What To Do?

Shirley and I are putting together a little exhibit for our local public library that will feature some of the pots I discussed in my old Friday Pot Blogging series. It will include a few other things archaeological plus some things Hebrew, Akkadian and Ugaritic that may or may not relate to the Hebrew Bible.
One just can’t show a collection of old pots from the southern Levant without saying something about Levantine chronology. But scholarly thought on Levantine chronology, particularly the boundary between Iron Age I and Iron Age II, is more than bit in flux with implications for the history of ancient Israel at this most crucial time.
The audience will be that wonderful mix of people who use a public library. Many will be junior and senior high school students and many will be educated adults. But few will know anything much about the general subject of the exhibit. One problem is that within that vast majority who will know little about the subject of the exhibit there will be a significant subset that think they know quite a bit.
Shirley and I are preparing color-coded timelines that will match the approximate chronological periods of the artifacts on display. And as long as we stick to relative chronology and things like “Late Bronze age,” “Iron Age,” etc we are mostly okay. But what about that pesky absolute chronology? My current inclination is to use Amihai Mazar’s “middle chronology” with the Iron Age I and Iron Age II boundary at ~980 BCE and then have a card that explains Finkelstein’s low chronology and a couple of its implications. Depending on how I look at the evidence (and on what day), I personally vacillate between Mazar’s chronology and Finkelstein’s.
The real question is how best to present a scholarly controversy honestly in few enough work that a high school student might read them without causing confusion or cynicism.