Scholars who reconstructed the Earth's magnetic field and revealed the intensity of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians
An interdisciplinary study in the city of David in Jerusalem, which included the restoration of the magnetic field in the destruction of 586 BC, showed that during the destruction of the First Temple the building apparently burned intentionally, and that its upper floor, which rested on massive wooden beams, collapsed during the fire.Tags
- Destruction of the Temple
Ziv ReinsteinSunday, 09 August 2020, 08:22
Archaeological finds recently uncovered in City of David by researchers from Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority managed to restore the earth's magnetic field in August 586 BC - and reveal the magnitude of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
Interdisciplinary research and breakthrough, published in the near Tisha B'Av in The journal PLOS ONE is based on Yoav Vaknin's doctoral dissertation from the Department of Archeology at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with researchers Dr. Ron Shaar from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Erez Ben Yosef, Prof. Oded Lifshitz and Prof. Yuval Gadot from the Department of Archeology at Tel Aviv University, etc. R. Yiftach Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
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To the full articleAsh from the destruction (Photo: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority) From right to left: Dr. Yiftach Shalev, Prof. Yuval Gadot and Yoav Vaknin (Photo: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
Archaeological finds "recorded" the magnetic field when it was burned
The Earth's magnetic field variability has been defined by Albert Einstein as one of the five great mysteries in physics. Although the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth is invisible, it plays an important role in the life of the planet. It is the screen of protection against radiation from space that enables the existence of life on Earth, and is a navigation tool in the hands of humans, birds and marine mammals. Despite its importance, very little is known about the magnetic field - how exactly does the mechanism that produces it in the Earth's core work? How and why does the field change? And how do the changes in the magnetic field affect the Earth's atmosphere?
To answer these questions and explain its enigmatic behavior, geophysicists try to trace the behavior of the magnetic field before beginning measurements. Archaeological finds - such as potsherds, bricks, shingles and kilns - that "recorded" the magnetic field at the time of burning can be used for this purpose. These findings contain magnetic minerals that have been re-magnetized according to the direction and intensity of the field at the same time - and are a window into the history of the magnetic field. The destruction of Jerusalem, dated to T. Bab 586 BC, can serve as an extraordinary chronological anchor for archaeomagnetic dating - to the point of accuracy of a single day.
During an excavation currently underway in the city of David in the Jerusalem National Park around the walls of the former Givati parking lot, the researchers discovered a magnificent public building with a high-quality plaster floor. The directors of the excavation, Dr. Yiftach Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University, explain: "We will extend the destruction of the building to 586 BC, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, based on pottery typical of the end of the First Temple period." In addition to the broken pottery vessels, signs of fire and much ashes were also discovered. These findings are reminiscent of what is written in the Book of Kings: "And he shall burn the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the great house he shall burn with fire" (2 Kings, so, Verse 9) ". In that "big house" that burned down, researchers uncovered a large fragment of a floor that collapsed on top of the structure - and by studying the magnetic field recorded in it, they restored the Earth's magnetic field during the fire.
Doctoral student Yoav Vaknin from Tel Aviv University collected the floor fragments, which were scattered in various guides at the site, and measured the magnetic field recorded in them in the paleomagnetic laboratory at the Institute of Earth Sciences of the Hebrew University. "The purpose of the study was twofold," Vaknin says. "On the one hand the goal was to restore the direction and strength of the magnetic field on the day of the destruction, and on the other hand we wanted to understand what the magnetic information imprinted in the floor fragments could tell us about the destruction itself. Even without measuring the magnetic field it could be assumed that this magnificent structure was destroyed in the First Temple destruction. The magnetic measurements showed that the structure burned at a temperature of more than 500 degrees Celsius, probably intentionally, and that the floor, which rested on massive wooden beams, collapsed during the fire.This
conclusion could be reached based on the fact that most floor blocks cooled after collapse. We were able to link the destruction of the house to the Earth's magnetic field, thus contributing to both the Earth's geophysical and archaeological research. This is truly extraordinary. The archaeomagnetic method also has implications for further research. If tomorrow a layer of destruction with similar ceramics is found at the site "Another destruction, we can compare the magnetic field recorded in it and thus help determine whether it was also destroyed by the Babylonians."
Dr. Ron Shaar from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University: "Measuring magnetic information from a floor that burned thousands of years ago is not a trivial thing. We need to characterize the magnetic particles, understand how the magnetic information is encoded in the material and develop measurement methods that allow us to read this information. Nature does not make life easy for us. Therefore a significant part of the analytical work we do in the paleomagnetic laboratory is to study in depth the magnetic properties of the archaeological material. "Fortunately, in this study, Yoav was able to crack the magnetic encoding of nature and provide us with information of importance from several angles - historical, archeological and geomagnetic."
Vaknin concludes: "To recreate the magnetic field requires sources of information from well-anchored historical points. Very rarely do we have a historical event from thousands of years ago that we know how to date at the year, month and even today like the destruction of the First Temple.
" The historical of the Bible as a whole, but the descriptions of the events that took place in the kingdom of Judah in the last hundred years of its existence were written in almost real time - and the biblical text is often considered reliable for this period. "The destruction of the First Temple is backed up by a variety of archeological finds from the Land of Israel in general and from Jerusalem in particular, such as jars with seal imprints of the Verde type, belonging to the Kingdom of Judah, and seal imprints with names mentioned in the Bible."