Biblical Archaeology Review 16:5, September/October 1990
Battle Over Jericho Heats Up

Jericho Was Destroyed in the Middle Bronze Age, Not the Late Bronze Age

By Piotr Bienkowski

In “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence,” BAR 16:02, Bryant Wood argued that the destruction level at Jericho (John Garstang’s City IV), previously dated by Kathleen Kenyon to the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1550 B.C.), should be dated to the end of Late Bronze I (c. 1400 B.C.). He pursues this argument in an attempt to show that this destruction was the one inflicted by the Israelites, as recorded in Joshua 6 and Judges 3.

Each of Wood’s arguments is flawed: At each point he is either wrong, does not take account of previously published data or his argument is simply irrelevant.

Introducing his topic, Wood says that Kenyon based her dating of Jericho City IV to the Middle Bronze Age on the absence of Cypriote imports of Late Bronze I. Wood states that imported Cypriote pottery in Palestine has been found primarily in tombs in large urban centers and thus we should not expect to find any at Jericho, a relatively marginal site. However, Cypriote imports were found at Jericho, both in tombs and on the tell, dating to Late Bronze II.1 Absence of Late Bronze I Cypriote imports may thus be significant, and Wood’s criticism of Kenyon is misplaced.

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