Biblical Earthquake Discovered

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“You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.” Zechariah 14:5

In an excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the City of David National Park, archaeological evidence has been uncovered of the earthquake that occurred during the Kingdom of Judah that is mentioned in the Bible.

The famous earthquake, which occurred in Israel about 2800 years ago, appears in the Bible, and was previously exposed in several sites throughout Israel, but researchers believe that for the first time they were able to identify remnants of destruction indicating that the earthquake also hit Jerusalem - the capital of Judah.


Credit: Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority, City of David

Archaeological excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the City of David National Park revealed a layer of destruction, including a row of shattered vessels, including bowls, lamps, cooking utensils, storage and storage jars, which were smashed as the building's walls collapsed.  According to the researchers, since no signs of fire were found, this was not a deliberate event and the reason for the collapse of the building is the earthquake that occurred in Israel during the eighth century BCE, during the period of the Kingdom of Judah.

According to Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority: "When we excavated the structure and uncovered an 8th century BCE layer of destruction, we were very surprised, because we know that Jerusalem continued to exist in succession until the Babylonian destruction, which occurred about 200 years later. We asked ourselves what could have caused that dramatic layer of destruction we uncovered. Examining the excavation findings, we tried to check if there is a reference to it in the biblical text. Interestingly, the earthquake that appears in the Bible in the books of Amos and Zechariah, occurred at the time when the building we excavated in the City of David collapsed. The combination of the finds in the field together with the biblical description, led us to the conclusion that the earthquake that struck the Land of Israel during the reign of Uzziah king of Judah, also hit the capital of the kingdom - Jerusalem. "


Large storage vessel with handles decorated in the shape of a face.  Photo: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority. Restoration: Joseph Bocangolz

According to the researchers: "The earthquake that occurred in the middle of the 8th century BCE was probably one of the strongest and most damaging earthquakes in ancient times, and evidence of its occurrence has been discovered in the past in excavations conducted at a variety of sites throughout Israel, such as Hazor, Gezer, Tel Agol, and Tell es-Safi/Gath. 

Now, the latest excavations we conducted in the City of David indicate that the earthquake probably hit Jerusalem as well.


The storage vessels after restoration - Photo: Dafna Gazit Israel Antiquities Authority.  Restoration: Joseph Bocangolz

 

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