Archaeologist, Kathleen Kenyon’s 1950’s excavation offers some of the best information on the Walls of Jericho archaeology site (seen on Israel tours). After her work was released to the general public in the 1980’s, Bryant Wood wrote a fascinating article titled “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? – A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence” in 1990. Here are 3 of the main “walls of Jericho” archaeology finds that support the Biblical account.
In Kenyon’s excavation, she uncovered a pile of red mudbrick. She said they “probably came from the wall on the summit of the bank” (Kenyon 1981, 110; as quoted in Wood 1990, 54). Her professional opinion was that a wall had “collapsed,” judging by the way the bricks appeared. Sound familiar? In Joshua 6:20 the Bible says,”When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed.” Professor Wood estimates, based on a cross-section of the site, that the wall was 6 1/2 feet wide and 12 feet tall (1990, 54).
Significant Fire Damage:
After the walls fell, the book of Joshua tells us in chapter 6 verse 24 that “they burned the whole city and everything in it.” Kenyon’s dig notes indicated that the walls of the structures were “blackened or reddened by fire,” and that in “most of the rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt” (Kenyon 1981, 370; as quoted in Wood 1990, 56). This is another example of how Jericho’s archaeology lines up with scripture.
Safe Escape in “Poor” Area:
A prostitute named Rahab who lived in Jericho helped Israeli spies sent to survey the city. In return, she and her family were to be spared. After the walls fell, the Bible states in Joshua 6:23 that “the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.” Interestingly, there was one section of the wall that was identified in the excavation where this escape could have taken place. A few houses were discovered right on the inside of the wall that could have actually abutted the wall, creating an easy access escape route (Wood 1990, 56). Even more intriguing is that the abutted houses were located in the portion of the city that was determined to be the lower class or poor area. Because Rahab was a prostitute, it is likely she lived in this area.
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- Kenyon, Kathleen. 1981. Excavations at Jericho, Vol. 3: The Architecture and Stratigraphy of the Tell. Thomas A. Holland, ed. London, England: British School of Archaeology.
- Wood, Bryant G. 1990. Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?—A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence. Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April.