For most experts in the field of archaeology, excavation sites are windows into the past offering invaluable information and artifacts that can help us piece together the cultural histories of our species. For the team currently examining the site of Solomon’s Temple, however, the work is yielding crucial data that can assist modern science — specifically the study of the Earth’s magnetic fields.

Solomon’s Temple, also known as The First Temple, was one of the most important landmarks of the ancient world; so much so that an entire era was named for it. While there is little historical documentation of this era, what records we have of the important religious structure have allowed most academics to agree upon the consensus that it fell in 587 BCwhen Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem.

A firm understanding of this destruction date is important, but we’ll come back to that. First, lets discuss the scientific field of geomagnetism.

According to ScienceDirect, geomagnetism is the study of the magnetic field of Earth. This field helps us to understand more about the way the Earth works and interacts with other astral bodies. A sub-field of geomagnetism is paleomagnetism, which examines the remnant magnetization in rocks and sediments to infer the magnetic field of ancient times. This method can trace what we do not see in the present-day field, that is, magnetic reversals and polar wander.

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