This post is a continuation of our Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology series. To see the complete series please click here.

The Biblical Account

1400 BC was an unusual time in history. Moses, about 40 years earlier, led a sea of people through the Red Sea. He was intent to lead them from Egypt straight to the Promised Land. The people, however, arrived a bit later than they were planning. The people leaving Egypt did not obey God as they should have (think golden calf) so forty years were spent traveling through a vast desert wasteland. During these 40 years God miraculously provided manna, meat, water and the Ten Commandments for the people to survive.

By 1400 BC the disobedient generation who fled Egypt had all died. The next generation was ready, with God paving the way, to conquer a land which had been promised to them more than 500 years beforehand. Moses takes them within sight of the Promised Land. He is told to climb Mount Nebo where he will die.

Joshua takes over command of the people. His first act is leading them all through a river; a challenging task for even a 21st century military commander. His strategy: just let the people in the front carrying the ark of God start walking into the water and it will naturally part allowing all the people to walk through on dry ground. The strategy works. His next challenge is conquering the heavily fortified ancient city of Jericho. His strategy is given to him by God in Joshua 6:3-5:

You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus you shall do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.

The men of Jericho laugh as they watch what can best be described as unconventional warfare tactics. The strategy, however, actually works! The plan is executed down to the smallest detail. After the final shout the walls of Jericho fall down. The city is burned. Jericho is conquered in one week. Truth appears to be stranger than fiction. The conquest of Canaan has just been inaugurated through a river stopping and a fortified city being defeated through the combination of marching, music and shouting. At least this is the history described in the Bible.

Can an intellectual person really embrace the biblical account of Jericho? The biblical account makes for a fanciful bedtime story, but can the Bible really be accurately communicating an historical event?

A Remarkable Dig

The archaeological world first turned their gaze toward Jericho beginning in the late 1800’s. The first documented excavation occurred in 1867 and 1868 by the famous British engineer Charles Warren. Warren was most interested in finding out whether the large earthen mound, known as Tell es-Sultan, is natural or man-made? Warren dug six vertical shafts to see what was inside the mound.

To everyone’s amazement he found, “As a general result on the completion of these excavations it may be said for a certainty that these mounds are artificial throughout, and that they probably are the remains of ancient castles. ” Amazing, it was now verified the contents of Tell es-Sultan are man-made. What lies underneath? Will anything ever be found that could shed light on the biblical story of Joshua?

The next major excavation on Tell es-Sultan was done by a team from Austria and Germany from 1907-1909 and then again in 1911. Their major contribution to our understanding of Jericho was discovering a revetment wall which they followed around most of the city. A revetment wall is a retaining wall which prevents erosion. Further walls were typically built on top of a revetment wall. Tell es-Sultan was already taking shape as the ancient walled city of Jericho.

John Garstang, a British archaeologist, was then the first person starting in 1930 to lead an excavation using more modern archaeological methods. He dug at Tell es-Sultan from 1930 to 1936. The two most notable discoveries by Garstang’s team was a collapsed city wall toward the top of the mound (built on top of a wall which was built on top of the revetment wall…yes, possibly 3 different vertical walls), and evidence of a thoroughly violent destruction of the city. Garstang dated, based on pottery found at the same depth, the city was destroyed around 1400 BC. In his own words he writes:

In a word, in all material details and in date the fall of Jericho took place as described in the Biblical narrative. Our demonstration is limited, however, to material observations: the walls fell, shaken apparently by earthquake, and the city was destroyed by fire, about 1400 B.C. These are the basic facts resulting from our investigations. The link with Joshua and the Israelites is only circumstantial but it seems to be solid and without a flaw.

Garstang’s conclusions brought a lot of controversy from some of his colleagues who questioned his speedy reporting and dating methods. Garstang asked an up-and-coming British archaeologist named Kathleen Kenyon to study his findings. Kenyon studied all previous findings from Jericho and then led her own excavations from 1952-1958. Her study of Jericho made her famous.

