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Nahal Ze'elim

Aerial shot of Nahal Ze'elim from the east Aerial shot of Nahal Ze'elim from the east

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Panorama from Drone Photos by Jefferson Williams 11 Feb. 2023


Maps, Aerial Views, and Other Material
Maps and Aerial Views

Normal Size

  • Map of Gullies where Revital Bookman did her work in ZA-1
  • Nahal Ze'elim outcrop areas in Google Earth
  • Nahal Ze'elim outcrop area on govmap.gov.il

Magnified

  • Map of Gullies where Revital Bookman did her work in ZA-1

ZA-1

Lithosection

Lithosection with Added Dates

Figure 2

The lithology and chronology of a composite section exposed in Ze'elim Plain. The section is described from two outcrops exposed in different gullies 300 m apart. The correlation between the outcrops is based on the sedimentary sequence, laminae counting, and 14C dates. Ages presented in 14C years B.P. Deformed units (mixed layers and liquefied sands) are marked by capital letters.

slight modification by Williams

Ken-Tor et al. (2001a)


Lithosection (large size)

Figure 2

The lithology and chronology of a composite section exposed in Ze'elim Plain. The section is described from two outcrops exposed in different gullies 300 m apart. The correlation between the outcrops is based on the sedimentary sequence, laminae counting, and 14C dates. Ages presented in 14C years B.P. Deformed units (mixed layers and liquefied sands) are marked by capital letters.

Ken-Tor et al. (2001a)


Correlated lithosections

Correlated Trench Logs used to produce composite ZA-1 litholog

The final lithosection of Bookman (nee Ken-Tor) is a composite lithologs derived from multiple sites as far as, I think, 300 meters apart. ZA-1 refers to the location where a large part of the composite lithosection was derived. More landward gullies were used to capture the most recent earthquakes - Events G (1834) and H (1927). Bookman referred to site ZA-1 as site 2.

Revital Bookman (nee Ken-Tor)


Age-Depth Plot

Figure 8

A modified age model for Ze'elim section studied in outcrop (Ken-Tor et al., 2001a) and drill core (Migowski et al., 2004). A-H denote events discussed in the text. The present model was constrained by two rules

(1) each event horizon (top of each intraclast breccia) matches a historical earthquake of notice

(2) each continuous deposition segment shows a uniform deposition rate.

Two outcomes support the model: Two of the breccia layers match pairs of earthquakes (64-31 B.C.; 1202-1210 A.D.) such that the earlier event horizon is within the breccia layer and the later event matches the top. With these assignments for the event horizons, the model gives a uniform rate of sedimentation of 0.5 cm/yr during the three periods separated by hiatuses.

Agnon et al (2006)


Seismite Assignment Tables

Nahal Ze'elim (ZA-2 and ZA-1(?)) and En Feshka

  • from Kagan et al. (2011)
  • these have been incorporated into the Master Seismic Events Tables for all sites
Table 3

Ze'elim and Ein Feshka Seismites with Model Ages and Historic Event Correlation

  1. LS, local source, moderate earthquake, not appearing in the historical catalogs, may have produced these seismites
  2. Gully depth below fan delta surface
  3. Seismite type

    A, Intraclast breccia layer
    B, Microbreccia (“homogenite” to the naked eye)
    C, liquefied sand
    D, Folded laminae
    E, Small offsets
    Q, Questionable as seismite. See Table 1 and Figure 2.

  4. Model ages of seismites extrapolated from deposition model (see section 5 for details)
  5. Fit of historical earthquake dates within 1σ or 2σ calibrated age ranges of seismites. Although model ages are tabulated here with 1 year precision for convenience, event fit considers the realistic precision of 10 years (see section 5.1)
  6. All other possible events within the age probability range (1σ or 2σ range) of the designated earthquake; 1068a refers to March 1068 A.D., and 1068b refers to May 1068 A.D. (see Table A1)
  7. Outside model range, extrapolated from model (Figure 4)
  8. Outside model range, estimated based on below and above radiocarbon ages (Figure 4)
  9. Alternately, this historic earthquake could have formed seismites below or above the one marked


Kagan et al (2011)


Nahal Ze'elim (ZA-1 and ZA-2), En Gedi, and En Feshka

Table

  • from Kagan et al. (2011)
  • these have been incorporated into the Master Seismic Events Tables for all sites
Table 4

Multisite Comparison of Holocene Seismites from four lacustrine sediments sites along the Western Dead Sea Basin

Kagan et al (2011)


Plot

Figure 7

Recurrence intervals and cumulative number of breccias in time.

