Jericho carbon dating


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Excavations at Jericho V. British School of Archaeology at Jerusalem, , However, it was discovered years later that the result of this sample testing was incorrect, and was later reissued on a list of erroneous dates due to a problem with equipment calibration at the laboratory for the years Radiocarbon results of short-lived cereal and multiyear charcoal samples from the end of the Middle Bronze Age. This sample gave results surrounding the date of destruction advocated by Kathleen Kenyon ca. In , the current Italian excavation team under Lorenzo Nigro tested two samples that were excavated from a building appearing to contain debris from the final destruction of the Bronze Age city that had washed down to the bottom of the tell.

Quaderni di Gerico 2, , , , The first of these dates fits roughly around the proposed BC destruction, while the other is closer to the proposed BC destruction. Yet, again these dates are so broad that they are useless in contributing to solving the problem for the date of destruction. Overall, the C dates from the destruction of the Bronze Age city of Jericho range from as high as BC to as low as BC—a range of over years. The archaeological dispute is only divided by about years. It is known that there are serious problems in relating C dates in ancient Israel to the established ceramic, epigraphic, and historical chronologies Levy, T.

E and Higham, T.

Is Bryant Wood's chronology of Jericho valid?

Radiocarbon dating and the Iron Age of the Southern Levant: Archaeology, Text and Science. This is why dating by means of ceramic typology pottery is still the primary and most trusted method in the archaeology of this region in the ancient periods. It is hardly likely that all of this activity could have transpired in the approximately years of the Middle Bronze III period. Scarabs are small Egyptian amulets shaped like a beetle with an inscription sometimes the name of a pharaoh on the bottom.

In his excavation of the cemetery northwest of the city, Garstang recovered a continuous series of Egyptian scarabs extending from the 18th century B.

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The continuous nature of the scarab series suggests that the cemetery was in active use up to the end of the Late Bronze I period. Three scarabs and a seal recovered from a cemetery northwest of Jericho. A scarab is a small, beetle-shaped Egyptian amulet, inscribed on its underside, often with the name of a pharaoh.

Shown clockwise from upper left are scarabs bearing the names of Tuthmosis III c.

The cemetery outside Jericho has yielded a continuous series of Egyptian scarabs from the 18th through the earlyth centuries B. Finally, one Carbon sample was taken from a piece of charcoal found in the destruction debris of the final Bronze Age city. It was dated to B. See comments section below for an update on this C data ].

All this evidence converges to demonstrate that City IV was destroyed in about B. If the Hyksos did not destroy Jericho and the Egyptians did not destroy Jericho, then who did? The only written record to survive concerning the history of Jericho in the Late Bronze Age is that found in the Hebrew Bible. When we compare the archaeological evidence at Jericho with the Biblical narrative describing the Israelite destruction of Jericho, we find a quite remarkable agreement. First, a few words about the Israelite crossing of the Jordan River.

The Bible describes the crossing of the Jordan River in vivid and very explicit language: The Jordan was apparently blocked at Adam, modern Damiya, some 18 miles upstream from the fords opposite Jericho.

Q&A – Bryant Wood and the Problem of Jericho. | James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

How could this happen? Historians and Bible scholars have focused on the "miraculous" nature of the event, with little regard for the seismology of the southern Jordan Valley. In fact, the blocking of the Jordan has happened a number of times in recent recorded history. Jericho is located in the Rift Valley, an unstable region where earthquakes are frequent.

Geophysicist Amos Nur of Stanford University has studied the well-documented earthquakes of this area in an effort to find ways to predict them. He has noted several earthquakes that caused phenomena quite similar to what is described in the Book of Joshua: He writes that a large mound on the west side of the Jordan at Damiya fell into the river damming it up. No water flowed south from Damiya for 16 hours. In the quake, a section of a cliff feet high collapsed into the Jordan near the ford at Damiya, blocking the river for some 21 hours.

Jericho is most famous, of course, as the city where the walls came tumbling down.

Dating Jericho's Destruction: Bienkowski is Wrong on All Counts

As we have seen, according to Kenyon, there was no city here during the Late Bronze Age and therefore there was no city wall at that time to come tumbling down. This is what Garstang maintained all along. If this view is correct, then there was a strongly fortified city at Jericho at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age. Kenyon herself determined that City IV had an impressive fortification system.

Carbon-14 Dates at Jericho and the Destruction Date

This fortification system consisted first of all of a stone revetment wall some 15 feet high at the base of the mound. At the northern end of the site, all three archaeological expeditions to Jericho found remnants of a mudbrick parapet wall on top of the revetment wall see section drawing opposite, middle. At one point, it was preserved to a height of about 8 feet.

