Daily Archives: March 11, 2009


Einstein. That all we have to say. When it comes to the archaeology of Palestine the name Kenyon needs no supporting terms. Professor Magen Broshi, an archaeologist and historian, and the former curator of the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, wrote a review of Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Digging up the Holy Land, by Miriam C. Davis.

Here are a few interesting statements by Broshi:

She was, however, one of the most important archaeologists ever to dig in the Land of Israel.

That is not a negligible achievement, because more archaeological work has been done in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, in other words in the State of Israel and the territories, than anywhere else in the world. There is no other country that has been so thoroughly researched, and the number of digs and surveys carried out here is incomparably greater than what has been done in far larger countries. Kenyon is not only one of the most important archaeologists to have worked here (and they number over 1,000), she is also the leading female archaeologist to have worked anywhere (along with the prehistorian Dorothy Garrod).

Kenyon dug at Samaria, Jericho, and Jerusalem. Broshi concludes,

The figure of Kenyon as portrayed in the book is a model of diligence and dedication. The book is based on thorough research, including written and oral testimony. It is well-written and the story is appealing. In my opinion it deserves high praise.

The complete review may be read on the Haaretz web site.

There are several articles on the Associates for Biblical Research web page about the excavations at Jericho. This one by Bryant G. Wood on “The Walls of Jericho” is a non-technical article that is helpful. Wood wrote a doctoral dissertation evaluating the evidence at Jericho. He discovered some oversights in Kenyon’s conclusions. Notice one of the concluding paragraphs of the popular article.

Jericho was once thought to be a “Bible problem” because of the seeming disagreement between archaeology and the Bible. When the archaeology is correctly interpreted, however, the opposite is the case. The archaeological evidence supports the historical accuracy of the Biblical account in every detail. Every aspect of the story that could possibly be verified by the findings of archaeology is, in fact, verified.

Both Garstang (excavated Jericho between 1930 and 1936) and Kenyon (excavated Jericho between 1952 and 1958) found evidence of pottery jars full of grain in destruction levels. Even with the constant deterioration of the exposed evidence, we still see fragments of jars in the side of the balk.

Pottery in the side of a trench at Jericho. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pottery in the side of a trench at Jericho. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wood argues that “this is a unique find in the annals of archaeology.” He says,

Grain was valuable, not only as a source of food, but also as a commodity which could be bartered. Under normal circumstances, valuables such as grain would have been plundered by the conquerors. Why was the grain left to be burned at Jericho?

The Bible says,

The city and all that is in it must be set apart for the LORD, except for Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house, because she hid the spies we sent. But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for the LORD. If you take any of it, you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the LORD. They must go into the LORD’s treasury.” (Joshua 6:17-19 NET)

But they burned the city and all that was in it, except for the silver, gold, and bronze and iron items they put in the treasury of the LORD’s house. (Joshua 6:24 NET)

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

After completing my comments, I see that Todd Bolen has commented on the review of the Kenyon biography here.