Are the archaeological claims that Jericho had been abandoned long before Joshua arrived true?
Jericho has at least twenty successive layers of civilization spanning thousands of years. It was settled, resettled and resettled. The central issue is not whether it was occupied or abandoned, but when. Traditional chronology places Joshua's leadership in 1272 to 1244 BCE, not 1400 BCE. Many people are unaware that secular sources and academic scholars often disagree concerning ancient dates by centuries, just as evolutionary scientists often disagree on dating by several orders of magnitude. Thus, those who choose to believe in the account of Joshua need not be worried by doubts.
Another answer from our community:Some believe it is not
true. It is noteworthy in the case of Jericho, unlike some other
sites such as Arad and Heshbon, that there is unanymity regarding
the site in question. Thus, if the Biblical account were true, it
should be able to be demonstrated from details uncovered. This is
of course assuming that evidence has not been obliterated or
detroyed by later settlement, as can happen.
In order to answer this question it would first be necessary to
detail the actual evidence that might be expected to be found were
the Biblical account to be true. This is not to say that this would
necessarily be found but that if found, as part of a correctly
understood chronology of the site, it would add credence to the
Biblical record. Woods found a layer of ash 3-foot deep over his
entire excavated area. This appears to be clear evidence of
largescale destruction by fire. Large stores of spring harvested
wheat that were barely touched were also discovered. The city seems
to have fallen after a very brief siege, whereas a walled city
would usually have been expected to hold out until starvation. The
account in the Book of Joshua matches all the evidence. The fact
that Jericho was conquered in the spring (deduced from the spring
wheat) also correlates to the biblical account that it was right
after Passover, the spring holiday.
Dr. Lawrence Stager, the respected professor of Archaeology in
Israel from Harvard University said this about Woods' work at
Jericho: "On the whole the archaeological assessment is not
unreasonable. There is evidence of destruction and the date isn't
too far wrong."
In addition to the excavations by Bryant Wood, earlier
excavations by John Garstang and Kathleen Kenyon, as well as an
earlier excavation by a German team established that all of the
expected evidence was found.
Another reason is that Kenyon dismissed the investigations of
John Garstang, even though he found pottery to date his findings
and dated the walls which fell as being from an earlier time. In
addition to this, she referred to the time of the construction of
the walls but not necessarily to the time of their destruction. It
is known that some ancient walls remained in use for centuries,
Jerusalem being a good example of this.
Basing on a newer find of Modern day Archaeologist Kathleen
Kenyan and concurred by other Archaeologists, yes it's true that
the alleged Joshua's conquest of Jericho did not happen as written
in the Bible, because Jericho was completely deserted during
Yes it is true. Jericho had been occupied and abandoned several
times in its long history, but there was no city there at the time
of the supposed conquest of Canaan in 1400 BCE. Israel Finkelstein
and Neil Asher Silberman (The Bible Unearthed) say that
Jericho, Ai, Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim did not
exist at the time.
Professor Isserlin, Head of Department of Semitic Studies and
Reader in Semitic Studies at the University of Leeds, and author of
The Israelites, says that Jericho had fallen c 1550BCE and
afterwards there was only a very limited and impoverished
settlement, apparently unwalled, between 1425 and 1275, then
Palestine was under Egyptian rule until the middle of the 12th
century BCE and Egyptian administrative centres were located in
Gaza, Yaffo and Beit She'an. Evidence of Egyptian presence
has also been discovered in many locations on both sides of the
Jordan River. That this is not mentioned in the biblical account
makes it clear that it was unknown to its author.