The following is a translation of a chapter from Yehoshua Etzion's unfinished autobiography, written during November 2005, about three months before he passed away, Dalia Etzion.

The Lost Bible

My book, "The Lost Bible," represents the first fruits of my creative efforts. In it, I propose an alternative dating of ancient archaeological strata found in the Land of Israel, and in light of this new dating the archeological evidence appears to match the Biblical record in an amazing way. This book deals with areas of research that are usually unfamiliar to the average scholar, and thus I have attempted to simplify the terminology to some degree. But over the years I have come to the realization that oversimplification leads to a lack of clarity in regard to the fundamental ideas presented in my book and this has raised a number of questions among readers. I will now address the most common questions and I will try to answer them in a more concise way than they appear in the book.

Question: Why do you propose an alternative dating of the archaeological strata of ancient Israel? What is wrong with the conventional dating?
I will respond to this question in a concise manner and then I will expand on my explanation. The principal problem with the conventional dating is that it developed out of a flawed methodology. Alternatively, I propose to base the dating of ancient Israel on a different methodology that, in my opinion, is preferable. The alternative dating is the outcome of this new methodology.
The historical-archaeological framework in Israel was not pre-planned but rather it was constructed in phases, one phase upon the next. In each phase of research archaeologists used the best scientific techniques available at the time. In 1890 the English archaeologist and Egyptologist, Williams Flinders Petrie, conducted the first archaeological excavations carried out in Israel. The Egyptian historical-archaeological framework was already ninety years old and at the time it was considered to be the most reliable dating technique. So it isn't a wonder that when Petrie discovered ceramic shreds in his excavations similar to those found in Egyptian tombs, he dated the archaeological evidence in the tell that he was digging according to Egyptian chronology. The Egyptian artifacts – the ceramic shreds, pieces of stele, statues and scarabs – continued to be discovered in nearly every important excavation in Israel and most researchers followed Petrie's lead and synchronized the historical-archaeological framework in Israel with Egyptian chronology.
This system of research was not confined to archaeology in Israel. In every place where it was possible to connect the local finds to Egypt - such as in Greece, Asia Minor, Western Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan and Israel – archaeologists based the historical-archaeological framework on the chronology of Egypt. In this way a huge framework became accepted for easily dating archaeological evidence throughout the entire eastern Mediterranean. This framework is used by current researchers, but, as I will show here, it is not reliable and it has been created using flawed methods.
The historical-archaeological framework of the ancient eastern Mediterranean basin is a huge construction that rests on a very narrow foundation: Egyptian chronology. This framework contains a fundamental weakness, i.e., if one mistake is made in Egyptian chronology this can cause a change reaction of inaccuracies in the overall framework. A researcher who isn't aware of this may not discern any inaccuracies since this vast framework lacks any form of external checks.
The historical-archaeological framework of ancient history in the eastern Mediterranean basin is a scheme lacking any critical control! This is a serious methodological error that casts doubt on the fundamental reliability the entire framework. In retrospect, it is now clear that early archaeologists established the conventional framework using an erroneous methodology.

(Interjection: But what about dating with the Carbon 14 method?)
I will respond to this question as we go along. For the moment, it can only be said that the dates of archaeological finds provided by the Carbon 14 method do not match those of the conventional framework.                        
In order to overcome the failings of the conventional framework I propose the implementation of a new approach, i.e., instead of basing the entire historical-archaeological chronological framework of the ancient Near East on the narrow foundation of one particular system, I suggest establishing a network of independent chronological frameworks, each of which would correspond exclusively with a specific region. In this way, each separate framework can facilitate checking the accuracy of the rest. When difficulties arise in comparing the different chronological frameworks, a neutral attitude should be adopted and the source of the error should be searched out in each separate region.  
A new methodology! From this point matters will begin to take off on their own. Being true to my new approach, I have decided to try and build an independent historical-archaeological chronological framework that fits one region: that of ancient Israel. I have succeeded in developing a system of dating archaeological finds discovered in Israel that corresponds to its ancient history. The dates that I have obtained using my new system are completely different from those using the conventional chronological framework. Surprising? Actually it is totally the opposite: it is to be entirely expected. In any case, this is how the alternative dating was born.