  1. Ein Feshkha (EFE)
  2. Ein Gedi (EG)
  3. Zeelim (ZA1 and ZA2)


  • Diamonds represent breccias
  • circled diamonds are the IBS (intrabasin seismites)
  • Horizontal gray bars indicate periods of seismic quiescence


(left) the earlier period is recorded at EG and ZA, and (right) the younger quiescence period is recorded at all three sites. Horizontal lines connect IBS events at the three sites.

Kagan et al (2011)


Nahal Ze'elim (ZA-1)

Table 2

The 14C Chronology of the Deformed Layers (Seismites)

Ken-Tor et al (2001a)


Events B and C

Photo of Events B and C in ZA-1

Events B (Josephus Quake - 31 BCE) and C (Jerusalem Quake - 26-36 CE) at site ZA-1

Photo by Jefferson Williams (2000)


Thin Section Slide of Event C in ZA-1

Thin Section Slide from sample taken at site ZA-1

Jefferson Williams (2000)


ZA-2 and ZA-3

Orthophoto - ZA-2 and ZA-3

Orthophoto ZA-2 and ZA-3 Orthophoto of Site ZA-2 and ZA-3

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023


Panoramas - ZA-2 (South Wall)

Panorama ZA-2 Panorama of Site ZA-2 (South Wall)

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 12 Feb. 2023


Panorama ZA-2 Panorama of Site ZA-2 (South Wall)

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 13 Feb. 2023


Panorama ZA-2 Panorama of Site ZA-2 (South Wall)

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Drone photos salvaged on iPhone by Jefferson Williams 22 Feb. 2023


Panoramas - ZA-3 (North Wall)

Panorama ZA-3 Panorama of Site ZA-3 (North Wall)

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 12 March 2023


Panorama ZA-3 Panorama of Site ZA-3 (North Wall)

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 12 Feb. 2023


Panorama ZA-3 Panorama of Site ZA-3 (North Wall)

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 13 Feb. 2023


Panorama ZA-3 Panorama of Site ZA-3 (North Wall)

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Drone photos salvaged from iPhone by Jefferson Williams 22 Feb. 2023


Amos Quakes - ZA-3 (North Wall)

  • Lat    N 31.33454°
  • Long E 035.40615°
Panorama

Panorama ZA-3 Amos Quakes at site ZA-3 (North Wall)
  • Lat    N 31.33454°
  • Long E 035.40615°


Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 12 March 2023


Lidar Scan

  • Click on Scaniverse to open up a larger 3D Image in a New Tab

Seismite Assignment Tables

Nahal Ze'elim (ZA-2 and ZA-1(?)) and En Feshka

  • from Kagan et al. (2011)
  • these have been incorporated into the Master Seismic Events Tables for all sites
Table 3

Ze'elim and Ein Feshka Seismites with Model Ages and Historic Event Correlation

  1. LS, local source, moderate earthquake, not appearing in the historical catalogs, may have produced these seismites
  2. Gully depth below fan delta surface
  3. Seismite type

    A, Intraclast breccia layer
    B, Microbreccia (“homogenite” to the naked eye)
    C, liquefied sand
    D, Folded laminae
    E, Small offsets
    Q, Questionable as seismite. See Table 1 and Figure 2.

