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400000 BC
In 2010 a Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old. The prehistoric Qesem cave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in 2004.
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200000 BC
In 2010 Israeli archeologists found shards of flint found scattered around a fire pit in a cave near Tel Aviv dating to this time. They said the shards might be the world's oldest known disposable knives.
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53000 BC
In 2008 a human cranium dating to about this time was found in the Manot Cave in Israel. Anthropologists later said the cranium was a missing connection between African and European populations.
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10000 BC
In 2008 archeologists in northern Israel found a female skeleton in a grave containing 50 tortoise shells, a leopard pelvis, a cow tail and part of an eagle wing and believed they were the remains of a witch doctor from the Natufian culture.
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8000 BC
Tel Sultan, an archaeological dig, indicated that Jericho was first settled about this time.
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7000 BC
Stone masks, dating to about this time, were later discovered in the Judean desert and hills near Jerusalem. In 2014 eleven stone masks were put on exhibit and offered a rare glimpse at some of civilization's first communal rituals.
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6000 BC
In 2010 Israeli archaeologists uncovered the remains of an 8,000-year-old prehistoric building as well as ancient flint tools in the modern city of Tel Aviv.
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4500 BC
3500 BC
The Galgal Refaim, or the "wheel of ghosts," first noticed by scholars in 1968, was built during this period. It consists of four circles, the outermost more than 500 feet across, made up of an estimated 42,000 tons of basalt stone, the remains of massive walls that experts believe once rose as much as high as 30 feet. The enormous feat of construction was carried out by a society about which little is known. Scholars tended to agree that a tomb in the center of the site was added a millennia or two after the circles were erected in the Chalcolithic period. In 2011 a scholar suggested that Galgal Refaim was an excarnation facility.
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3800 BC
3700 BC
In 2010 archeologists in Israel uncovered two fragments of a clay tablet with writing that resembled portions of the Code of Hammurabi of the 18th century BC. The fragments referred to issues of personal injury law relating to slaves and masters.
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3000 BC
2800 BC
The Burckle Crater, an undersea crater, formed during this period by a very large scale comet or meteorite impact event. It is located to the east of Madagascar and west of Western Australia in the southern Indian ocean and is estimated to be about 30 km (18 mi) in diameter. In 2006 the Holocene Impact Working Group believed that it was created when a comet impacted in the ocean, and that enormous megatsunamis created the dune formations which later allowed the crater to be pin-pointed. As not only the Bible, but other ancient writings from various cultures make reference to a 'great flood', it is hypothesized that these legends are associated with this event.
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1800 BC
About this time Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, in a cave in Hebron. The area later became known to the Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque.
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1800 BC
In 2016 the Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled a "unique" 3,800-year-old figurine showing a seated person, apparently deep in thought. It was discovered recently in excavations at Yehud, east of Tel Aviv.
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1700 BC
Canaanites, before the Hebrew conquest, built a massive wall about this time when Jerusalem was a small, fortified enclave. Archeologists first discovered the 26-foot-high wall in 1909 and later believed it to have been part of a protected passage built from a hilltop fortress to a nearby spring that was the city's only water source and vulnerable to marauders.
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1700 BC
A Canaanite palace stored wine in large ceramic jars. In 2013 archeologists exploring the site in northern Israel, known as Tel Kabri, announced the discovery of a storage room holding the broken remains of the jars.
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1200 BC
The Philistines arrived by sea from the area of modern-day Greece about this time. They went on to rule major ports at Ashkelon and Ashdod, now cities in Israel, and at Gaza, now part of the Palestinian territory known as the Gaza Strip.
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1100 BC
In 2010 Israeli archeologists found a trove of gold jewelry in a jug near Megiddo dating to about this time. The jewelry was said to have belonged to a Canaanite family.
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1020 BC
980 BC
Radiocarbon dating on burnt olive pits found in the ancient city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, 19 miles (30km) southwest of Jerusalem, indicate it existed between during this period, before being violently destroyed. In 2012 archaeologists reported the discovery of shrines from the fortified city, providing the earliest evidence of a Biblical cult.
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1004 BC
David became the king of Israel. He ruled from Hebron before moving his capital to Jerusalem. He began to build a centralized government based in Jerusalem and implemented forced labor, a census and a mechanism for collecting taxes. In 2000 Jonathan Kirsch authored "King David: The Real Life of the Man Who ruled Israel." According to the Bible the census under David was followed by a plague that left some 70,000 Israelites dead.