But which model is preferable?
The comparison and preference of theoretical models is carried out on the basis of their ability to explain existing dilemmas in research. When I attempted to test the alternative dating that I had developed according to this criterion, it became clear to me that one of the most difficult problems involving the conventional historical-archaeological framework was the complete lack of agreement between the archaeological evidence and the Biblical record. According to the present consensus, there is not a single point of agreement between the descriptions provided by the Hebrew Bible and archaeology. When one relies on the results of archaeological excavations dated according to the conventional chronological framework, it becomes apparent that in the Era of the Patriarchs (one of the most florescent periods in the history of ancient Israel), the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt becomes nothing more than the flight of a few inconsequential tribes and the Israelite conquest of Canaan turns out to be a slow, peaceful process in which the Israelites didn't conquer Canaan at all since the Canaanite cities described in the Hebrew Bible were already destroyed hundreds of years before the Exodus took place. No material evidence has been found of the wealth and glory of David or Solomon as described in the Hebrew Bible. In the area north of Jerusalem, no signs of the Babylonian conquest have been discovered. Quite the contrary: there are indications of an expansion in settlement activity in the period of the destruction of the First Temple. The return of the Jewish exiles to Zion has not left any trace in the archaeological record. However, when I dated the archaeological finds according to my alternative dating and I re-examined the various findings concurrent with the archaeologists' description of them, it became clear to me that they actually repeat the Biblical description of events unawares. In the Era of the Patriarchs (according to my framework) they point to an abandonment of settlements due to drought and famine that took place in ancient times. The Sinai Peninsula is scattered with the remains of the material culture of the Exodus of the Israelites. The conquest of Canaan was short and violent, and the local cultures were wiped out and replaced with a new one. The period of David and Solomon is described by archaeologists as a period of unparalleled prosperity. In the place of the Babylonian destruction of Judah a parallel destruction is indicated, and the return of the exiles to the Land is paralleled with a resurgence of settlement activity.
It eventually became clear to me that the alternative dating solves one of the most difficult questions in the study of ancient Israel: the correlation between the archaeological evidence and the Biblical record. This was an exciting discovery. I started out examining the methodology and ended up discovering the Hebrew Bible!

Question: You claim that archaeologists have not found any agreement between the archaeological record and the Biblical record. But yet you refer to only one school of archaeological research. There is another that does claim to have found evidence of the Biblical record. In your opinion, which of the two are correct?

Again, I will answer this question in a concise way and then I will elaborate. In my opinion, the archaeologists who claim to have failed to discover any archaeological evidence concurrent with the Hebrew Bible are speaking the truth. But it is important to keep in mind, and this is an important point, that the fact that archaeologists have not found such evidence does not necessarily mean that it doesn't exist, merely that they, the archaeologists, have not succeeded in discovering it.

