We Hear You -- By: Editors
BSpade 29:1 (Winter 2016) p. 2
We Hear You
Questions About Jericho
Hello Dr. Wood, I have read your articles concerning the excavation of Jericho on biblearchaeology.org and I really like your research. I want to use your work in sharing the historical evidence for the Bible. I have several questions however. It says in 1 Kings 16:34 that “In [Ahab’s] days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.” Does the fact that Jericho was rebuilt take away from the archaeological evidence? Was the new Jericho built on top of the old Jericho so that the evidence for the old city remained intact? Any explanation of this would be greatly appreciated.
Was there any metal found in the excavation of Jericho? I know you looked mostly at the pottery, but was there a distinct lack of metal that is unusual for the area since the Israelites looted the precious metals? Lastly, do you know if this is significantly less than the surrounding cities that were excavated? Since if the Israelites took all the precious metals, then there should be significantly less precious metals in Jericho.
A Response From ABR Director Of Research, Dr. Bryant Wood:
Thank you for your letter. In the excavations of Jericho, extensive remains from the seventh century BC, about 200 years after Ahab, were found on the top of the mound, and this most likely destroyed some of the remains from the time of Joshua. A fairly large area from the time of Joshua, however, was preserved on the southeast slope of the tell.
The German excavation (1907–1909, 1911) reported six small pieces of bronze found on the tell, and Kenyon (1952–1958) registered 29 small pieces of bronze from the Middle Bronze-Late Bronze I periods of the tell. Garstang (1930–1936) and the recent Italian excavation (1997–2010) did not report any metal finds.
In general, very few metal objects are found in excavations. There are two reasons for this. First, most metals decompose over time, particularly in damp conditions. Secondly, metal was valuable and continually recycled. It is not like pottery which, when broken, is discarded. Whether there was less or more at Jericho than other sites I cannot say. You would have to do a comparative analysis with other sites of the same time period.
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