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1004 BC
1000 BC
Absalom, the third son of King David, led a major rebellion which temporarily dethroned his father in the late eleventh century BC. Absalom died when his long hair became entangled in an oak tree and he was slain by David's general, Joab.
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1000 BC
900 BC
Archeologists in 2005 reported that 2 lines of an alphabet had been found inscribed in a stone in Israel, offering what some scholars say is the most solid evidence yet that the ancient Israelites were literate as early as the 10th century B.C. The stone was found in July, on the final day of a five-week dig at Tel Zayit, about 30 miles south of Tel Aviv.
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1000 BC
975 BC
In 2008 Israeli archeologists found a Hebrew inscription in proto-Canaanite script on a pottery fragment at a site believed to the biblical city of Sha’arayim (Two Gates). The city was located on a hill above the Valley of Elah, where the bible says David slew Goliath.
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1000 BC
A clay tablet, described as an Akkadian-language letter, dating to about this time was placed on display in 2011 in Jerusalem. The letter was from the Canaanite King Abdi-Heba to the king of Egypt. It was found in excavations of a site from the First Temple period.
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900 BC
800 BC
Sebastia, located just outside the modern city of Nablus, served as the capital of the biblical Kingdom of Israel under the name of Samaria in the 8th and 9th centuries B.C.
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830 BC
The Philistine city of Gath was razed. It appears to have been the work of the Aramean king Hazael, an incident mentioned in the Book of Kings.
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721 BC
About this time as the northern Israelite kingdom failed, Hebron remained the capital of the southern Israelite kingdom of Judah.
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700 BC
King Hezekiah, about this time, constructed a 1,750-foot tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem. Archeologists in 2003 dated plant fragments in the tunnel's plaster to this time +/- 100 years. In 1880 a tablet known as the Siloam inscription was found in the tunnel. It had been installed to celebrate the moment the two construction teams met underground. The tablet was taken by the Holy Land's Ottoman rulers to Istanbul. It was later placed in the collection of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. In 2007 Jerusalem's mayor asked the Turkish government to return the tablet.
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700 BC
600 BC
In 2016 Israeli archaeologists made public a fragment of an ancient text which they say is the earliest Hebrew reference to Jerusalem outside the Bible. The piece of papyrus was dated by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the 7th century B.C.
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604 BC
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded and put the Philistines' cities to the sword. There is no remnant of them after that.
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586 BC
The Jewish Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, was later said to date to about this time. The first Jews who arrived were said to have brought a stone from the ancient temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Babylonians.
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500 BC
400 BC
Mordechai, a Jew, became the prime minister of Persia during this period.
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500 BC
400 BC
Haman is described as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. In the Biblical story, Haman and his wife Zeresh instigate a plot to kill all of the Jews of ancient Persia. Haman attempts to convince Ahasuerus to order the killing of Mordecai and all the Jews of the lands he ruled. The plot is foiled by Queen Esther, the king's recent wife, who is herself a Jew. Haman is hanged from the gallows that had originally been built to hang Mordecai. Court councilor Haman warned Persia’s King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) against strangers whose laws are diverse from all people.
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300 BC
68 BC
The Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran, Jordan, date to this period. The scrolls are usually identified with the Jewish-monkish cult, the Essenes, know for their pathological aversion to stool. In 2004 Chicago Prof. Norman Golb authored “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.” In 2009 Israeli scholar Rachel Elior theorized that the Essenes, did not exist. She suggested they were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century BC. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom - their scrolls - with them.
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300 BC
68 BC
The Dead Sea Scrolls dating to this period were discovered by Bedouin at the caves of Qumran in Jordan in 1947. The scrolls predated the Christian gospels, but contained many similarities. They also contained some differences from the traditional (Masoretic) text of the Hebrew Bible. In 1955 Edmund Wilson published "The Scrolls from the Dead Sea." In 1998 Hershel Shank published "The Mystery and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls." From 1978-1998 over 6,000 books were written about the scrolls. The discovery date was later contested as were many of the historic circumstances surrounding the scrolls [see Jordan 1947].
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190 BC
180 BC
The “Wisdom of Sirach” was written about this time in Hebrew. Its apocalyptic tone reflects the shock of the Jewish religious establishment at the encounter with Hellenic culture.
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1
The three wise men that reportedly visited the baby Jesus were said to be from Arabia and Nubia, Godolia and Tarsus.