The first researchers in the nineteenth century came to Palestine with the purpose of systematically examining its archaeology, topography, geology, geography and its customs in order to shed light on the Biblical record. The question of whether or not any agreement existed between the archaeological record and the Biblical record did not occur to them. Thus, in the beginning it appeared that these researchers were successful. In Jericho the city wall that fell at the time of Joshua's conquest of Canaan was discovered, stables were uncovered at Megiddo and in other Solomanic cities. Solomon's mines were discovered in the Arabah, in Samaria the Ivory Palace of Ahab was revealed. Archaeologists were overjoyed and Yigael Yadin proudly proclaimed: "The truth is that the Hebrew Bible has been our guide. As an archaeologist I cannot imagine a greater thrill derived from work than that of holding the Bible in one hand and a spade in the other."
However, his enthusiasm was premature. With the development of archaeological dating techniques a different picture began to emerge. It now appeared that Jericho was destroyed hundreds of years before the Exodus. "King Solomon's Mines" did not belong to the era of that great king, and even "Solomon's Stables" were nothing more than storerooms from the time of King Ahab. In Samaria, ivories were discovered but no trace was found of the Palace of Ahab. Even the date of the "Solomanic gate" at Megiddo has raised controversy among researchers.
The great turning point concerning Biblical archaeology occurred in the 1960s. At this time a new stream of archaeology, designated the "New Archaeology" was established and it created a revolution in the overall consensus in the field. The proponents of the "New Archaeology" claimed that originally archaeology was merely an auxiliary discipline of the study of history. According to them, major new developments in the field now enabled, for the first time, the study of archaeology in its own right and the early attempts to link the archaeological record with historical events had led to serious distortions in interpreting the evidence.
The New Archaeologists advocated a different order starting with the interpretation of archaeological evidence and the reconstruction of ancient cultures on the basis of the artifacts themselves, for example, using botanical, zoological, geological and other forms of data. In wake of the new concept, the New Archaeologists developed a new, robust method: the archaeological survey. For the first time, archaeological surveys enabled researchers the ability to determine settlement distribution in ancient times as well as documenting environmental factors influencing settlement distribution including water sources, the quality of soils, road systems and security concerns, among others. The New Archaeologists now established a basic fundamental: an agreement between archeology and the historical record would be made only on the basis of accumulative archaeological evidence and not on the basis of lone artifacts.
The first Israeli archaeologist to adopt the method of the New Archaeology was Yohanan Aharoni who conducted archaeological surveys with his students in the Negev and in the Galilee. The results of Aharoni's research, and those of the students who followed in his footsteps, shocked the archaeological community in Israel. The body of accumulating archaeological evidence clearly showed that there was no agreement between it and Biblical record in any given historical period. Many archaeologists refused to accept this conclusion in spite of the fact that they did accept the scientific premise on which it was based. Controversy broke out between Aharoni and Yadin that resulted in Aharoni's departure from the Institute of Archaeology in Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the establishment of an independent branch in Tel Aviv University. The members of this department have become the outstanding representatives of the New Archaeology in Israel and they are also the strongest advocates of the claim that no agreement exists between the archaeology and the Bible.
The body of accumulative archaeological evidence! On this, theoretical models would rise or fall. This is the primary strength of the New Archaeologists and it is also the primary strength of the alternative chronology. In using the alternative chronology for dating the archaeological evidence, an astonishing agreement between the Biblical record and the body of accumulative evidence of archaeology becomes apparent which is lacking in a comparison with lone artifacts. From a technical standpoint, what I am doing with "The Lost Bible" is merely a synchronism between archaeological reports and the Biblical record. It does not require a great effort to show that the two records tell the same story, in spite of the difference in terminology. From this point an important conclusion can be reached: the alternative dating places a far greater importance on the work of Israeli archaeologists than they themselves realize, since it is now clear that they have actually discovered the Hebrew Bible unawares!

Question: Now we have the scientific technique of dating using Carbon 14 which enables us to fix absolute dates independently of other methods. Do dates determined using the Carbon 14 method correlate with the conventional chronology or are they in agreement with your alternative chronology?