  4. Model ages of seismites extrapolated from deposition model (see section 5 for details)
  5. Fit of historical earthquake dates within 1σ or 2σ calibrated age ranges of seismites. Although model ages are tabulated here with 1 year precision for convenience, event fit considers the realistic precision of 10 years (see section 5.1)
  6. All other possible events within the age probability range (1σ or 2σ range) of the designated earthquake; 1068a refers to March 1068 A.D., and 1068b refers to May 1068 A.D. (see Table A1)
  7. Outside model range, extrapolated from model (Figure 4)
  8. Outside model range, estimated based on below and above radiocarbon ages (Figure 4)
  9. Alternately, this historic earthquake could have formed seismites below or above the one marked


Kagan et al (2011)


Nahal Ze'elim (ZA-1 and ZA-2), En Gedi, and En Feshka

Table

  • from Kagan et al. (2011)
  • these have been incorporated into the Master Seismic Events Tables for all sites
Table 4

Multisite Comparison of Holocene Seismites from four lacustrine sediments sites along the Western Dead Sea Basin

Kagan et al (2011)


Plot

Figure 7

Recurrence intervals and cumulative number of breccias in time.

  1. Ein Feshkha (EFE)
  2. Ein Gedi (EG)
  3. Zeelim (ZA1 and ZA2)


  • Diamonds represent breccias
  • circled diamonds are the IBS (intrabasin seismites)
  • Horizontal gray bars indicate periods of seismic quiescence


(left) the earlier period is recorded at EG and ZA, and (right) the younger quiescence period is recorded at all three sites. Horizontal lines connect IBS events at the three sites.

Kagan et al (2011)


Age-Depth Plot

Age-Depth Model with Lithosection

Figure 4

Stratigraphic section of Ze’elim (ZA2) and (right) age-depth deposition model derived by OxCal 4.1. The top 7.5 m are modeled, while the bottom of the section is presented as single calibrated dates. Probability density functions (histograms) on the graph give model ages for radiocarbon samples (details are given in Table 3). The histograms give the distributions for the single calibrated dates while the darker center part of each histogram take into account the stratigraphic information (see Bronk Ramsey [2008] for model specifics). The depth model curves are envelopes for the 95% (outer, lighter, approximately 2σ) and 68% (inner, darker, approximately 1σ) highest probability density ranges. The dashed line near the top is the extrapolation of the model upward, while the ellipse represents the uppermost seismite.

Kagan et al (2011)


Age-Depth Model with added dates but without Lithosection

Figure 3.1.5

Correlation of historic earthquakes to age-depth model.

Ze' elim Gully outcrop.

Squares indicate historic earthquake ages correlated to ages of seismites. Some historic earthquake dates are shown.

Kagan (2011)


Annotated Photos of ZA-3 and a Gully to the north of ZA-3

ZA-3

Figure 3

ZA-3 outcrop section with main archaeological periods and elevations.

Kagan et al (2015)


North of ZA-3

Location Map

  • JW: This is north of ZA-3
Fig. 1.2a

Gullies of the Zeʾelim fan delta cut into terraces created by the recession of the Dead Sea (Google Earth); the red circle marks the sampling location

Langgut and Finkelstein (2023)


Annotated Section

Fig. 1.2b

The Zeʾelim sediment section where we conducted our palynological and sedimentological investigations, with main archaeological periods and elevations; presented in meters below msl

(photo: Dafna Langgut)

Langgut and Finkelstein (2023)


ZA-4

Panorama

Panorama ZA-4 Panorama of Site ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 04 Feb. 2023


Orthophoto

Orthophoto ZA-4 Orthophoto of Site ZA-4

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Drone photos by Jefferson Williams 03 Feb. 2023


East Sections

Long Shots

Description Image Source
Eastern Section Above Beach Ridge Jefferson Williams
Eastern Section Below Beach Ridge
Long Shot - Cleaned
Jefferson Williams
Eastern Section Below Beach Ridge
Long Shot
Less Clean but with Rulers and Scale
Jefferson Williams
Eastern Section Below Beach Ridge
Medium Shot
Less Clean but with Rulers and Scale
Jefferson Williams
Eastern Section Below Beach Ridge
Closeup on Woody Deposits
with Ruler and Scales
Jefferson Williams

Above Beach Ridge

Eastern Section at ZA-4 above Beach Ridge Eastern Section at ZA-4 above Beach Ridge

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Lateral Exploration of the Amos Quakes

Below Beach Ridge

Cleaned Section

Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge

Cleaned Section

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Less Clean Section with Ruler and Scales

Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge

Less Clean Section with Ruler and Scales

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 14 Feb. 2023

Closeup on Woody Deposits

Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge Eastern Section at ZA-4 below Beach Ridge

Closeup on Woody Deposits

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 14 Feb. 2023

Middle Section

Entire Section

Middle Section ZA-4 Middle Section at ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 04 Feb. 2023

Bottom Part of Middle Section

Bottom Middle Section ZA-4 Bottom of Middle Section at ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 04 Feb. 2023

Long Shots

Image Description Source
Entire Middle Section Jefferson Williams
Entire Middle Section Jefferson Williams
Bottom of Middle Section Jefferson Williams
Middle 01 of Middle Section Jefferson Williams
Middle 02 of Middle Section Jefferson Williams
Top of Middle Section Jefferson Williams

Western Sections

Western Section

Long Shots

Image Description Source
All 3 Western Sections Jefferson Williams
Entire Western Section Jefferson Williams
Entire Western Section
(view from below)
Jefferson Williams
Top Left of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Top Left and Top Right of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Above Top Middle of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Top Middle of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Mid Middle of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Bottom Middle of Western Section Jefferson Williams
Bottom of Western Section Jefferson Williams

Entire Western Section

Entire Western Section ZA-4 Entire Western Section at ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Drone Photos by Jefferson Williams 11 Feb. 2023

Top Left Part of Western Section

Top Left Western Section ZA-4 Top Left of Western Section at ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 11 Feb. 2023

Top Right Part of Western Section

Top Right Part of Western Section Top Right Part of Western Section at Site ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Top Middle Part of Western Section

Top Middle Western Section ZA-4 Top Middle of Western Section at ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 11 Feb. 2023

Bottom Middle Part of Western Section

Bottom Middle Western Section ZA-4 Bottom Middle of Western Section at ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 13 Feb. 2023

2nd Bench up of Bottom of Western Section

2nd Bench up of Bottom of Western Section 2nd Bench up of Bottom of Western Section at ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Bottom Bench of Western Section

Bottom Bench Western Section ZA-4 Bottom Bench of Western Section at ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Bottom Two Benches of Western Section

Bottom Two Benches of Western Section Bottom Two Benches of Western Section at Site ZA-4

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Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Western Section Connector

Long Shots

Image Description Source
All 3 Western Sections Jefferson Williams
Entire Western Section Connector Jefferson Williams

Western Connector Section at ZA-4 Western Connector Section at ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 05 Feb. 2023

Far Western Section

Long Shots

Image Description Source
All 3 Western Sections Jefferson Williams
Far Western Section Jefferson Williams

Far Western Section at ZA-4 Far Western Section at ZA-4

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Photos by Jefferson Williams 10 Feb. 2023

Lithology Profiles For the 3 GSI/GFZ 1997 Cores in En Feshka, En Gedi, and Nahal Ze 'elim (includes hiatuses)

Fig. 2

Lithology of the sediment cores and the established age-depth models of the different profiles. The Ze'elim coring profile is paralleled by the Ze'elim gully wall [16] . The Ein Gedi chronology is based on 20 radiocarbon dates and on the varve counted section (black line) in the upper part.

Migowski et. al. 2004


Nahal Ze'elim GFZ/GSI Core Photos

The GFZ/GSI core at Nahal Ze'elim was taken in 1997. Thin Section Slides do not currently have depths logged relative to surface but were created to examine the Jerusalem Quake and the Josephus Quake so that should provide an approximate depth. Depths for thin sections is what was written on photo blocks and does not correspond to core depths but likely depth in an individual core section. Depths are measured from bottom to top (i.e. downhole to uphole) so slide 1 is at the bottom and slide 4 is at the top. Top direction of all slides and images has been confirmed. Slides and images are oriented so the uphole direction is pointing up. Core Inventory for 1997 GFZ/GSI cores can be found here

Image Description Image Description Image Description Image Description
Thin Section
Slide 1

