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Does latest dating of camel bones reveal inaccuracy in the Bible?


Archaeologists from the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, have found that camels were not domesticated in Israel until around 900 BC, which is centuries later than famous Biblical figures were said to have ridden them, drawing into question the accuracy of Biblical stories involving Abraham, Joseph and Jacob. They claim that this shows that Biblical text was compiled long after the events described in it and challenges the Bible as a historical document.

Dr Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures conducted radiocarbon dating on the oldest known domesticated camel bones, found in the Aravah Valley in the southern Levant, in order to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant from the Arabian Peninsula. They found camels came in the 9th century BC, not the 12th as previously thought.

It is believed that camels were originally domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula for use as pack animals sometime towards the end of the second millennium BC. Dr Ben-Yosef and Dr Sapir-Hen think the Aravah Valley would have been a logical entry point for domesticated camels into the southern Levant as it bordered the Arabian Peninsula.

“By analysing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries,” said Dr Ben-Yosef.

There is a branch of archaeology called biblical archaeology, whose aim is to prove that all events in the Bible did actually happen and that the Bible is therefore a historically accurate document, and their research has met with some success.  For example, last year archaeologists uncovered two royal public buildings in the Kingdom of Judah which they believe is the Palace of King David described in the Bible.  Researchers also reported finding the lost Biblical town of Damanutha where Jesus was said to have stayed following the feeding of the 5,000 miracle.

However, this latest research suggests that camels were not domesticated in Israel until long after the Age of the Patriarchs – when Abraham, Jacob and Isaac are said to have lived - between 2,000 and 1,500 BC. The findings draw more attention to the disagreements between Biblical texts and verifiable history. Nevertheless, it cannot be discounted that there are older remains of domesticated camels that have not yet been found.

By April Holloway



One Eye Open's picture

Remember .... science is always changing as so is discovering of new thoughts and concept. So given that as a barometer for science....don't treat certain areas of science as dogma.

On Eye Open

Ok I understand that they dont have evidence for the domesticated camel in isreal but Abraham was from the babalonian city of Ur (mozt jews dont like to admit this fact for obvious reasons) do they have evidence else where in the middle east?

People of the past did not have a sense of technological progress as it was happening much slower. Stories were passing Orally for hundreds of years before they were put into writing. If we use this context and someone would write the story of Columbus discovery of America today, he will probably assume that Columbus crossed the Atlantic ocean with steam ships. That However will not make the story fabricated.

angieblackmon's picture

I also curious how they can tell the difference between camel bones and domestic camel it the location they were found? different wear and tear from carrying bags and people?

love, light and blessings


I'm curious as to how they know its the oldest domesticated camel bones? Maybe oldest they have found thus far. It really amazes me how people have such closed minds.

aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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