I will respond to the first part of the question at length and later I will respond to the second part of the question in a more concise manner. The conventional dating according to Carbon 14 testing is published in two ways. The first is presented as "bp" or "before present" and it is used to describe the date of a find in relation to the number of years between its organic existence and the present time. The second way is presented according to the absolute dates in calendar years of either BCE or CE (Before Common Era or the Common Era). The bp dates are raw and uncalibrated while the calendar dates BCE/CE are based on a comparison with calibration curves provided by independent methods such as dendrochronology. Raw, uncalibrated dates (bp) and calibrated calendar dates differ from each other by hundreds of years. Here I would like to state emphatically (and I choose my words carefully, placing my trustworthiness as a researcher in the balance) that the bp dates do not agree with the conventional dating of archaeological evidence and here we are not talking about a small number of years between the two but rather a difference of hundreds of years!
This raises the following question: if the Carbon 14 method of dating is such a perfect scientific method, and one for which its inventor Willard Libby was awarded a Nobel Prize, why are the results of this method published in two different ways? Why aren't researchers satisfied with the raw dates and why do these need to be calibrated? Unfortunately, there is no short and simple answer to this question. The Carbon 14 method is only one of a number of "radiometric dating methods". These are methods that enable the calculation of dates pertaining to pieces of ancient material that contain radioactive substances. The radiometric methods are based on the fact that all radioactive substances change from the effects of radiation in nature to a different substance. For example, the radioactive substance uranium is changed into lead due to the effects of radiation. Since each radioactive substance has a different rate of radioactivity, it is possible to calculate the age of a piece of ancient material according to the relation between the amount of active radioactive material that is still present in the sample, and between the amount of the new substance that has been created due to radiation.
Libby, the inventor of the Carbon 14 method of dating, discovered that every organic substance contains a small amount of radioactive material called Carbon 14. On the basis of this fact he developed the radiometric method of measuring the age of the organic material. However, his method differs from other radiometric methods in one fundamental way. While in most cases where the age of the sample being measured using radiometric methods is radioactive due to the effects of radiation, in the case of Carbon 14 the situation is different. Radiation turns Carbon 14 into nitrogen!  The nitrogen isn't preserved in the original organic sample but combines with nitrogen present in the atmosphere. This is the basic weakness of the Carbon 14 method. In order to overcome this Libby was forced to use an additional organic substance in his calculations that could be dated by way of an independent method. The necessity of an independent method has brought in its wake a nagging doubt in regard to the accuracy of Libby's method.
In order to check the method Libby tried to date a number of organic substances obtained from ancient Egyptian tombs. According to Egyptologists, the absolute dates of these samples were completely trustworthy and very accurate, in that they were based on astronomical dating methods. The results of these calculations shocked Libby and his staff. The measurements consistently provided younger dates for the materials by hundreds of years when compared with the conventional dates!
The Egyptologists stubbornly claimed that Libby's method was flawed and not their own method of dating.
Chemistry and physics are disciplines that are considered to be 'hard' science and Egyptology is considered to be a 'soft' discipline. Usually, when there is any contradiction between the conclusions reached by "hard" scientific disciplines and those reached by "soft" disciplines it is customary to rely on the findings of the "hard" sciences. But due to a fundamental lack of trust in Libby's method, this time the situation was different. Libby and his team carefully reexamined his method and made a number of corrections and improvements, including the basic data in the equations, as a critical technique in examining materials. However, none of the corrections availed. The large gaps were somewhat reduced but there were still differences of a few hundred years.
Libby was left with no choice. In order to save his method he was forced to make substantial agreements between the "raw" findings and those dated according to the conventional dating. This was how the calendar dates of BCE/CE used in the dating method came about: these dates were calibrated versions of the Carbon 14 method.
Libby's surrender to the Egyptologists undermined the Carbon 14 method. Radiometric measurements, which were intended to be a form of independent dating, became part of the conventional historical-archaeological framework. It is now clear that the claim that the Carbon 14 method validates the conventional dating is unsupportable since Libby actually had to force the dates to conform to his method.
It is of interest to note that, like the Carbon 14, the alternative dating "lowers" the age of archaeological findings by hundreds of years. Now it is apparent that Libby's capitulation to the Egyptologists was not justified and it is probable that the actual dates provided by the Carbon 14 method are the correct ones and not those adjusted to fit the conventional framework.

Question: what is the date of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt according to your framework?
This question also causes me some embarrassment since I can not supply a concise answer. But since it is a matter that touches on the central theme of this book it needs to be elaborated.
When I wrote "The Lost Bible" I was unaware that the word "dating", a fundamental term in this book, was not described in the book at all. "Dating" is the fixing of an age and nothing more. To date archaeological strata is, therefore, fixing dates for the strata. There are two kinds of dating in archaeology: relative dating and absolute dating. Relative dating deals with the question of which archaeological strata, or layers, precede the next and which is the later. On the other hand, absolute dating is assigning an actual date to each and every stratum, i.e., how many years old each are. Another kind of dating is the historical dating of different periods. This dating is determined by historians using their own particular research methods, and it is not dependent on archaeological research. However, the very independence of historical research has turned it into the primary substitute for dating archaeological strata since the absolute dating of archaeological strata are determined automatically the moment they succeed in linking them to particular historical periods.
The research that I presented in "The Lost Bible" is not historical research and it deals exclusively with the problem of the age of ancient archaeological strata in the Land of Israel. In my book I reject the conventional dating of archaeological strata and assign them different ages than is commonly accepted. But I have adopted the historical dating of the periods themselves without making any changes. In other words: the alternative dating naturally changes the age of the strata but it does not change the date of the different historical periods or the historical events themselves.
The answer to the question that I have posed here is this: the date of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is a historical event and not an archaeological one. The method, i.e., the alternative dating, is an archaeological theory and thus cannot be used to date the Exodus.

