Recent Excavations of Jericho
Lorenzo Nigro, co-director of the recent excavations of ancient Jericho (Tell es-Sultan), has posted on the ASOR Blog a summary of discoveries since work began in 1997. You’ll want to read it all to learn about the Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Ages, but I would note the brief paragraph relevant to the Bible.
The Middle Bronze III city was the object of a violent military destruction, which reduced the role of the site and left a heap of ruins in the place of the city, definitely marking Jericho as an emblematic ruin in collective imaginary.
The excavators are following Kathleen Kenyon’s conclusion that the conquest of Jericho was a myth that the Israelites invented because they saw a destroyed city. Bryant Wood has argued persuasively that the city was not destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1550 BC) but instead at the end of Late Bronze I (circa 1400 BC), the same time when the Bible describes the Israelite attack.
The article includes a series of photos. The one below was taken during my travels earlier this month.
Southern end of Jericho with Middle Bronze revetment wall