Biblical Archaeology Review 16:2, March/April 1990

Inside BAR

Biblical Archaeology Review

“Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,” the old spiritual proclaims, “and the walls came tumbling down.” But did he, and did they? Stirring as the words of the spiritual may be, scholars until now would have lent little credence to the accuracy of either the song or to the Biblical account that inspired it. Following the lead of Jericho’s most recent excavator, the late Dame Kathleen Kenyon, archaeologists have concluded there was little at Jericho to conquer when the Bible says Joshua conquered it. With the publication of details of Kenyon’s work, however, Bryant Wood, in “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?” reopens an archaeological case long thought to have been shut. Marshaling a host of diverse evidence—pottery types, stratigraphic data, Egyptian royal scarabs, a carbon-14 date, seismic activity in the region and, believe it or not, tumbled walls—Wood arrives at some surprising conclusions about Jericho in the late Bronze Age, the period prior to Israel’s emergence in Canaan.

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