A number of approaches are possible to
dating features and objects Archaeologists uncover.
- The stratum in which it is found,
or with which it is associated, indicates that it is older than
material found above but younger than that found below.
- The natural decay of an isotope of Carbon (Carbon 14) gives a scientifically
precise measure of when living material died. However for the period which
interests biblical scholars its accuracy, plus or minus 200 years or so, means
that it is often of little practical use for dating.
- More useful is the "pottery clock".
The British archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie noted changes
in the style of pottery, and was able to show correlations between
Palestinian and Egyptian shapes and decorations. This technique
was developed and refined by William Foxwell Allbright in his
digs at Tell Beit Mirsim between 1926-32.
Row of pots from the Hecht Museum (Haifa) illustrating
the principle of the pottery clock.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim
Bulkeley. All rights reserved.