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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Israel, Conquests and Archaeology

Archaeology is one of the newer sciences, and can be tricky. It has been used to study all sorts of ancient and not-so-ancient civilizations. Only a few years ago, archaeologists were able to find what is probably George Washington's boyhood home. Imagine the added difficulties going back thousands instead of hundreds of years. Like other sciences, it has needed to develop techniques. Also like other sciences, archaeology can be less useful when it is approached with negative biases. Such was the case of studying Joshua and the Israelites' Conquest of Canaan.

The Taking of Jericho, J.J.J. Tissot
Although archaeological finds have never disproved the Bible, people have fallaciously argued from silence against it. That is, if something was not found to verify the biblical account, then the event did not happen. Add to that some misinterpretations of information, biases that "we won't find it anyway", and the conquest of Canaan was disputed. Better technology and a desire to actually search instead of making assumptions has changed the situation. Although we knew it all the time, God's Word has been verified — again.
Archaeological research in the Holy Land began in earnest in the 1800s, driven by a keen interest in the history of Bible lands. Joshua’s Conquest of Canaan soon became an important focus. Unfortunately, two developments eventually led most scholars to deny that the Conquest ever happened.

At first the digs were promising. One of the first cities excavated in Israel was Jericho, the first stop in Joshua’s campaign of conquest in the Promised Land. A group of German scholars did the first excavations at Jericho in the early 1900s. In the 1930s, British archaeologist John Garstang started new excavations at Jericho, finding local Canaanite pottery from Joshua’s time and evidence for massive destruction by a fierce fire, including ash deposits up to 3 feet (1 m) thick. The evidence was consistent with an Israelite attack on the city around 1400 BC, the biblical date for the Conquest
You can dig up the rest of this article at "Archaeology’s Lost Conquest".