Has the Bible got it wrong about camels?

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  • Published: Feb 6, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Base Peak / MRI Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Has the Bible got it wrong about camels?

Israeli scientists say that reports of camels in the Bible are wrong because they were not in the region at the time. The conclusions are based on radiocarbon dating of camel remains and "is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes," according to a press release on the web site of Tel Aviv University.

Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen from the Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures analysed the oldest known camel bones on the Arabian peninsular which were located in the ancient sites at Timna, where copper production took place. Their report explains how the dating evidence combined with other archaeological data from the site puts the date at "not earlier than the last third of the 10th century BCE." Their conclusions are supported by the fact that camel remains were found at all of the sites from that valley that were active in the 9th century but at no sites that were active earlier.

Older camel remains have been described by other researchers from this region, but some of the dates have been questioned and they were deemed to be wild animals which were not exploited by the human inhabitants.

Apart from challenging the accuracy of the Bible, the findings provide important information on trading conditions in the region, which would have been difficult before domestication of the camel.

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