New research suggests camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel as the Bible suggests, but rather much later between 2000 and 1500 BCE.
The finding is believed to challenge the accuracy of the Bible while showing it was written long after the events described within, a Past Horizons news release reported.
The team used radiocarbon dating to see when the animals first popped up in Levant, which turned out to be the ninth century BCE as opposed to the 12th.
"The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development," Doctor Erez Ben-Yosef, of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology said in the news release. "By analyzing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries."
The animals are believed to have been domesticated as pack animals on the Arabian Peninsula. The oldest-known domestic camel bones are from Aravah Valley by the Israeli-Jordanian border, it was once a n area devoted to copper production. The bones were discovered during a 2009 dig in the valley.
All of the camel bones found at the sites were from the end of the10th century BCE or later; this is later than the Kingdom of David. Camel bones that date back further are believed to be from wild animals.
The presence of domestic camels in the Aravah Valley would have happened at the same time as a dramatic change in the copper industry. Many smelting sites were shut down and those that remained open started to use more "sophisticated" systems. These changes are believed to be associated with the Egyptians.
"The origin of the domesticated camel is probably the Arabian Peninsula, which borders the Aravah Valley and would have been a logical entry point for domesticated camels into the southern Levant. In fact, Dr. Ben-Yosef and Dr. Sapir-Hen say the first domesticated camels ever to leave the Arabian Peninsula may now be buried in the Aravah Valley," the news release reported.