I barely have time to write all the cool science-related stories. So again this year, from December 25th until January 5th, he will be posting a special 12 Days of Christmas series where he will feature one science story that went wrong in 2020. Today: Archaeologists relied on chemical clues and techniques. Examples include his FTIR spectroscopy and archaeological magnetic analysis to reconstruct the burning of Jerusalem by the Babylonians around 586 BC.
Archaeologists say they have discovered new evidence supporting the Biblical account of the Babylonians’ siege and burning of the city of Jerusalem around 586 BC. September papers Published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The Hebrew Bible contains the only account of this momentous event, which included the destruction of a great city. solomon’s temple. “The Babylonian chronicles of these years were not preserved,” says co-author Nisan Shalom of Tel Aviv University in Israel. he told the new scientist.. According to the Bible account, “There was a violent and complete destruction, and the whole city was burned and left completely empty. [the Book of] A lament about a deserted city of utter misery. ”
Judah was a vassal state of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar II in the late 7th century BC. This did not sit well with Jehoiakim, king of Judah. He rebelled against the Babylonian king in 601 BC, despite being warned not to do so by the prophet Jeremiah. When Nebuchadnezzar tried (and failed) to invade Egypt, he stopped paying the required tribute and sided with Egypt. When Jehoiakim died and Nebuchadnezzar’s army came, his son Jeconiah succeeded him. besieged jerusalem 597 B.C.E. The city was sacked, Jeconiah surrendered, and along with a significant portion of the population of Judah were exiled to Babylon for hardship. (The book of Kings puts the number at 10,000.) His uncle Zedekiah became king of Judah.
Zedekiah also became dissatisfied with Babylonian rule, and this time he rebelled, refusing to pay the required tribute, and seeking an alliance with the Egyptian pharaoh, Hoprah.The result was brutal. 30 months of siege An attack on Judah and its capital Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. In the end, the Babylonians were victorious again, breaking through the city walls and conquering Jerusalem. Zedekiah was forced to watch his sons be killed, and then was blinded, bound, and taken captive to Babylon. This time Nebuchadnezzar was less merciful, ordering his army to completely destroy Jerusalem and tear down its walls around 586 BC.
There is archaeological evidence To support the account that the city, along with nearby villages and towns on the western border, was destroyed by fire. Three residential buildings were excavated between 1978 and 1982, and burnt wooden beams dating from around 586 BC were discovered. When archaeologists excavated some structures at the site, they also found ash and burnt wooden beams from the same period. Jivati parking lot Ruins near the estimated location of Solomon’s Temple.Sample taken from plaster floor showed exposure up to high temperatures of at least 600 degrees Celsius
However, the evidence did not allow us to determine whether the fire was intentional, accidental, or indeed intentional, or where the fire started. In this latest study, Shalom and his colleagues focused on his two-story building 100 located on the Jivati parking lot site. They used Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy (which measures the absorption of infrared light to determine how much the sample has been heated) and how samples containing magnetic minerals regenerate those compounds into new magnetic materials. Archeomagnetic analysis was used to determine whether it had been heated enough to become oriented. North.
Analysis revealed that three rooms on the lowest floor of building 100 (designated A, B, and C) were exposed to varying degrees of high temperature fire, with room C showing the most obvious evidence. I did. This could indicate that Room C was the ignition point, but there was no path for the fire to pass through. The fire in Room C appeared to be isolated. Combined with an earlier investigation in 2020 of the second floor of the building, the authors found that several fires occurred within the building, with the exception of a “severe localized fire” in room C on the second floor. We concluded that it burned the most intensely. first level.
“When a structure burns, heat rises and is concentrated below the ceiling,” the authors write. “Thus, the walls and roof are heated to a higher temperature than the floor.” The presence of charred beams on the floor suggests that this was indeed the case. Most of the heat rose to the ceiling, causing the beams to burn and collapse onto the floor, which would otherwise be exposed to radiant heat. However, the scale of the rubble suggests that it was probably not caused solely by its collapse, but that the Babylonians deliberately returned and destroyed the remaining walls.
Additionally, “rather than destroying everything indiscriminately, they targeted the more important and well-known buildings in the city,” Shalom told New Scientist. “After 2,600 years, we still mourn the temple.”
Although no evidence of additional fuel that could have acted as an accelerant was found, “the extensive presence of fuel in all rooms and both floors of the building suggests that the fire was intentionally ignited.” “It is conceivable,” Shalom et al. concluded. “The findings within the room indicate that there was sufficient flammable material (plants, wood products, construction materials) so that additional fuel was not required. The extensive presence of charred debris indicates that the intent It suggests destruction by fire… [T]The spread of the fire and the rapid collapse of the building indicate that the destroyers expended great effort to completely destroy the building and render it unusable. ”
DOI: Journal of Archaeological Sciences, 2023. 10.1016/j.jas.2023.105823 (About DOI).