Garstang and Kenyon both discovered a lot of pottery and artifacts from Jericho. Kenyon identified 20 different architectural phases, with evidence that some of these phases lasted for long periods of time, Over the course of the 20 phases there were three major and 12 minor destructions. A fortification tower was rebuilt four times and repaired once, followed by habitation units that were rebuilt seven times. Amazing, Kenyon analyzed more than 20 different time periods of Jericho. There was one layer of history which most closely was in line with the time of the biblical account.

Kenyon describes the calamity she observed through the archaeological findings of the time period most closely related to the Bible:

The destruction was complete. Walls and floors were blackened or reddened by fire, and every room was filled with fallen bricks, timbers, and household utensils; in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt, but the collapse of the walls of the eastern rooms seems to have taken place before they were affected by the fire.

One of Kenyon’s great discoveries from Jericho was the grain supply. Her team found many jars more than 3,000 years old which were all full of burned grain! Why is this so significant? The military strategy of the day was siege. An army would surround a city, cut off all food and water supply, and wait for the people to starve. A besieged city contains no food at the time of destruction. Additionally, if a city were to surrender before their food supply ran out they would intentionally destroy their remaining food supply knowing it would only feed their enemies.

Many of the jars were still sealed shut, so the city was full of food while it was being destroyed. The jars full of burned grain tell us two things: 1) the city had a full supply of food when it was burned; 2) the defeat of Jericho likely occurred at the beginning of harvest since the city was so well stocked at the time of attack.


All of these previous findings correlate with the biblical narrative:

  • The city was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5,7,15, 6:5,20).
  • The attack occurred just after harvest time in the spring (Joshua 2:6, 3:15, 5:10).
  • The inhabitants had no opportunity to flee with their food (Joshua 6:1).
  • The siege was short (Joshua 6:15).
  • The walls were leveled, possibly by an earthquake (Joshua 6:20).
  • The city was not plundered (Joshua 6:17-18).
  • The city was burned (Joshua 6:20)

Kenyon’s Analysis

Kenyon’s full multi-volume report of her excavation (you can buy it online for $1,500 – donations of her report to our ministry will not be rejected) was not published until after her death. Kenyon’s final analysis stated the city was destroyed in 1550 BC instead of 1400 BC. She ultimately disagreed with Garstang’s analysis. In her view, the Israelites come to a totally destroyed city in 1400 BC, not a well-fortified city. The biblical story could not have happened as described. Her dating of 1550 BC mainly came from the lack of an expensive type of pottery from Cyprus popular in 1400 BC. Because of Kenyon’s final analysis many scholars have written off the biblical account of Jericho as a mere fairy tale.

Recent Research

Recent scholars have revisited the archaeological reports. Kathleen Kenyon did a fantastic job documenting the excavation making thorough examination of her discoveries possible. Dr. Bryant G. Wood makes a strong case for the destruction of Jericho to be restored to Garstang’s date of 1400 BC. You can read Dr. Wood’s findings here: Among other points, Dr. Wood observes Kenyon excavated in a poor residential part of Jericho. Kenyon should not have expected expensive pottery from Cyprus in a poor part of town. The common pottery she discovered does support a time of 1400 BC. I encourage you to read all of Dr. Wood’s analysis supporting a date of 1400 BC.

Archaeology can be Messy

Jericho is a perfect example of the potential messiness when you step into the world of archaeology. Some scholars interpret the archaeological evidence as a death-blow to the biblical account. Other equally capable scholars interpret the archaeological evidence to be in full support of every little detail mentioned in the book of Joshua. Ultimately it is up to you to study both sides and come to your own conclusion.

Please join the discussion by posting your thoughts in the comments section below.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    41 replies to "Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology – #3 Jericho"

    • C Michael Patton

      Amazing. Thanks for all the research.

    • Boz

      The view of mainstream biblical scholarship is that the exodus was not a historical event.

      The consensus view of historians and archaeologists is that the exodus did not occur.

    • Ed Kratz

      Not sure that this was about the exodus Boz.

