that is, not historical, but intended to explain or justify a later historical situation.


Mycenean pottery is an easily recognized type which originated in mainland Greece and was found all over the Aegean, as well as in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean coasts. It is subdivided into Mycenean I, II and III. Mycenean I and II are characteristic of 16th and 15th-century B.C. sites.

The Mycenean III type serves as evidence—nearly the only firm testimony available to archaeologists—for absolute dating of strata to the 14th and 13th centuries B.C. A great quantity of Mycenean III pottery was discovered in the short-lived city of el-Amarna in Middle Egypt. Artifacts discovered there are of tremendous importance because they can be absolutely dated to the reign of Amenophis IV (1,364–47 B.C.); the fact that a certain type of Mycenean III pottery, primarily III A, was discovered at el-Amarna makes it a sure peg for absolute chronology throughout the Near East. Another type, Mycenean III B, is associated at Egyptian archaeological sites and other places with the second third of the 13th century B.C., or roughly with the reign of Ramses II.—Ed.


Aharoni also relies on a two-and-a-half letter inscription found on a collar-rim jar at Khirbet Raddana. Aharoni dates the letters—and therefore the jar—to 1,300 B.C. at the latest. Thus, he argues, the collar-rim jar was in use in the Late Bronze Age. Two of the world’s most skilled epigraphists, Frank Moore Cross of Harvard and David Noel Freedman of the University of Michigan date this inscription, on epigraphic grounds, 100 years later, to the Iron Age. Moreover, as Moshe Dothan has pointed out, several iron implements were found with the collar-rim jar at Khirbet Raddana, also indicating a later date.

Similarly, we must reject the argument recently put forward by Aharon Kempinski that a single scarab found on the surface of Tell Masos dates the earliest settlement there to the Late Bronze Age. The dating of the scarab to the reign of Ramses II or Seti II is unconvincing. The whole repertoire of pottery found at the settlement is typical Iron Age and to date has not been found in any context of Late Bronze Age cultures. Moreover, the Pharaoh on the scarab holds a straight sword rather than a sickle-shaped sword, indicating that it probably dates to the Iron Age. In any event, this surface find could well be an heirloom from an earlier period, so it is a thoroughly unreliable basis for dating the Tel Masos settlement.



Manfred Weippert, The Settlement of the Israelite Tribes in Palestine: A Critical Survey of the Recent Scholarly Debate, translated from the German by James D. Martin (London, 1971), p. 5.


Weippert, p. 6.


Weippert, pp. 128–129.


Weippert, p. 135.


Megiddo, Volume II, University of Chicago Press (1948) p. 105.


Israel Exploration Journal, Vol. 21, p. 135. (The article begins on p. 130.)




Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 87, (1968) pp. 316 ff.


Ibid., p. 320.