walls of jericho

While excavating in and around Jericho between 1930 and 1936, Prof. John Garstang wrote, "As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls [of the city] fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city." In addition to writing this independent description of this one particular find, he also signed it and had two of his co-workers witness and sign it themselves.

Why did he feel it necessary to emphasize the authenticity of this statement to such a degree? Because the evidence from every other archeological site around the ancient cities of the Middle East always showed the walls of the cities always fell inward. Every single one except, of course, Jericho's. They all fell inward rather than out for a very simple reason: when attackers besiege a city they are typically trying to get in, not out. And yet Jericho's walls clearly fell outward.

The reason for this can be found in the biblical account of the fall of Jericho when God caused the walls to "fall down flat" allowing Joshua's army to seize the city. (Joshua 6:1-20)


March 27, 1999
Jericho - The Walls DID Come Tumbling Down!
Gary Byers

In the spring of 1997, two Italian archaeologists conducted a limited excavation on the ancient tell of Jericho. Lorenzo Nigro and Nicolo Marchetti, working under the auspices of the new Palestinian Department of Archaeology, excavated for one month on the fringes of Kathleen Kenyon’s west and south trenches. Their dig was the first foreign expedition in the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank since self-rule began in 1994.
ABR's Bryant Wood standing
beside a section of the
collapsed wall of Jericho.

walls of jericho

After their excavation, Nigro and Marchetti announced they found no evidence for a destruction from the time of Joshua. While it is too soon for the academic community to see details of their discoveries, their announcement suggests their excavation was conducted to disprove the Biblical account of Joshua’s capture of the city. Is it further possible that the Palestinian Authority supported this dig for the express purpose of denouncing any Jewish connection to the site?

As to their evidence, Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of the Associates for Biblical Research and one of the leading experts on the archaeology of Jericho, recently responded. "It matters little what the Italian archaeologists did not find in their month-long dig. The evidence is already in. Three major expeditions to the site over the past 90 years uncovered abundant evidence to support the Biblical account," he said. As Wood went on to point out, John Garstang (l 930-1936) and Kathleen Kenyon (1952-1958) both dug at Jericho for six seasons and a German excavation directed by Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger dug for three. All found abundant evidence of the city’s destruction by fire in a layer related to the Biblical date of 1400 BC.

In September 1997, Dr. Wood visited Jericho and examined the results of the Italian excavation first hand. Incredibly, he found the Italians had uncovered the stone outer revetment wall at the base of the tell with part of the mud brick wall built on top of it still intact. In the balk of the Italian excavation, at the outer base of the revetment wall, Wood noticed the remains of the collapsed mud brick city walls which had tumbled. Not only did the Italians find the same evidence uncovered in the earlier excavations, it fits the Biblical story perfectly!

"The Italian excavation actually uncovered most of the critical evidence relating to the Biblical story," said Wood. "But even more exciting is the fact that all the evidence from the earlier digs has disappeared over time. We only have records, drawing and photos. But the Italians uncovered a completely new section of the wall which we did not know still existed. I had my photograph taken standing next to the wall where the mud brick collapse had just been excavated!"

Unfortunately, the Italian archaeologists, the Palestinian Authorities, the Associated Press and most of the world doesn’t realize any of this. It is a sad commentary on the state of archaeology in the Holy Land, when the purpose of an excavation at a Biblical site is to disprove the Bible and disassociate the site with any historical Jewish connection.

But that’s why the Associates for Biblical Research is in business. Please pray our efforts. Pray for the removal of all obstacles blocking the publication of Dr. Wood’s technical study of the pottery of Jericho. Please pray for the continued field work ABR sponsors in Israel. Please pray for our daily efforts in presenting this truth to the world.


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