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Israeli technology verifies biblical account of conquest of Gath

Hazael, king of Aram-Damasus, subjugated Gath, one of the five main Philistine cities.

Archaeological findings at Tel Zafit/Tell es-Safi, widely identified as Gath, halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon. Credit: Ori~ via Wikimedia Commons.
Archaeological findings at Tel Zafit/Tell es-Safi, widely identified as Gath, halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon. Credit: Ori~ via Wikimedia Commons.

The Startup Nation meets the Bible.

Israeli technology that measures the Earth’s magnetic field has verified an ancient narrative, researchers said on Thursday.

A new study scientifically corroborates the conquest of the Philistine city of Gath by Hazael, king of Aram-Damasus, as described in the Second Book of Kings, 2 Kings 12:17.

The breakthrough technology, which was achieved by researchers at four Israeli universities, enables archaeologists to identify burnt materials discovered in excavations and estimate their firing temperatures.

The technique can determine whether an item such as a mud-brick underwent a firing event even at relatively low temperatures, from 200° C and up, information that can be crucial for correctly interpreting the findings. 

“Our findings are important for determining the intensity of the fire and the scope of destruction in Gath—the largest and most powerful city in the land at the time, and also for understanding construction practices in the region,” said co-author Professor Aren Maeir from the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.

The researchers published their findings in the scientific journal PLOS One, in an article titled “Applying thermal demagnetization to archaeological materials: A tool for detecting burnt clay and estimating its firing temperature.”

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