0-11
Thin Section
Slide 2

9-20
Thin Section
Slide 3

18-29
Thin Section
Slide 4

26.5-37.5
Resin Block
Slides 1-4
Thin Section
Slides 1-4
Overlapped

Master Seismic Events Tables
ZA-2

ZA-1

ZA-4

Surveys
Drone Surveys

Description Flight Date Pilot Processing Downloadable Link
ZA-4 3 Feb. 2023 Jefferson Williams ODM - no GCPs Right Click to download. Then unzip
ZA-2 and ZA-3 10 Feb. 2023 Jefferson Williams ODM - no GCPs Right Click to download. Then unzip

Lidar Scans

Description Scan Date Scanner Processing Downloadable Link
ZA-4
Lateral tracing of Amos Quakes
12 March 2023 Jefferson Williams Photogrammetry Right Click to download
ZA-3
Amos Quakes
12 March 2023 Jefferson Williams Photogrammetry Right Click to download

References
References

Agnon, A., et al. (2006). "Intraclast breccias in laminated sequences reviewed: Recorders of paleo-earthquakes." Geological Society of America Special Papers 401: 195-214.

Kagan, E., et al. (2011). "Intrabasin paleoearthquake and quiescence correlation of the late Holocene Dead Sea." Journal of Geophysical Research 116(B4): B04311.

Kagan, E., et al. (2011). "Correction to “Intrabasin paleoearthquake and quiescence correlation of the late Holocene Dead Sea”." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 116(B11): B11305.

Kagan, E. J. (2011). Multi Site Quaternary Paleoseismology Along the Dead Sea Rift: Independent Recording by Lake and Cave Sediments, PhD. Diss. Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Kagan, E. J., et al. (2015). "Dead Sea Levels during the Bronze and Iron Ages." Radiocarbon 57(2).

Ken-Tor, R., Agnon, A., Enzel, Y., and Stein, M. (2001a). "High Resolution Geological Record of Historic Earthquakes in the Dead Sea Basin." Journal of Geophysical Research 106(B2): 2221-2234.

Ken-Tor, R., Stein, M., Enzel, Y. Agnon, A., Marco, S., and Negendank, J. (2001b). "Precision of Calibrated Radiocarbon Ages of Historic Earthquakes in the Dead Sea Basin." Radiocarbon 43(3): 1371-1382.

Langgut, D., & Finkelstein, I. (2023). Paleo-environment of the Southern Levant during the Bronze and Iron Ages: The Pollen Evidence. in From Nomadism to Monarchy?: Revisiting the Early Iron Age Southern Levant. O. L. I. Koch, & O. Sergi. Tel Aviv, The Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University: 7-27.

López-Merino, L., et al. (2016). "Using palynology to re-assess the Dead Sea laminated sediments – Indeed varves?" Quaternary Science Reviews 140: 49-66.

Williams, J. B., et al. (2011). "An early first-century earthquake in the Dead Sea." International Geology Review 54(10): 1219-1228.

Williams, J. B. (2004). Estimation of earthquake source parameters from soft sediment deformation layers present in Dead Sea muds. Msc. Thesis, California State University - Long Beach. M.S. Civil Engineering.

Notes
Date of the Late Bronze Age East Mediterranean Drying Event

Textual Sources

Jodell Onstott

Jodell Onstott (personal correspondence, 2023) notes that

My dating is c. 1206. ... I associate the famine in Judges 6, Ruth, and the Hittites/Ramesses as the same event. The language in Egyptian texts is almost identical to Judges.
Excerpts
Judges Chapter 6 - English and Hebrew (sefaria - Masoretic text)

  • Chapter 6
  • from sefaria.org
  • Jodell Onstott (personal correspondence, 2023) relates the following:
    My treatment of Judges 6 understands the Midianites to have invaded due to famine. They specifically targeted agricultural products (6:3-4). Also telling is that the Midianites were immigrating, which I attribute to famine (v. 5). It also seems that Israel moved its grain stores to caves and other hidden places (v. 2). Israel being delivered into Midian’s hand for 7 years parallels the famine under Joseph1 and could be the duration of the Hittite and Ruth famine as well.
    Footnotes

    Jodell Onstott (personal correspondence, 2023) clarified the famine under Joseph as follows:

    That famine occurred c. 1750 [BCE]. It is retold in Genesis 41. It specifically affected Egypt and Canaan (the reason Jacob migrated). ..and the reason the Hyksos/Asiatics migrated as well.



