I recently attended a conference at which Ted Wright, an archaeologist, presented information related to the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and the later conquest of the area of Canaan. Ted Wright has participated in the excavation of Jericho and Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the modern location of the city, Ai, mentioned in the Bible. One thing that Ted Wright said, which has stuck with me, is that modern archaeology continues to affirm people, places and other information contained in biblical accounts.
As an example, Ted Wright recounted the story of an archaeologist, John Garstang, who excavated Jericho in the 1930’s. Garstang concluded that the site dated to 1400 BC, consistent with the biblical account (John Garstang, “Jericho and the Biblical Story,” p. 1222.):
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.
Ted Wright observed in his talk that most of the battle in modern archaeology is not whether places, like Jericho, really existed, or the happening of events, but rather the timing of when they existed and happened. Continue reading “Timing the Walls of Jericho”