    • phil_style


      Thanks for posting this.

      I’m no arcaheologist, and for the longest time, I’ve been of the opinion that Kenyon’s date/occupation conclusions were robust. And that Jericho was infact unoocupied during the supposed time period relating to the biblical account of the “invasion”. I will, however, read Dr. Wood’s analysis, but for me (being an environmental scientist and not an archaeologist) I’m going to have to rely somewhat on authority, unfortunately… this makes it difficult to know which datasets/conclusions are more accurate.

    • phil_style

      Having now read Dr. Wood’s article, it seems to me that the most important dataset has not been assessed at all. I fail to see where the date of the grains that were found has been determined…..

    • phil_style

      Some further reading seems to suggest that the radio-carbon date that Wood’s relied upon for his charcoal find was wrong, and that it’s redating supports kenyon’s thesis.

      • Lil

        If we rely on carbon dating, then we are way off. I read about a scientist whose neighbour’s dog died, and he asked for the corpse. He buried it in his garden for 6 months, then sent it off to be carbon dated at a lab. They told him it was millions of years old. Imagine the look on their faces when he told them 6 months! ;p

    • TruthSleuth

      Nothing to add here, just wanted to saw how much I am enjoying this series. Any one of these finds would have made a better storyline for the last Indiana Jones movie than the ancient astronauts. History for the win!

    • Ken G.

      Is this series supposed to be seen as supporting the Biblical chronology? By calling attention to a research topic that academics use to debunk the Biblical timeline??

      Even worse, it is amazing that in the “top ten” discovery series, the one conclusion one might draw if it were correct is that

      1. There is no evidence, whatsoever, of any supernatural intervention and
      2. It would just support the claim that the Hebrews were part of a violent semitic group.

    • Wolf Veizer


      The exodus is significant because it is the first stage in the events leading to the conquest of Canaan, all a series of events which archaeologists generally believe to be either made up or misdescribed by the Tanakh.

      It is indeed telling that “Biblical” archaeologists want to reject a more recent study (which was later confirmed by moderndating methods) that would disagree with the Bible and accept a decades-old study with poorer excavation methodology.

      The current concensus is that if the Hebrew people (a Canaanite tribal group who possibly worshipped the Canaanite god El) did make a raid on Jerusalem, it had probably been empty or nearly empty for over a century.

    • DagoodS

      Tim Kimberley’s articles have provided some descriptions of archeological support for biblical historical claims. But not this one.

      To be balanced, this archeological evidence contradicts biblical claims. Now we are left making a determination (just like we do with all historical records) as to what parts are historical, what parts are myth, and what parts we don’t know.

      As this demonstrates the Jericho story is myth (or at least partly myth), I would be curious what method is being used to determine what parts are myth and what parts are historical.

    • casey

      The Exodus is rejected on what grounds? I assume its primarily a lack of evidence. We have documentation of the Exodus in an ancient Semitic document. This document has been treated with skepticism but has proved itself against the skeptics multiple times in other areas. The Biblical account is historical evidence for the Exodus in and of itself.

      Also, I thought there were also extra-bibilical records of a Semitic tribe that was invading the Canaanite cities and razing them to the ground that corresponds with one of the two possible dates of the Exodus.

    • Ken G.


      It sounds like you have been consulting sources that assume the Bible is correct to begin with. You might find it good to come up to speed with more academically verified sources.

      1. Its not a lack of evidence. There’s plenty of evidence from that period. It just happens to contradict the Biblical story. I.e. That egypt ruled the whole area where Israel supposedly wandered for 40 years (we’ve found the egyptian forts everywhere), after they had supposedly escaped past the red sea (which was by no means the boundary of the egyptian empire at that time). There are many other reasons too.

      2.The Biblical account conveniently misses numerous major civilizations that actually occupied the region of Canaan at the time.

      So the mentioning of it in the Bible is actually major reason we think it NOT to be an actual event.

