Israeli archaeologists have discovered what they say is the first physical evidence in Jerusalem of an earthquake referenced in the biblical books of Amos and Zechariah.
The earthquake took place some 2,800 years ago after the reign of Solomon and during the time of the divided kingdom.
It is mentioned in Amos 1:1, which says Amos lived “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” It also is referenced in Zechariah 14:5: “And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.”
Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) say they found broken vessels, bowls, lamps and jars. The discovery was made in the City of David National Park.
“When we excavated the structure and uncovered an eighth-century BCE layer of destruction, we were very surprised, because we know that Jerusalem continued to exist in succession until the Babylonian destruction, which occurred about 200 years later,” IAA excavation directors Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf said.
“We asked ourselves what could have caused that dramatic layer of destruction we uncovered,” the two archaeologists said. Examining the excavation findings, we tried to check if there is a reference to it in the biblical text. Interestingly, the earthquake that appears in the Bible, in the books of Amos and Zechariah, occurred at the time when the building we excavated in the City of David collapsed.”
—The Jerusalem Post