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Dame Kathleen Kenyon, who excavated Jericho in the 1950s, claimed that Jericho was destroyed in the 16th century B. A comprehensive new survey of Kenyon’s evidence at Jericho, however, has led author Bryant Wood to conclude that a walled city existed at Jericho until about 1400 B. After wandering in the Sinai desert for 40 years, the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land from opposite Jericho.
The first documented excavation was undertaken in 18 by the famous British engineer Charles Warren.
The story of the Israelite conquest of Jericho (Joshua 2-6) is one of the best known and best loved in the entire Bible.
The vivid description of faith and victory has been a source of inspiration for countless generations of Bible readers.
After his redating, Watzinger concluded that Jericho was unoccupied (and therefore obviously unfortified) during the Late Bronze period (c. City IV at Jericho – the city that all scholars agree was violently destroyed – was a fortified enclave, drawn at left.
The city’s outer defenses consisted of a stone revetment wall at the base of the tell that held in place a high, plastered rampart.
In the 1930s, British archaeologist John Garstang excavated a residential area, marked "A," just west of the perennial spring that supplied the city’s water and which now fills the modern reservoir. Kathleen Kenyon, Garstang’s successor at Jericho, excavated the area marked "B," Her conclusions dated Jericho’s destruction to about 1550 B. By the time the Israelites appeared on the scene, she argued, there was no walled city at Jericho.
(A significant portion of the tell was destroyed to make way for the modern road.) Signs of a fiery destruction and his dating of the remains led Garstang to conclude that the Israelites had indeed put the city to the torch about 1400 B. Garstang was the first investigator to use modern methods at the site, although his work was still crude by today’s standards.Garstang excavated a collapsed double city wall on the summit of the tell that he dated to the late-15th to early 14th-century B. Garstang concluded that City IV came to an end about 1400 B. E., based on pottery found in the destruction debris, on scarabs recovered from nearby tombs and on the absence of Mycenaean ware.He ascribed the destruction to invading Israelites.Based on his findings, Warren was able to provide an answer to what had been a serious question until that time: He was wrong about the castles, but he was certainly right that the mounds were ancient ruins.The first major excavation at Jericho was conducted by an Austro-German expedition under the direction of Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger from 1907 to 1909 and again in 1911.A Neolithic settlement at the site goes back to about 8000 B. E.,* thus giving Jericho the distinction of being the world’s oldest city.