Ruth - English and Hebrew (sefaria - Masoretic text)

  • Ruth 1:1 - In the days when the chieftains ruled, there was a famine in the land ...
  • from sefaria.org


Notes
Email from Jodell (April 2023)

Title : Messy and wholly incomplete excerpt from Jodell Onstott's forthcoming book on Chronology

See Chart 11.5 on p. 570 of YHWH Exists vol. 1 for dating Merneptah.

I am not sure on my dating, below. It will fall between 1240-1210. It has been a few years since I’ve worked on this project. I do have some of the sources you recommend incorporated, below.

Jodell



Climate, Geology, and Chronology

The chronology supporting a 16th century Exodus-Conquest date is also supported by climate studies. Scripture records three major famines within the land of Canaan. The first during Abraham's days (Gen 12:10, 26:1), which a contextual approach places c. 2190. In one study, a group of scholars led by Yale University's H. Wiess, have argued that a "markedly dry event" occurred in this area c. 2300-2200 BCE. Another team led by Neil Roberts focus on the eastern Mediterranean and lowered the date to 2250-2300. What both studies confirm is that a drying period occurred in the surrounding Mediterranean territories during the same time that a 16th century Exodus allows. The second significant famine mentioned in Scripture occurs when Joseph is vizier in Egypt (). This event, according to a contextual reconstruction, dates to c. 1980 BCE. In another study Dafna Langgut, Israel Finkelstein, and Thomas Litt found pollen samples during this era indicate that this dry period continued from around 2000 BCE until about 1800 BCE in Canaan. This again supports the a 16th-century Exodus chronology. As the Middle Bronze Age passes into the Late Bronze Age, vegetation such as olive tree production, moisture and humidity continue to increase and reach their greatest fertility c. 1350 BCE. The authors observe that the "settlement crisis" during this period was "man-induced rather than a result of environmental change." This evidence accurately reflects the chronological model of a 16th century Exodus date where the judge Ehud's campaigns and the Hapiru's assaults on Canaan's villages are contemporary with the Amarna Tablets. The authors cite the Amarna tablets and note that no famines or droughts are mentioned in the hundreds of correspondences between Canaan and Egypt. Thus, the disruption of settlement, according to a 16th-century Exodus model is due to Israel's ongoing Conquest campaigns, not climate.

In the above mentioned climate study in which Finkelstein participated, the most striking feature of any point in Holocene history was the dry period that occurred between 1250-1100 BCE. Eric Cline has argued that this vast famine caused a collapse of the entire civilization. From northern Turkey to the Nile Delta, society fell prey to the ravages of famine. The Hittites vanish. ?????

During the reign of Merneptah, famine ravaged the Levant. The Hittites invoked their treaty with Egypt and Merneptah's records record that he shipped grain "to keep alive the land of Hatti." This famine provoked the Midianites and Amalekites raids on Israel's southern farmlands as recorded in the book of Judges. The chronology that I have reconstructed based on the contextual approach, places the Midian and Amalekite raids between 1234-1227 BCE. It is quite likely that famine had begun at least two to seven years before the tribes began to raid Judah and only after food stores had been exhausted. Thus, the context within the book of Judges places this famine beginning around 1240 BCE.

This chronology is supported by archaeological studies on the climate in the Levant c. 1250 BCE. Core soil samples drilled from the Sea of Galilee demonstrate famine of epic proportions from 1250-1100 BCE, at the end of the Late Bronze Age. In a recent article, Dafna Langgut, Israel Finkelstein, and Thomas Litt found pollen samples during this era indicated the driest event throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Archaeology indicates that the crisis in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Late Bronze Age took place during the same period—from the mid-13th century to ca. 100 BCE. In the Levant the crisis years are represented by destruction of a large number of urban centers, shrinkage of other major sites, hording activities and changes in settlement patterns. Textual evidence from several places in the Ancient Near East attests to drought and famine starting in the mid-13th and continuing until the second half of the 12th century.

The Amalekite raids are not the only evidence in Scripture for this famine. In the book of Ruth, Elimelech emigrated from Judah to Moab due to this same famine.