Iron-Age 14C Dates from Tel Dan: A high chronology

Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes Van Der Plicht, David Ilan, Ella Werker

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


Organic samples have been collected from Tel Dan to establish an independent radiocarbon chronology of the site. In this paper we present and discuss 20 Iron-Age radiocarbon dates. Unfortunately, short-lived charred seeds were generally not excavated and charcoal formed the dominant sample material. However, two charred samples of olive pits, derived from Stratum V (Iron I) and IVA (Iron IIA), support the remarkably consistent charcoal dates, which are, of course, somewhat older. Another short-lived sample, consisting of charred seeds of Vicia faba and Pisum sativum, originally attributed to Stratum V, appeared to come from a Stratum III or II pit cut into Stratum V. The study underlines the importance of independent chronological measurements; the original stratigraphic assignment was sometimes adjusted on the basis of the radiocarbon results. Most radiocarbon dates are from Stratum V, which has been dated archaeologically by A. Biran and D. Ilan to ca. 1150–1050 BCE based on material culture analogy. The radiocarbon measurements of Stratum V (13th–11th centuries BCE on charred olive pits) confirm the above archaeological dating, but also allow for an even higher date. The 14C results are undeniably older than the 10th-century BCE date suggested by Finkelstein, who associated Dan Stratum V with Megiddo VIA in his low chronology theory. The radiocarbon date on charred olive pits from Stratum IVA yielded a calibrated age in the 11th–10th centuries BCE. Our dates clearly support a high chronology. But more short-lived dates from new excavations are required to enlarge the database and refine the present results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bible and Radiocarbon Dating
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeology, Text and Science
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317491514
ISBN (Print)9781845530563
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Iron-Age 14C Dates from Tel Dan: A high chronology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this