    • DagoodS


      You are quite correct that the Tanakh account is evidence for the Exodus. However, it is only one piece, and in light of other evidence it fails. (Think of it this way. The fact we observe what appears to be a sun “moving” across the sky would technically be evidence the sun moves around the earth. Of course, once all the other evidence is taken into account, we see the problem.)

      Once the other evidence is taken into consideration, we see that the Exodus account is myth.

      You may be thinking of the Hyksos as the invading Canaanite tribe.

      Finally, I should note there are generally three (3) possible dates given for the Exodus—25th Century B.C.E., 15th Century B.C.E. and 13th Century B.C.E. in attempts to link extra-biblical evidence to support the Exodus account.

    • Rick

      It looks like that while the post itself does not adequately show how this was one of the top finds for biblical archeology, and maybe reading more into it than is there, it also appears many of the commentors do the same in the opposite directions.

      It appears we have both archeological maximalists and minimalists reading this post.

    • bethyada

      Good article Tim. I agree that this is good evidence comparing what was found with what is described in Joshua.

      Joshua describes an unusual situation whereby the walls fall outward (or at least allow climbing over), the city is burned but not looted. On the expected site we find walls fallen down in a way compatible with the biblical description but not compatible with a siege, and the presence of food that was not pillaged. Both these are unlike other archaeological sites.

      And this is dismissed by some over chronological considerations which are less precise in absolute terms, and change every few decades anyway.

      I think the disparate chronology is of minor importance. There are a range of reconstructions for the Middle East and Egyptian chronology is a mess.

      Tim, have you considered the possibility that Kenyon had the pottery dating correct (stratographically so to speak), but that the traditional dates assigned to this period are incorrect? I.e. the date for the conquest is biblically dated, but the dates for archaeology are dated by radio carbon and pottery; these latter raw dates needing adjustment to known fixed dates.

    • casey

      Ken G and DaGoods…

      Are there links to websites or books you could provide that shows the evidence you speak of? I’d like to read up on it. Thanks,


    • Ken G.


      You might start by consulting the leading Israeli archaeologists. Read the works of Israel Finkelstein and N. Silberman, and they’ll give you a good summary of what modern archaeology has revealed about the origins of the Torah. There are a number of other great authors out there, but Finkelstein is a good starting point (prof at Tel Aviv Univ).

    • Ranger

      Casey and Ken,
      I’d actually disagree that Finklestein is a good starting point. For one thing, anything you find published by him at the popular level is now severely out of date and goes against his current views. Apparently after long discussions with Yose Garfinkel at the Khirbet Qeiyafa dig this summer, he has significantly refined and changed his low chronology. Of course, it should be worrying in and of itself when the most respected archaeologist in the field describes you as “standing alone” in your view (as Dever has done concerning Finklestein). Finklestein has become well known not specifically for his work, but for the radically different nature of his theses. Whereas he may be right, we shouldn’t assume his views are the standard views of the field right now.

      If you are interested in inscriptions, I would suggest the work of Shmuel Ahituv. He has a very helpful handbook of western Semitic inscriptions. For the archaeological record, I’d suggest trying to track down copies of BASOR (Bulletin of the Association of Oriental Research), which is where the top archaeologists publish each season. For more popular level work, I’d read Biblical Archaeology Review. The contributors are a mix of Christian, Jew, Agnostic and Atheist and are all experts in the field. It will give you a good assessment of the work on the ground.

      If you are looking for an evangelical perspective from a well-respected scholar across the field, then I would suggest James Hoffmeier’s “The Archaeology of the Bible.”

    • Michael T.

      Finkelstein??? I’d hardly call him the mainstream of scholarship. He is a lightning rod for controversy to say the least. Half think he’s a heroic genius and the other half a nut. I mean don’t get me wrong – feel free to read his books. Just read the criticisms as well.

    • DagoodS


      He he he. As you can see, this can become a can of worms. Toward one end (minimalist) you could read Finklestein, and on the other end (maximalist) you could read Kitchen. Although even Kitchen indicates the stories as recorded in the Tanakh are exaggerated, if I recall correctly.

