THE ELEMENTS and the depredations of man have combined to make fragmentary the evidence produced by the excavations of the final stages of the history of Jericho. At just that stage when archaeology should have linked with the written record, archaeology fails us. This is regrettable. There is no question of the archaeology being needed to prove that the Bible is true, but it is needed as a help in interpretation to those older parts of the Old Testament which from the nature of their sources, as briefly mentioned in the last chapter, cannot be read as a straightforward record.
But the further back we go, the more complete is the archæological record. Since the written record for Palestine starts at such a late date, this is in fact far more important. For the period between about 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C., the time when Palestine was taking much the form which has lasted till today, Jericho provides an admirable illustration. Any other town occupied throughout this period could do much the same. The especial contribution of Jericho lies in its geographical position. It felt the first impact of new impulses coming from the east, and gives evidence of them in a pure and undiluted form. When Joshua wished to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, he said to his spies 'go view the land and Jericho', because Jericho was the entrance into central Palestine.
It is when we penetrate back into the fifth millennium and earlier that the contribution of Jericho to knowledge becomes unique. The evidence of the first five years of