A 19th-century depiction of the Israelites leaving Egypt. Image Credit: PD - David Roberts
Archaeologists have discovered what could be the first hard evidence of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.
While the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea will be familiar to just about everyone, the historical accuracy of these events has remained a topic of heated debate among scholars and historians for centuries.
Now though, archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo believe that they may have found the first solid evidence of the Exodus at the Jordan Valley site of Khirbet el-Mastarah.
Their research at the site over the last two years has uncovered evidence of ancient ruins left by a nomadic people who the pair believe may have been the Israelites fleeing from Egypt.
"We have not proved that these camps are from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible," said Ben-Shlomo. "If they are, this might fit the biblical story of the Israelites coming from east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later."
The ruins, as well as pottery fragments found at the site, date back to between 1,000 - 1,400 BC.
This places them at around the time of the biblical Exodus.
"Sites like Khirbet el Mastarah and other similar ones in the Jordan Valley seem - at least from survey material - to appear suddenly during the Iron Age," said Ben-Shlomo.
"Since this area is not densely populated in many periods, this might indicate a new phenomenon like nomads suddenly creating settlements, or a new population."
Source: Christian Today | Comments (425)
Exodus, Egypt, Moses, Bible