      In the middle, for a general, easy read, I recommend “Archaeology and the Bible” by Laughlin or “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” By Sturgis. And I, too, recommend Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR).

      One thing to keep in mind, is that the Exodus event is comprised of three significant stories:

      1) The Ten Plagues;
      2) The Flight (Exodus)
      3) Invasion of Canaan.

      Any proposed date (and corresponding evidence) needs to substantiate for all three events. For example, a claimed date for the invasion 40 – 50 years after a period of stability in Egypt wouldn’t work. I often see arguments made for one of these events, but made at times that do not work for the other events.

      Does anyone know of a single positive archeological piece of evidence for an Exodus the magnitude as described in the Torah?

      If you are interested in a sampling of the problem, (and a bit off-topic), I would submit a piece I did regarding the economic impact of the Ten plagues:

      Alas, a topic rarely discussed or integrated in this discussion.

    • Keith

      Back in the 80s I did a very liberal degree in biblical and theological studies. When it came to Jericho the “fact” that no bi-chromium pottery had been found was massively emphasised such that it was a kind of faith acompli against the biblical record.

      Years later I met an archeologist in Israel who said that Kenyon had actually gotten it wrong and that the pottery was mis catelogued and there was indeed bi-chromium pottery present.

      Ho hum …

    • Wolf Veizer


      Please pardon those dedicated to their preconceived assumption that the Bible is Divine Truth, especially anyone who “ROTFL” about the academic qualifications of Israel Finkelstein.

      He is a leader at one of the top universities in the world for Iron Age Israeli history, and has received huge honors in his field. He’s also directed some of the most important excavations in the history of Israeli archaeology.

      But the real point is aside from his qualifications. Even if you reject his/Silberman’s model on the origin of the Torah, his work (especially his most famous book, which to this day is a best seller in Biblical/OT archaeology) is bipartate (as anyone should know who is commenting on his work, unless they haven’t avtually read it).

      Many different models exist explaining why/when/who constructed the Torah, and Finkelstein has a very interesting one. The primary take away point, though, is in his thorough explanation for why the classical/ “historical”/pre-1980’s view of the Torah as divine revelation and accurate history is likely wrong. Even if you disregard his construction ideas, his evisceration of the classical view stands largely independently of his own work, having been based on the work of innumerable other archaeologists.

      He’s not even as extreme in his construction model as others, some of whom have suggested that the Torah didn’t begin construction until the 5th century (his model has some texts beginning in the 7th century).

      Happy studying!

    • Michael T.

      No one is claiming that Finkelstein isn’t qualified as a scholar. What I take issue with is the characterization of him as the mainstream view on the subject which he most plainly is not. He is a minimalist, which is fine, as long as it is understood that this is just one of the views on the issue. However, even within minimalist thinking his way of thinking about things (not just the dates he gives, but his whole model) is considered to be on the outside. Recommending him is akin to someone asking for a good book on the Calvinist-Arminianism debate and handing them a book by John Piper (someone whose supralapsarianism puts them in the minority of Evangelical Calvinists) while not recommending any books by say, Roger Olsen or someone in between like William Lane Craig who is a Molinist.

    • Ken G.

      Michael T,

      I don’t think you understood what Wolf was saying, or that you understand Finkelstein’s work, or where the disagreements actually are from other scholars. The point is that the refutation of naïve classicism stands regardless of whether his minimalist reconstruction model is accepted or not.

      Have you even read his work or the academic responses to it? Or the work that his work is based on?

    • Michael T.

      Ken G.

      In all honesty archeology is not one of my greater interests. As a result I have read enough summaries and surveys to know who the major players are, what their views are, and how those views have been received, but I haven’t read the individual works themselves in most cases including this one (one can’t read everything in every area – some areas one finds more interesting then others). In this case I do know enough to know that Finkelstein’s views have been heavily criticized by many scholars of all persuasions on the issue including other minimalists. Furthermore, I know enough to know that minimalism isn’t the only game in town, though I would certainly agree with you that most scholars in the field (though not all) reject the classical view.

