Is there evidence of the Conquest at Jericho?
The following article is abstracted from Dr. Aardsma's book A New Approach to the Chronology of Biblical History from Abraham to Samuel. Full details and references can be found there.
The Battle at Jericho
Joshua 6:20,21 records (NASB):
So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and it came about, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
Dr. Aardsma's chronology places the Conquest ca. 2400 B.C. The Bible clearly states the walls of Jericho fell down and the city was destroyed by Joshua and his men. Was a walled city destroyed at Jericho ca. 2400 B.C. according to archaeology?
An Overview of Jericho's History
The figure below shows the stages of occupation at Jericho in the second and third millennia B.C. as revealed by archaeology. The dashed line represents a period of time in which Jericho was a campsite, the solid lines represent times in which Jericho was an unwalled town, and the rectangles represent times in which Jericho was a walled city. The letters A and B mark the conventional (early and late) dates for Joshua's conquest of Canaan, and C marks the date of the Conquest according to Dr. Aardsma's chronology.
It is clear from the figure above that there were no walls at Jericho to be knocked down at A, the time traditional biblical chronology expects the Conquest to have occurred. However, at Dr. Aardsma's new biblical chronology date of ca. 2400 B.C. (C in the figure above), a walled city at Jericho was destroyed.
Was it burned?
Joshua 6:24 says: "And they burned the city with fire, and all that was in it..." (NASB). Does the destruction layer at Jericho at ca. 2400 B.C. show evidence of burning? Here's what the archaeologists found:
The wall was destroyed by fire, the brick being burnt to a red color from one side of the wall to the other. Outside the wall there were layers of ash from the wood that had been piled up against the wall, and inside the layers of burning show that the attack succeeded in setting fire to the town inside.
The archaeological evidence from Jericho supports the Bible's account of the Conquest at Jericho when one uses Dr. Aardsma's biblical chronology date for the Conquest.
The foregoing article was abstracted from Dr. Aardsma's book A New Approach to the Chronology of Biblical History from Abraham to Samuel. Full details and references can be found there.