Question: How has the archaeological community responded to your ideas?
I will respond to this question in more detail in the next part and here it will suffice to say that generally archaeologists have completely ignored my ideas. In other words, "The Lost Bible" has gotten the 'silent treatment'.


I will sum up the discussion in my book, "The Lost Bible" with two of the breakthroughs that I made that are found in the book since the discovery behind them is as interesting, in my opinion, as the breakthroughs themselves. The first breakthrough touches on the matter of King Manasseh's wall.
The Biblical account of the wall built by Manasseh appears in the Second Book of Chronicles: [Manasseh] built the outer wall of the City of David west of the Gihon in the valley where the Fish Gate surrounds the Ophel". This account raises a grave obstacle, the solution of which I was able to find with great difficulty, phase by phase. The subject of Manasseh's Wall is barely discussed by archaeologists. For them, Jerusalem in the era of the First Temple was a small town spread out on the narrow slope below the Temple Mount and the remains of Manasseh's Wall, if there were any, were identified as a stone heap that was discovered in excavations conducted on the eastern side of the hill of the Ophel. On the other hand, according to my conception, in the First Temple period Jerusalem was a great city that covered all of the area of the modern Old City and included large areas on the eastern slope of Mount Zion. According to this conception, Manasseh's Wall was huge and it is nearly certain that remains of it have survived to this day. So I went out to search for Manasseh's Wall. It didn't take me long to find the northern part of the wall. I identified it as the Old City wall between the New Gate and Damascus Gate. The foundation of the southern corner of this part of the wall is probably part of the original wall built by Manasseh since it is constructed from large bossed, ashlars that are a clear sign of royal construction of the First Temple period. On the other hand, identifying the western line of the wall was a far greater problem. According to the Biblical description, the wall went west to the Gihon in the valley. According to my conception the Gihon was a stream that flowed into the Valley of Hinnom which ends at the ascent of the valley next to the pool in Mamilla. If the Biblical account is true and exact, and if my conception of the location of the Gihon is correct then the western line of the wall passes west of the Valley of Hinnom. This conclusion raised yet another difficult problem: the western side of the Hinnom Valley is very steep and if the Biblical account is correct Manasseh constructed the wall in the valley, i.e., at the bottom of the wadi. The wall was built in order to protect it from attack along the west at the top of the slope. It is perfectly clear that no ruler would bother building a wall in such an impractical place. So why is it written that the wall was built in the valley?
I recall my misunderstanding to this day. At the time that I was writing "The Lost Bible" I wasn't an experienced researcher. Instead of admitting honestly and courageously that I was confronted with an insolvable problem, I chose to provide excuses and explanations. I told myself: the meaning of the word "valley" is unclear. The writer probably meant that the wall was built along the top of the valley in the area over which buildings were extensively constructed in the 20th century. If Manasseh's Wall did go along this line, some sign of it must have been exposed when the modern foundations were constructed.
I went back to study archaeological reports of excavations that were carried out around Jerusalem but to no avail. I could not find any archaeological evidence that the ancient wall ran along the top of the western slope of the Hinnom Valley. Frustrated, I consulted a friend, an archaeologist known as an expert on ancient Jerusalem, and asked him if he knew of the remains of any wall that were discovered along the western slope of the Hinnom Valley. His answer was unequivocal: "no, no such remains have ever been found". In spite of the fact that everything pointed to a hidden assumption that was upsetting my interpretation of the data I insisted on hunting for excuses and explanations. I told myself: "This the line described in the Bible and its enough for me". So I wrote a draft of the "The Lost Bible" according to my original description, that Manasseh's Wall was an enormous wall that started along the bottom of Mt. Zion, crossed the Hinnom Valley, went north along the top of the slope and continued along the northern wall of the modern-day Old City. A number of friends read my paper and warned me that this time I had entered a minefield and they advised me to delete this passage, but I insisted on including it in the text. It was enough for me that I had written a description of the location of Manasseh's Wall as it appeared in the Hebrew Bible.
