice.
 
METHOD
14
C date of charcoal and wood can provide only a
terminus post quem
for thetratum/ite in which they were found; in other word, the tratum mut date to thetime of the wood or later. In thi work we ue a new quantitative method whichallow u to determine the oldet poible date which can be impoed on a giventratum/ite by a et of wood/charcoal meaurement.We define a quantity marked
χ 
'
2
 
that depend only on the meaurement belowthe actual date of the tratum and reflect how much thi date i above (earlier than)
177

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