      Again my issue with only recommending Finkelstein (and someone who is closely associated with him) has nothing to do with his views and the rightness or wrongness of those views or even saying he shouldn’t be read (no one should ever be discouraged from reading anything in my opinion). Rather it is that ONLY recommending him gives a false impressions that he represents the mainstream of the field (as well as the breadth of views) without providing any balance. Can you imagine how much you would object if someone asked for a book that surveys the reasons to believe in God and I only recommended a book by Craig or Plantinga (two Christian Philosophers/Apologists) without recommending their critics?? You would be up in arms accusing me of indoctrination. Let the guy read the different views and come to his own conclusions. Ranger and Dagoods (an atheist himself) were at least balanced in their recommendations giving Casey multiple sources from multiple viewpoints including reliable sources for surveys of the relevant subject matter.

    • Michael T.

      Just to be clear about the last post and state it plainly. You clearly assert and I agree that the majority of scholars would disagree with the statement “the classical view is correct”. Beyond this it is my assertion that the majority of scholars would also disagree with the statement “Israel Finkelstein’s view is the correct view”. In fact I don’t think there is any one position which from my reading could be stated to be the majority position among scholars. There are rather a significant number of views (even within overarching views such as minimalism) each with a few adherents. As such it is my further assertion that if someone is asking for sources from which to study this subject it is disingenuous to recommend sources which come from only one position, and in fact only one sub-position within that position, as the ONLY sources they should read. Rather one should (I think) recommend multiple sources from differing viewpoints or survey material that looks at multiple views which may very well include Finkelstein’s work in addition to others.

    • DagoodS

      Michael T,

      You raise a point that currently consumes me—what is our duty (for lack of a better word) to present alternate positions? If a person asks about a particular study, need I give recommendations from both theistic and non-theistic positions? Both Roman Catholic and Protestant? (and Mormon and Jehovah’s witness, etc., etc. etc.)

      For example (to pick on Tim Kimberely for a second), to his credit in this blog entry, he refers to both the original 1400 BCE date and Kenyon’s 1550 BCE date. However, he then mentions Dr. Wood’s claim it should move back to the 1400 date, without mentioning later work discrediting Dr. Wood’s work.

      Should he have?

      Are we people simply presenting information, or are we advocates for our particular view?

      I thank you and appreciate the compliment of being balanced—probably more due to luck. I am sure there are plenty of topics where I would suggest reading in not nearly as balanced tone. This just happens to be a field where it seems just about any position one takes answers some questions, yet does not answer others.

      I would be curious to see the blog contributors provide their take on this subject—do they (we) have an obligation to present all sides? (and if so—to what degree? Must we present geocentricism every time we mention the sun?) And if we do not—at what point does it begin to bother someone that a side is not being presented and the person making the claim begins to lose credibility?

      This is more a global question to the entire study of theology—not to harass one particular person or one particular topic.

    • Michael T.


      I have often asked myself that question. It probably depends on the circumstances (like most things).

      To give an example the Theology Program which this blog represents is designed to educate layperson Christians in theology. In doing so it shares multiple points of view including the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox perspectives on matters. In other words even though it is in many ways oriented for Evangelical Protestants it is not dogmatically so. In fact I think at one point CMP tells the class that he would rather have them reject Protestantism and join the RCC and know why they believe what they believe, then remain Protestant and not know why they believe what they believe. Now since the purpose of this class is to educated Christian believers the class does not cover Muslim theology, or the theology of various heretical groups throughout church history (these are covered and articulated when discussing how various theologies came about and various modern splinter groups – but not directly like RCC or EO theology is). I find these omissions acceptable given the purposes of the course. However, I would not find them acceptable in a Church History course at a University, even a Christian one. I would expect the views of the Gnostics for instance to be presented fully as well as the opposition to them. When I took Philosophy of Religion in undergrad for instance I was at a Christian school, but I read way more articles for that class from atheists or non-Christian theists then I did Christians. The various sides were presented fairly (at least in my opinion).