"The Lost Bible" was edited and then its publication was held up for several years. One day I saw something in the newspaper that caused me to leap from my chair. A news item reported that during the construction of a street next to Jaffa Gate part of an ancient wall had been discovered that was built using "large Hasmonean dressed stones".
According to the conventional view, royal Hasmonean construction used ashlars, or bossed stones with a smooth frame around the edges. But these were usually small ashlars of the type that the Hasmonean Dynasty could afford. On the other hand, the royal construction of the time of the First Temple made use of large ashlar blocks. By using term "large Hasmonean stones" I understood that the archaeologists had turned up a portion of the external wall that had surrounded the City of David in the First Temple period. That very day I visited the excavation and there I saw with rising astonishment a portion of the First Temple period wall that had just been uncovered. While at the site I understood that this was a part of Manasseh's Wall. I now grasped why the Biblical account described the wall as being
'in the valley'. The wall that had just been uncovered was on the lower slope between the City of David and the Valley of Hinnom, but this time its location was completely logical. The outer wall was an additional defense wall constructed to prevent enemies from reaching the upper slope by way of the valley. But this ancient wall was discovered east of the valley! Why had the Biblical account recorded that Manasseh's Wall was located west of the Gihon? I could find no solution for this problem. In spite of this I clung to the same excuses and reasoning as before and left what I had written about Maneseh's Wall unchanged in the text.
In the meantime time passed and "The Lost Bible" was in its final stages of publication. At that time I was immersed in research and the preparation of another book, "The Book of Heresy – Explaining the Bible" for which I was examining the writings of the Radak: Rabbi David Kimchi, a commentary of Hebrew Bible, concerning the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. One evening I came across a discourse on the verse that referred to Manasseh's Wall. I will never forget it! The Radak provided a grammatical explanation of the Hebrew use of the word 'west' (ma'arava) in relation to the Gihon which showed that it meant that the wall was actually EAST of the Gihon! As early as the thirteenth century, 800 years ago, one of the greatest scholars of the Hebrew language and the Bible had understood that Manasseh's Wall was east of the Gihon. All at once the Radak had solved the problem: the complications that I had encountered in my search for Manasseh's Wall was simply an error caused by the misunderstanding of one word! The next morning I discussed the matter with Shocken Publishing and I begged them to allow me to revise the text of my book. Anyone who has ever published a book knows about the discomfort and lack of patience that this kind of request generates. But, to my great fortune, the publisher, Yonatan Nadav, was generous and very professional. My story impressed him and he promised to try and integrate this new, alternative version that I had brought him. This is the version that appears in "The Lost Bible":
During his long reign, Manasseh initiated many building projects: "And afterwards he built the outer wall of the City of David west of the Gihon in the valley and to the entrance to the Fish Gate and around the Ophel and raised it very high (II Chron. 13: 14). According to the explanation provided by the Radak to this verse, one should understand the word, 'west' in the way that it is expressed elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible as in the phrase"east of the sun and westwards" found in the Book of Isaiah, thus, "the western wall was to the Gihon". According to this explanation it is possible that the Manesseh's Wall began near modern Jaffa Gate (east of the Gihon, on the northwest side of Mt. Zion) and went around the north side of Jerusalem. Readers of "The Lost Bible" will never know what drama surrounded this innocent version.