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10
Hillel the Elder, Jewish religious leader, died in Jerusalem. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."
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30 Apr 30
Jesus of Nazareth was crucified [see 33AD]. Christ died on hill of Golgotha, Jerusalem. His path along the Via Dolorosa was later disputed as to whether he was tried by Pontius Pilate at the palace of Herod or at the Roman fortress of Antonia. His death was at an abandoned quarry, the site of today’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1998 Robert Funk and the Jesus Seminar published "The Acts of Jesus: The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus." The group had published an earlier work "The Five Gospels," in which the sayings of Jesus were examined. In 1999 Thomas Cahill authored "Desire of the Everlasting Hills," a book about Jesus and his effect on the world. In 2010 Paul Johnson authored “Jesus: A Biography From a Believer.” Also in 2010 Philip Pullman authored “The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ,” in which he proposes that Jesus and Christ were twin brothers.
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33 Apr 3
Christ was crucified (according to astronomers Humphreys and Waddington). The date is highly debated. See April 30, 30AD.
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66
70
The Jews during this period laid in supplies and prepared to hide during their revolt against the Romans. In 2006 archeologists in northern Israel reported the discovery of chambers, linked by short tunnels, that would have served as a concealed subterranean home.
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70
Josephus recorded that Vespasian and his son Titus plundered 50 tons of gold and silver during the 70AD Roman conquest of Jerusalem.
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71
Vespasian and his son Titus paraded the treasure plundered from Jerusalem in triumph through the streets of Rome. They used the 50 tons of gold and silver to help finance the building of the Colosseum.
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129
Roman Emp. Hadrian visited Jerusalem. In 2014 archeologists discovered a large stone with Latin engravings bearing the name of Hadrian and the year of his visit.
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326
330
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was built by the Roman emperor Constantine. The church was rebuilt under Justinian (527-565).
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335 Oct 21
Constantinople emperor (Constantine the Great) enacted rules against Jews.
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335
Byzantine Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on the hill of Golgotha, where his mother claimed to have found the remains of the True Cross. It was raised by the Persians in 614, reconstructed and again destroyed by Caliph Hakim of Egypt in 1009. It was rebuilt by the Crusaders.
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500
The second component of the Talmud, the Gemara, was compiled about this time in Babylon (later Iraq). It is a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh. The first component, the Mishnah, the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law, dated to around 200.
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560
Emperor Justinian about this time returned the treasure of Jerusalem, plundered by the Romans in 70AD, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
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600
A synagogue at Ein Gedi on the shores of the Dead Sea was destroyed about this time by fire. It had stood there from about 800BC. In 1970 archeologists digging at the site discovered a trove of scrolls. Technology in 2016 determined the scrolls to be of Leviticus, one of the first five books of the Bible, which dated to 200AD-300AD.
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624
628
Several Jewish clans in the Arabian peninsula joined forces with an Arab tribe, the Quraysh, to make war on a renegade Qurayshi named Mohammad, who claimed he was a prophet of God.
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632
661
The Rashidun Caliphate, also known as the Rightly Guided Caliphate, comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia in the east. It was the one of the largest empires in history up until that time.
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638
Arabs conquered the city of Hebron. They allowed the Jews to build a synagogue near Abraham’s burial site.
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691
Muslims built the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. It contained inscriptions that later were held as the 1st evidence of the Koran.
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700
900
The Hadith, the main guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran, were evaluated and gathered into large collections mostly during the reign of Umar ibn AbdulAziz during the 8th and 9th centuries.
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930
The Aleppo Codex was written on parchment in the Holy Land town of Tiberias by the scribe Shlomo Ben Boya'a about this time. Its completion marked the end of a centuries-long process that created final text of the Hebrew Bible.
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1009
In Jerusalem the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was burned by Muslims under Caliph Hakim of Egypt.
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1080
The Knights of St. John (the Hospitallers) were founded in Jerusalem about this time to care for the sick.
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1099
The Aleppo Codex, owned by Jewish community in Jerusalem, was seized by Crusaders who sacked the city. It was then ransomed and made its way to Cairo, Egypt.
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1119
The French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of the pilgrims.
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1130
The Knights of St. John (the Hospitallers) became a military order some 60 years after having been founded in Jerusalem to care for the sick.
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1149
In Jerusalem the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, rebuilt by the Crusaders, was consecrated.
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