Desert Settlement through the Iron Age: Radiocarbon dates from Sinai and the Negev Highlands

Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes Van Der Plicht

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Iron Age desert settlements in the Negev Highlands and the adjacent area of north-eastern Sinai are still enigmatic. Various theories have been developed to explain these settlements, particularly concerning the majority of the fortresses that are built in an elliptical or irregular shape. Chronology is obviously a crucial factor in archaeological theory-building. The time factor in Levantine Iron Age archaeology used to be like pottery clay that could be moulded to suit various theories. Radiocarbon dating, notwithstanding its limitations, provides an independent and scientific basis for chronology, though quality control is essential. Radiocarbon dates are presented from Iron Age strata at Tell el- Qudeirat in north-eastern Sinai, and from Nahal Ha’Elah and Horvat Haluqim in the Negev Highlands. Our main conclusion is that the establishment of the elliptical fortresses and related settlements appears to predate the Solomonic period.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317491514
ISBN (Print)9781845530563
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)
  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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