The second breakthrough (behind the discovery of which lies an interesting and educating story in itself) concerns the ancient Philistines and their culture.
At the beginning of this paper I presented the alternative dating of archaeological strata, something which immediately raised a serious problem. According to conventional thinking archaeological evidence from the Late Bronze Age (which in my framework dates to the First Temple period) includes many Egyptian artifacts such as pottery shreds, parts of stele, statues and scarabs. How do these artifacts correspond with the Biblical record which describes the First Temple period as one in which the kings of Judah and Israel ruled most of the territory of ancient Israel, a period in which, according to the Bible, hardly any Egyptian activity took place in the Land?
When this problem was first raised I was still involved in establishing my theory. So I put off studying the problem until a later date when I intended to deal with the archaeological evidence of the Late Bronze Age in more detail. I wrote "The Lost Bible" in the same order as ancient strata are described: from early to late. This is how I proceeded: in the beginning I worked on the archaeological material as it related to a specific stratum and later I examined whether or not the material, in light of the dates accorded it using the alternative framework, matched the Biblical record. I started my study with the Chalcolithic period and from there I went on to study the Early Bronze Age and the strata found above that. Usually, working in this manner was quite satisfactory since I nearly always found agreement between the archaeological record and the Biblical account. Of course this kind of work was not without its difficulties and experience taught me to appreciate these difficulties and I will elaborate: I did my work without subjecting it to any external criticism. Working in this manner is always dangerous since a researcher is inclined to bend his interpretations of the evidence to match his theory. A sure sign of this danger is the inclination of a researcher to proceed rapidly without encountering any difficulties. Eventually I learned to steer clear of this danger. Every time that the research proceeded without any difficulties I began to ask myself if I was being honest with myself or if I wasn't engaged in circular thinking. My wife, Dalia, who was by that time an experienced researcher in her own right, greatly assisted me in avoiding this situation.
An example of this was the way in which I chose to present an ancient defensive system called the "Hyksos Fortifications". According to the conventional way of thinking, these fortifications were constructed as a huge earthen rampart. The rampart was supported with an inner layer of square or rectangular stones but the upper level generally did not have any kind of stone wall. According to the alternative framework, the Hyksos Fortifications belong to the time of the reign of King Solomon. The conventional concept about ancient construction matched my theory well since a great amount of work was required to raise these fortifications, something that recalled the Biblical accounts of the greatness and economic prosperity of Solomon. I thus accepted the theory without questioning it. However, a certain problem continued to bother me: the Hyksos Fortifications are inferior in almost every way to regular defenses. They don't provide any cover for defensive positions, and they are more easily breeched than regular walls. Why would Solomon bother investing great resources in building inferior fortifications and why didn't he raise any kind of wall above the earthen rampart? The answer that I came up with is typical for a researcher who bends the interpretation of evidence so that it fits his theory. I told myself that only a ruler with Solomon's great abilities could have provided the substantial resources required to construct something as massive as this system of fortifications. However, it appeared that even Solomon could not have dealt with such a huge task and was unable to complete work on the fortifications and thus the earthen ramparts were left exposed without the construction of a wall.
When I related my new idea to my wife, Dalia, she dryly replied: "Now you sound exactly like them." By "them," Dalia meant those archaeologists who always have an explanation for every anomaly in the historical-archaeological framework of ancient Israel. According to them, finds from the Persian era that appear in Iron Age levels in "refuse pits", including coins and scarabs that "descended" into earlier strata, made their way there due to the activity of rodents and whole layers are claimed to have disappeared due to the later construction.
For me, her statement was enough to cause me to go back to the drawing board and ignore my earlier solution and so I began researching again. Eventually, after examining the subject anew I came to the conclusion that the Hyksos Fortifications were not fortifications at all, but only refuse heaps and ash that had accumulated for years outside of ancient city walls that at times completely covered them. This was a conclusion of great importance that eventually greatly aided me in my analysis of other ancient fortifications.
The problem of the abundance of Egyptian artifacts in Late Bronze age strata did not particularly bother me until I studied even earlier strata. I knew that according to conventional opinion, Egypt ruled the Land of Israel during the Late Bronze Age. I told myself: "the Biblical accounts tend to be exaggerated in their description of the greatness of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel". In reality these were small, insignificant kingdoms. Egypt was the true ruler in the Land of Israel in the period of the First Temple.
I only began to examine the Late Bronze Age strata later in my study and after I had already written a long chapter on Jerusalem. Suddenly I understood the temporary solution that I had proposed to deal with the problem of the Egyptian artifacts in the Late Bronze Age strata could not withstand any critical examination. That is, I believed until that time, and throughout my study, that Judah and Israel were only small, unimportant during the First Temple Period, but my discoveries in Jerusalem completely changed this conception. According to my reconstruction, Biblical Jerusalem was a great city that rivaled the size of other cities in the ancient Near East. It was not feasible that such a great city was the capital of such a small, insignificant kingdom on the periphery. Out of this I reached a significant conclusion: the Biblical description of the greatness and importance of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah was accurate and exact. If this was not the case, then how did this correlate with the abundance of Egyptian artifacts in Late Bronze Age strata, which, according to the alternative chronological framework belong to the First Temple Period?  This rather small problem had suddenly turned into a difficulty of monstrous proportions that threatened my theory!
All my attempts to solve the problem were in vain and my study reached an impasse. For a few months I stopped writing "The Lost Bible". I was frustrated and in a state of despair and I didn't know how to continue until one specific point proved the validity of the alternative dating and clearly pointed to the correlation between the Bible and the archaeological record. Everything indicated that this correlation extended into the Iron Age but there was one small issue, of some insignificance, which the theory did not appear to solve. I knew that this defect could cast doubt on the validity of my method and I was helpless to prevent this. I could not venture to suggest any kind of idea that could provide a solution.