The revetment wall held in place a massive packed-earth embankment or rampart with a plastered face that extended to the top of the tell. Atop this earthen embankment was yet another city wall, as determined from an earlier phase of the defensive system that survived at only one point on the tell. Accordingly, the upper wall that surrounded City IV when it was finally destroyed does not survive today.

The lower revetment wall and most of the embankment, however, still exist and can be seen at the site. Despite the fact that the area where the upper wall once stood is gone, there is evidence, incredible as it may seem, that this wall came tumbling down and, in the words of the Biblical account in Joshua, "fell down flat" Joshua 6: In all three cuts, she carried her excavation to the lower revetment wall; in the west cut, however, she went even beyond the revetment wall to the area outside the wall.

What Kenyon found outside the revetment wall in the west cut was quite astounding. There, outside the revetment wall, she found bricks from the city wall above that had collapsed. I will let her describe it in her own words you can follow this more easily while looking at the stratigraphic section: Over what she described as "the main collapse," she found a gravelly wash from later erosion. The red mudbricks came tumbling down, falling over the outer revetment wall at the base of the tell. There the red mudbricks came to rest in a heap. Here is impressive evidence that the walls of Jericho did indeed topple, as the Bible records.

A slice of Jericho. A section drawing prepared by Kathleen Kenyon, describes what she found in a trench cut through the western defenses of the city. It pictures the excavated materials as if a vertical slice had been cut — as in fact it was by her trench — through the revetment wall at the base of the tell and through the high earthen embankment that rose to the top of the tell.

The foot-high stone revetment wall at the base of the tell black was buried under later remains. In the Kenyon section, a plaster-covered earthen rampart sloped upwards to the right in this view to the top of the tell behind the revetment wall. The wall that surrounded the city once stood atop this earthen embankment off the right side of the drawing. Although Kenyon found the revetment wall and the earthen rampart, she did not find the city wall itself on top of the tell.

But, astoundingly, a heap of fallen red bricks colored bright red lay outside the revetment wall. These red bricks almost certainly came from the city wall on top of the tell or from a mudbrick parapet wall atop the revetment wall, or both, as Kenyon recognized. The outer face of this wall is shown in the photo below. All three excavations at Jericho found evidence — at different points around the tell — of a mudbrick parapet wall atop the stone revetment wall. When the wall was deposited in this fashion at the base of the tell, the collapsed mudbricks themselves formed a ready ramp for an attacker to surmount the revetment wall.

Note that the Bible states that they went up into the city. The collapse of the city wall may well have been the result of an earthquake, since there is ample evidence for earthquake activity at the end of the life of City IV. Now let us turn to the remains of the city itself. We know her house had a roof exposed to the elements because she hid the spies under some flax that was drying there Joshua 2: It was also built against the city wall, thus facilitating the escape of the spies: Sellin and Watzinger found a number of domestic structures from the final phase of City IV on the north side of the tell.

It is possible that Rahab lived in just such a house. If so, it would have been within the city wall, i. It could also have abutted the revetment wall, with a window through the parapet wall overlooking the stone revetment below. The houses built on the rampart appear to have comprised the poor quarter of the city because they were constructed of thin walls only one brick in width.

Remnants of the final phase of City IV were also found on the southeast slope, just above the spring, by both Garstang and Kenyon. What Garstang and Kenyon found here is most revealing.


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The results reveal that City IV was massively destroyed in a violent conflagration 51 that left a layer of destruction debris a yard or more thick across the entire excavation area. The last observation in this quotation suggests that an earthquake preceded the conflagration.


  1. Carbon Dates at Jericho and the Destruction Date | APXAIOC.
  2. Carbon 14 Dating at Jericho;
  3. Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence.
  4. This description may be compared with the Biblical account. According to the Bible, after the Israelites gained access to the city, they "burned the city with fire and all that was therein" Joshua 6: In short, after the collapse of the walls — perhaps by earthquake — the city was put to the torch. The most abundant item found in the destruction, apart from pottery, was grain. As noted above, both Garstang and Kenyon found large quantities of grain stored in the ground-floor rooms of the houses.

    Perhaps a jar or two might be found, but to find such an extensive amount of grain is exceptional. What conclusions can we draw from this unusual circumstance? Grain was a very valuable commodity in antiquity. The amount stored after harvest provided food until the next harvest. Grain was so valuable, in fact, that it was used as a medium of exchange. The presence of these grain stores in the destroyed city is entirely consistent with the Biblical account. The city did not fall as a result of a starvation siege, as was so common in ancient times. Instead, the Bible tells us, Jericho was destroyed after but seven days Joshua 6: Successful attackers normally plundered valuable grain once they captured a city.

    This of course would be inconsistent with the grain found here.

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