Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

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.)

Book Reviews, Down Updated review.  Also, See Book Reviews.

BookReview, Long Updated Review of James D. Long, Riddle of the Exodus:


Posted: December 21, 2009 in Archaeology, Politics

Steve McIntyre is in the news recently for having undermined the “hockey-stick” graph that supposedly showed a spike in temperatures in the 20th century.  His site is here:

I debated with McIntyre on the archaeology of Shechem a few years ago on the David Rohl New Chronology List.

He was a tough critic and I think I did well in my discussion with him.  It actually gave me the confidence to write many more essays on archaeology from the New Courville perspective.

McIntyre caused a real headache for Rohl’s interpretation of the archaeology of the Amarna age vis-a-vis the Middle Assyrian kings.  (See below.)

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that McIntyre is now giving headaches to the global warming crowd.  You can’t fudge data with McIntyre.  He may or may not be right in his conclusions, but he won’t let you get away with hiding or manipulating or over-interpreting your data.

For the advancement of knowledge, you need imaginative risk-taking people to drive the wagon of new theories, but you also need people like McIntyre to grab the reins of the horses before the wagon goes over the cliff.

From my essay “Alternative Chronologies”: 


I don’t plan on spending a lot of time on this.  Steve McIntyre is to be credited for showing that Rohl has made a major mistake in his chronology on this issue.  Basically, Rohl placed Shalmaneser 1, a Middle Assyrian king, before the Amarna period in Egypt.  McIntyre has shown, convincingly, that the mA1 kings are located in strata that are at least in part on top of Amarna strata, thus showing the mA1 kings were later or overlapped in time than the Amarna pharaohs, thus disproving a major contention of Rohl’s theory.   Anyone who wants to follow up on this can do so by going to the “New Chronology” Yahoo list and simply typing in the name “McIntyre” and you should (hopefully) call up most of the emails pointing to this problem in Rohl’s chronology.



Quick Freeze

Posted: December 1, 2009 in Archaeology, Genesis Flood

Evidence that “Ice Age” phenomena can develop quickly, in a matter of months….


Purist libertarians are constantly barking at Abraham Lincoln, who was so evil as to liberate millions of people from slavery.  Now, they’re after biblical Joseph, whose great crime was in saving Egypt and the rest of the world from starvation and miserable death.  See:

It’s true that Joseph oversaw the process that saw the Egyptians giving up most of their money, personal property, and real property, as well as their service, to the king of Egypt, plus paying an excise of one-fifth of the produce from all Egypt.

But surely if the purist libertarians weren’t so caught up in fantasies of stateless, taxless, libertarian utopias, they’d see that the Egyptians had only two choices, either pay up or starve — a good example of the importance of subjective-marginal utility in making economic decisions.

In our opinion, Joseph served under 5th dynasty king Unas.  The following is from our essay, “Egyptian Chronology 3”:


As noted before, if Courville is right that MB1 represents the Exodus & Conquest, and the end of MB2c represents the destruction of Shechem by Abimelech in the late Judges period, we should expect to see Deborah somewhere in the middle of these two periods.  Sure enough, we read in the Mari letters of the MB2b period mention of one Jabin, king of Hazor.  Therefore, on the other side of MB1, we should expect to see evidence of a famine a couple hundred years or so before MB1, a famine that took place in the late Old Kingdom of Egypt.  And of course, this is what we find.  A famine is recorded in the reign of the last 5th dynasty king, Unas. “[O]ne of the most curious, and at the same time, absolutely unique representations, is that of some wretched, famine-stricken men and women.  The curious scene, which was found in a trial sondage over the lower…part of the causeway [of Unas], is puzzling.  The persons represented seem to be foreigners, but nothing remains to afford us a clue as to their identity or the cause of their wretched plight.  Most of the figures are nude, but a few wear narrow girdles, and they are most arranged in groups; they are emaciated in the extreme.” (Nicholas Reeves, Ancient Egypt: The Great Discoveries, quoting Selim Hassan, p. 187; see also, Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs, p. 87; Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, p. 63; and Cambridge Ancient History 1:2, p. 189; emphasis added.)

If then we take this as our starting point for unraveling the chronology of the pre-MB1 period, we should then correlate this to Joseph and work out who the pharaohs of the Oppression and Exodus could be.  Joseph was 30 when he obtained ruler-ship in Egypt, and he was 110 at the time of his death, and thus ruled in Egypt for 80 years.  Moses was born 64 years later, and led the Israelites out of Egypt 80 years after that, and died after about 40 years in the wilderness, at the beginning of the Conquest of Canaan.  If we match up Joseph as one of Unas’s viziers, or vizier-like official, it is likely that Joseph came to his position after Unas had been on the throne for about three or four years, and thus Unas would have died shortly after the death of Jacob.  The following is a chart to express the possible relations between the biblical patriarchs and the Egyptian kings:

King Manetho Bible Age Event
1.  Unas 33 yrs Joseph 30 famine of Joseph’s time
2.  Teti 30 yrs   59  
3.  Pepi 1 53 yrs   110 21st yr of Pepi 1
4.  Merenre 7 yrs      
5.  Pepi 2 99 Moses 1 Oppression begins; 42nd year of Pepi 2
6.  Pepi 2   Moses 40 flees Egypt, 82nd of Pepi 2
7.  Pepi 2       Pepi 2 dies 17 yrs later.
8.  Merenre-Anty. 1 yr Moses 57  
9.  Nitokerty (Nitocris) 12 Moses 69 foster-mother of Moses
10.  Neferka [1?] Moses 70  
11.  Nufe 2 yrs Moses 72  
12.  Ibi 4 yrs Moses 76  
13.  lost 2 yrs Moses 79  
14.  lost 1 yr Moses 80  
15.  Achthoes 1st yr Moses 81 The Exodus begins.


Shoshenq I

Posted: August 23, 2009 in Archaeology

The “Centuries of Darkness” group has an interesting comment in their “Recent Developments” section:

“March 2009. A fascinating article has been published by Dr Rupert Chapman (British Museum), entitled “Putting Shoshenq I in His Place” in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly 141:1 (2009), pp. 4-17. Chapman presents a fresh analysis of a question that has intrigued archaeologists since 1926, when a fragment of a victory-stlea of Shoshenq I (founder of the Egyptian 22nd Dynasty) was found at the site of ancient Megiddo in Israel – it was found in the ‘dump’ from earlier excavations, but which stratum did it originally belong to? While reattributing such a find a century after it was discovered is fraught with difficulty, Chapman deduces that it was orginally set up in Stratum V, which by cross-dating with his work on the pottery of Samaria must have been a 9th-century BC level. He concludes: “On the basis of the purely stratigraphic argument set out above, it becomes clear that Sheshonq I and his expedition should also be dated to the 9th century BC.” Chapman’s paper is the first study (outside Centuries of Darkness) to argue from archaeological grounds that the conventional dating of Shoshenq I to the late 10th century BC is incorrect (see FAQ # 6 and #7).”

In terms of the New Courville perspective, the range of Megiddo level 5 is from 879 B.C. to 783 B.C. (i.e., 9th century to beginning of 8th century).  The stratum is Iron Age 2a.  In terms of our reconstruction, IA2a would be from Omri to Uzziah’s Earthquake, which covers the 9th century at the least.  (See our Iron Age 2 chart.)

Thus Chapman’s theory is consistent with New Courville’s placement in the archaeological record of Shoshenq 1 in relation to the biblical data.