(Haaretz) The ruins of ancient Jerusalem feature no lack of helpful signage confidently explaining that this building dates to the time of King David, that house yonder to the Second Temple period and those crumbling walls to the Bronze Age. So you may be surprised to learn that most of the chronology in this, one of the most archaeologically rich and controversial cities in the world, has never been based on scientific testing.
The dates assigned by guidebooks and brochures to ancient ruins are incredibly rough estimates based on the analysis of pottery and architecture, or – in the best case – of inscriptions, coins and other artifacts. And in some cases, skeptics say, the dating and interpretation of ancient sites may have been twisted to fit the biblical narrative by scholars eager to prove religious texts right.
All that may be about to change, though.
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