Fortunately, I had eventually found the correct way in which to continue my research whenever I reached an impasse: I went back to my starting point and I ignored the conventional theories and started my own study afresh. I reexamined all of the Egyptian material from the land of Israel in the Late Bronze Age. I attempted to understand the basis on which researchers claimed that ancient Israel was ruled by Egypt in this period. To my surprised I discovered that in spite of the abundance of Egyptian artifacts discovered in Israel, only two inscriptions discovered on stele from Beit Shean that could possibly have been used as a basis for the their theory. A careful examination of the contents of these inscriptions shows that they only relate to wars waged by a certain Egyptian pharaoh around Beit Shean towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. From this point and to the point where it was surmised that the Land of Israel was ruled by Egypt in the Late Bronze Age is a long way. But even if we don't accept the theory that Egypt ruled the land in this period the problem of the abundance of Egyptian artifacts in the Late Bronze Age still remains.
I went back again to study the Egyptian material. This time I came across an interesting phenomenon. I noticed that in many cases researchers noted the local "Canaanite" character of the Egyptian artifacts found in Israel. Suddenly an idea struck me: is it possible that a people whose culture was Egyptian was living in the land in that period? And if so, who were they?
A people whose culture was Egyptian living in the Land of Israel in ancient times! This was a breakthrough. From this point things proceeded quickly.
The Egyptian artifacts found in Israel were mainly discovered in two areas: along the southern coastal plain, in the central valleys and mainly at Tel Beit Shean. I attempted to discover the identity of the inhabitants of these areas in the Late Bronze Age, i.e., who they were in light of the alternative dating, during the First Temple Period. In order to answer this question it isn't necessary to be an expert about the Hebrew Bible. Any average student with an elementary education knows that in these areas there were Philistines.
Philistines! All at once I had a solution to my problem. A short examination of the historical sources, including the Hebrew Bible, Flavius Josephus, the written traditions and commentaries all referred to the Philistines as a people who had arrived from Egypt. Only someone who had dealt with this kind of challenge and succeeded in overcoming such a problem can understand the feelings I had in that moment of discovery. In "The Lost Bible" I summed up this sensation in two sentences: archaeologists have discovered two cultures in the Land of Israel and thought that they were uncovering the "Canaanite" culture and the "Egyptian" culture. In fact, researchers had unknowingly discovered Israelite culture and Philistine culture.
To this day I consider the discovery of the true identification of Philistine culture one of the most beautiful of my achievements and one which demonstrates that where the most difficult problems are present, the most beautiful discoveries are also present.