In a striking discovery, Israeli researchers have employed a revolutionary technology to affirm the historical accuracy of a Biblical event – the destruction of Gath by Hazael, King of Aram, as narrated in the Second Book of Kings.
This finding, published in the journal PLOS ONE, revolves around the analysis of the magnetic fields in burnt bricks, offering a new lens through which to view ancient archaeological evidence.
The collaborative effort, led by Dr. Yoav Vaknin of Tel Aviv University alongside experts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, and Ariel University, utilized thermal demagnetization to precisely identify the conditions under which these bricks were burnt. This novel approach has not only confirmed the scriptural account of Gath’s fall but also shed light on the construction practices of the era.
“Our findings are important for determining the intensity of the fire and the scope of destruction in Gath,” said Prof. Aren Maeir from Bar-Ilan University, underscoring the significance of the discovery. The research focused on Tell es-Safi, the site identified as the Biblical city of Gath, revealing that the bricks were subjected to intense fire, aligning with the narrative of its conquest before Hazael’s army turned towards Jerusalem.
This technique, sensitive to changes in magnetic signals at temperatures as low as 100°C, provides conclusive evidence of in situ burning, challenging previous hypotheses that the bricks had been kiln-fired. “Our approach enables identifying burning which occurred at much lower temperatures than any other method,” Dr. Vaknin explained, highlighting the method’s precision.
The implications of this study extend beyond the validation of a Biblical story, offering insights into ancient building materials and methods. It also prompts a reevaluation of previous archaeological interpretations, demonstrating the importance of innovative technologies in uncovering the truths of our past.