Archive for June, 2017

I have argued in the past that MB1 (or EB4) Jericho and the northern Transjordan pottery represents the pottery of the Israelites at the time of the Conquest.  Here are some quotes from leading archaeologists:

“Though the practice of single burials is so characteristic, the burial customs in other respects show many variations, and these variations are probably to be explained as evidence of a TRIBAL organisation, each group maintaining its own burial customs.” (Kenyon, 137.)

“[T]he most satisfactory explanation seems to be that the difference in burial customs is due to a TRIBAL organization.” (Kenyon, 141.)

“The concentrated cemeteries may represent tribal burial grounds….The very noticeable differences between the possessions and burial practices of all the groups described shows that though there were broad similarities there was no uniform culture in any way comparable with that of the preceding and succeeding periods, and that the groups remained separated and TRIBAL in organization.” (Kenyon, 158.)

The following are the tribes that Kenyon was able to discern:

  • Dagger-type
  • Pottery-type
  • Square
  • Shaft-type
  • Outsize-type
  • Bead-type

William Dever’s archaeological investigations of this period have increased the number of discernible tribes to seven. “Following repeated typological analyses, Dever proposed a regional subdivision of the pottery distributions on both sides of the Jordan River into SEVEN groups….” (Ben-Tor, article by Ram Gophna, 144.)

The latest Italian excavators at Jericho have brought the number of different ethnic or social groups (i.e. tribes) up to 13.  Recall that there were 12 tribes of Israel.  The Joseph tribe is usually divided into half-tribes, making the total number of tribes 13.  Three of the tribes settled in the northern Transjordan prior to the Conquest, and all of the tribes settled in distinct geographic regions:

“Actually, one wonders if further exploration of the necropolis may add new groups, as it seems to be the case judging from some tomb assemblages from Jericho studied in recent years.  For instance, Gaetano Palumbo identified at least 13 TOMB GROUPS, comparing burials, sex, social status and tomb fittings.  He isolated the indicators of a stratified society, as well as the coexistence of different “ethnic” (I would prefer “social”) groups….”  (Nigro, L, “Tel es-Sultan in the Early Bronze Age IV (2300-2000 BC).  Settlement vs Necropolis – A Stratigraphic Periodization”, in Contributi e Materiali de Archeologia Orientale IX, 2003, p. 136; emphasis added.)

“This scholar [Palumbo] also proposed the identification of some NEW CERAMIC FAMILIES in Transjordan, highlighting the strong regionalism of the EBIV culture….”  (Nigro, L, CMAO IX, 2003, footnote 83, p. 136; emphasis added.)