Scientists reconstruct epic biblical battles in groundbreaking new study

Yoav Vaknin of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and the Paleomagnetic lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem holds a box containing a sample from an archaeological site and arranges samples from an archaeological site.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Ancient ruins tell only a partial story of the epic sieges and conquests recounted in the Hebrew bible, but scientists are using new dating technology to piece together historical events to see how closely they resemble those described in scripture.

Using readings of ancient geomagnetic fields which have been preserved over time in mud bricks from sites destroyed by fire and in two collections of ceramic objects, scientists from the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University have dated these remnants more accurately.

The method has been used in the past but never to this extent.

“Since we have a very large database, we can compare many different sites according to the magnetic signal and this way reach a very accurate dating method,” Yoav Vaknin, of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, told Reuters.

The study’s findings indicate, for example, that the army of Hazael, King of Aram-Damascus first mentioned in the Book of Kings, was responsible for the destruction of several cities including Tel Rehov, Tel Zayit and Horvat Tevet.

In terms of its modern application, Vaknin said the magnetic field and its activity is one of the biggest mysteries facing scientists and this technology could be used to predict how the magnetic field will change and behave in the future.

Yoav Vaknin arranges samples from an archaeological site as a part of research which uses geomagnetic fields to date and verify Biblical accounts, in Jerusalem on Oct. 25.