Radiocarbon dating the "Wilderness of Zin"

Hendrik J. Bruins, Johannes van der Plicht

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Scopus citations


    An important archaeological survey was conducted by Leonard Woolley and T E Lawrence in 1914 on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund in the Negev and northeastern Sinai deserts-the "Wilderness of Zin." The region of Ain Kadeis, associated by some scholars in the 19th century with biblical Kadesh-Barnea, received much attention in their survey and discussions. Concerning the vexed question of Kadesh-Barnea, Woolley and Lawrence gave their preference for the nearby Ain el Qudeirat1 Valley, and in particular the ancient tell. Their survey contributed significantly in the shaping of scholarly opinion on the matter, even until today. But modern surveys and excavations failed to identify any archaeological remnants of the 2nd millennium BCE in the above regions, thereby putting the above associations in question. The Middle Bronze Age II, Late Bronze Age, and Iron Age I that cover this millennium are considered missing in the area in archaeological terms. However, our research reveals that archaeological remains of the 2nd millennium BCE do exist in the region, as determined chronologically by radiocarbon dating. A geoarchaeological approach is required to investigate terraced fields in wadis, which contain a unique record of human activity in these desert regions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)481-497
    Number of pages17
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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