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Chronology of Beth Shan

1 March 2011

Peter James, in a review of a book edited by Amihai Mazar, Excavations at Tell Beth Shean, Palestine Exploration Quarterly 142 has suggested the fall of level V should be redated to 732BC and the time of Tiglath Pileser III (copies of the review can be obtained via Eric Aitchison). This means that Iron Age IIA/IIB transition would occur at this time, the latter marking the Assyrian presence in the Levant from Tiglath Pileser III to Ashurbanipal – being the next period IV:P-7 (as it is sub-divided) which probably embraced the Neo Babylonian period as well, into the Persian period, with P-6 representing the reduced occupation leading up to the Greek Ptolemaicx period when Scythin mercenaries were settled here (providing the Greek name of Scythopolis). This revised nomenclature will hopefully guide SIS revisionists. It should be noted Megiddo III was contemporary IV:P-7 (the Assyrian and Babylonian period). From this Iron IIA would embrace the 8th century which might suggest Iron IB belongs to the 9th century, and Iron IA late 10th/early 9th century perhaps, with a revision along the lines of James et al per Centuries of Darkness. It is not as simple as that of course as all three of those Iron Age periods could have lasted somewhat longer. It does however provide some evidence to suggest King David could have lived and operated during the Bronze Age.

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