      In this case though my biggest problem was not that someone thinks Finklestein is right and would recommend him and argue for his position (people are entitled to do this) rather it is that he is held out as representing the mainstream among scholars which he is not (as I said earlier I’m not sure a “majority” opinion even exists)

    • […] Kimberley over at the Parchment and Pen blog, is featuring a series based on the top ten Biblical discoveries in […]

    • Ken G.

      The original point still stands. For anyone who actually believes the classical origin of the OT is actually supported by mainstream archaelogy, Finkelstein’s work represents a solid mainstream refutation of that notion.

      Critique of his origins model is a useless distraction to a student who may still be under the impression that the viewpoint of this article – that the traditional Biblical historicity is supported by archaeology – is true.

    • Carol

      Did you mean Joshua 6:24, not 6:20 in reference to the city being burned down?

    • Ross

      Thank you for your post “Archaeology can be Messy”.
      I do take issue over those that swear that the words in the Bible are totally accurate and “gospel” though and I think there is room for archaeology to refute some passages as there is also room for support.
      The reality is that the bible was written by many at different times and often after the time of the people in it. Along with the translations from different languages and the political control of the written word to be acceptable doctrine there must be mistakes and errors. This is supported by those that study the texts and find contradictions.
      Thousands of years later we have to find the common path between our archaeology findings and also the different versions of the Bible.

    • […] had a great time. Site #3 Jericho is off limits for most Israeli guides – there is a lot of discussion about whether the archaeology supports the Biblical […]

    • john mcdermott

      someone replied the exodus didn’t occur, what? google in search for the real mt sinai, tons of archaology

    • Paul Holmes

      The pottery evidence seems strong to me for 1400BC destruction. Check out the paper “Introduction: High and Low Chronology” by Manfred Bietak and Felix Höflmayer for an explanation of why the C14 dating is suspect. Here’s a sample:

      “For the Middle Kingdom, we have a disagreement
      within the historical chronology between
      a high and a low chronology, which are about 42
      years apart. Therefore we are not in the position to
      say if the radiocarbon dates are in agreement with
      the historical chronology or not.
      On the contrary, the recent investigation of radiocarbon
      dates from short-lived samples throughout
      the stratigraphy of Tell el-Dabca by the VERA laboratory,
      covering successive strata from the 20th to the
      15th centuries BC, show a series of time consistent
      dates with an offset between 100 and 150 years higher
      than the historical chronology when using the high
      chronology of the Middle Kingdom to cover the first
      part of this stratigraphy…”

    • Paul Holmes

      Which work discredited Wood’s work?? Piotr Bienkowski?

      Here’s a refutation of Bienkowski’s attempt to discredit:

    • Alex

      I thought radio carbon dating had placed the destruction of Jericho at 1550bc – 150 yrs too early. I wonder why this article fails to deal with this seemingly crucial point.

    • Doug

      So let’s summarize the evidence?

      Pro traditional: fallen walls, burnt city, short siege, full harvest ignored by the conquering army, sufficient pottery evidence.
      Con traditional: radiocarbon dating.

      The curious thing here is that before 1985, the radiocarbon evidence was perceived to be “pro traditional”! Kenyon had samples sent for analysis, and the result (before correction in 1985) coincided with late Bronze 1 destruction.

      So before 1985, the situation was:

      Pro traditional: fallen walls, burnt city, short siege, full harvest ignored by the conquering army, radiocarbon dating.
      Con traditional: pottery evidence.

      And on this basis, the scholarly consensus was “con traditional”: the pottery evidence trumped everything else. Strangely, now that the assignment of two bits of evidence have been swapped (as above), the scholarly consensus is *still* “con traditional”: the radiocarbon dating trumps everything else. How does that work?

    • ewangelia

      I really like your writing style, good information, thank you for posting :D. “In university they don’t tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.” by Doris Lessing.

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