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Bryant Wood

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Bryant G. Wood is a Biblical archaeologist and Research Director of the Associates for Biblical Research. He is internationally known for his 1990 extensive research on the stratigraphy and pottery associated with the destruction of late Bronze Age Jericho that led him to the conclusion that the date the city fell was in close agreement with the Biblical date in the latter half of the 15th century BC, a date which was also in agreement with the earlier archaeological findings of John Garstang. Recent developments in the radiocarbon dating dispute offer additional support of the Biblical date and against the date of 1550 BC conjectured by Kathleen Kenyon.


Bryant Wood attended Syracuse University on an athletic scholarship, graduating with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he worked for the General Electric Company in Schenectady NY. While with G.E., Wood held various positions at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory related to the design, fabrication and testing of nuclear reactors, and earned a M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY. His employment with G.E. was interrupted by a two-year term of service as a lieutenant in the Army Security Agency.

In 1973 Wood left G.E. to pursue Biblical and archaeological studies, earning an M.A. degree in Biblical History from the University of Michigan in 1974 and a Ph.D. degree in Syro-Palestinian archaeology from the University of Toronto in 1985. In 1989–90, Dr. Wood was visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. He is currently Director of research with the Associates for Biblical Research, Akron PA, and editor of their quarterly publication Bible and Spade. In addition, he has served as adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA; Evangelical School of Theology, Myerstown PA; Faith Theological Seminary, Los Angeles; Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA; Messiah College, Grantham PA; Ontario Theological Seminary, Toronto; and Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto.

Dr. Wood’s extensive archaeological field work includes serving as co-director of a survey of three reservoir areas in northern Jordan, 1978; area supervisor for the Wadi Tumilat Project excavation at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt, 1979, 1981, and 1983; volunteer at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev excavation at Haruvit in the northern Sinai, 1981; member of the Wadi Tumilat Project survey of the Wadi Tumilat, Egypt, 1983; field archaeologist for the Associates for Biblical Research excavation at Khirbet Nisya, Israel, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994; and Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation, Israel, 1995–present.

Wood is a specialist in Canaanite pottery of the Late Bronze Age. He is author of The Sociology of Pottery in Ancient Palestine: The Ceramic Industry and the Diffusion of Ceramic Style in the Bronze and Iron Ages (1990), as well as numerous articles on archaeological subjects published in various academic journals. He is listed in Who’s Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology, 1993; Who’s Who in the East, 1995–1996; Who’s Who in the World, 1996; International Who’s Who of Professionals, 1999; Strathmore’s Who’s Who, 2002–2003 and 2000 Outstanding Academics of the 21st Century. He is a member of the Near East Archaeological Society and a Fellow of the Institute for Biblical Research. Bryant Wood and his wife Faith reside in Manheim PA. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

Khirbet el-Maqatir

Wood disagreed with Albright's identification of et-Tell as the Biblical Ai that was burned by Joshua, favoring instead the site with the modern name Khirbet el-Maqatir one km to the west. The et-Tell site was not occupied during the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze ages, whereas Khirbet el-Maqatir yielded pottery from the Middle Bronze, Late Bronze I, and Iron Age I periods. A significant find here was the ruins of a Late Bronze fortress. Wood's publication of results came to the preliminary conclusion "that the LB I fortress meets the Biblical requirements to be tentatively identified as the fortress 'Ai, referred to in Josh. 7-8."[1] Wood has received preliminary authorizations to resume excavations at the site in the summer of 2009. Wood's colleague David Livingston has suggested nearby Khirbet Nisya as another possibility for Ai.

Debate over date of the fall of Jericho

Main Article: Jericho

Wood is known internationally for his study of the archaeological results for Jericho, particularly his investigation dealing with City IV, the level associated with the destruction by earthquake and fire in the time of Joshua. Although John Garstang dated this destruction to about 1400 BC or shortly before, the later excavations and publications by Kathleen Kenyon redated this level to 1550 BC, a date that is not compatible with any reasonable Biblical chronology. Wood's 1990 article in Biblical Archaeology Review presented evidence that Garstang's date was correct and Kenyon's was wrong. This contention caused quite a stir, because Kenyon's results had been used, often uncritically, as evidence that the Biblical account of the battle of Jericho in Joshua chapter 6 was unhistorical. For a discussion of the debate that includes more recent radiocarbon considerations that support Wood's research, see the Jericho chronology dispute article. If the resolution of the Jericho dating dispute is resolved in favor of the Garstang/Wood date (late 15th century BC), as both old and new evidence indicate, then Dr. Wood's 1990 reexamination of the Jericho data should be recognized as a major contribution to the understanding of the history and archaeology of Palestine.

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  1. Bryant G. Wood, Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995 – 1998," Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000), 129.




  • A Critical Analysis of the Evidence from Ralph Hawkins for a Late-Date Exodus-Conquest by Bryant Wood and Rodger C. Young. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 51 (2008): 225–43.
  • "An Archaeological Survey of Three Reservoir Areas in Northern Jordan, 1978," with T.M. Kerestes, J.M. Lundquist and K. Yassine. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 22 (1977–78): 108–35.
  • "Biblical Archaeology’s Greatest Achievement, Failure and Challenge." Biblical Archaeology Review 21/3 (May/June 1995): 33–35.
  • "The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50 (2007): 249–58.
  • "Cisterns and Reservoirs." Pp. 131–33 in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vol. 1, ed. L.H. Schiffman and J.C. VanderKam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  • "Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski is Wrong on All Counts." Biblical Archaeology Review 16/5 (September/October 1990): 45, 47–49, 68–69.
  • "David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine." Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 45 (2000): 41–47.
  • Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence by Bryant G. Wood. Biblical Archaeology Review 16(2) (March/April 1990): 44-58
  • The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by Bryant G. Wood, Bible and Spade, Summer 1999, pp. 67-80.
  • "Egyptian Amphorae of the New Kingdom and Ramesside Periods." Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1987): 75–83.
  • "From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus–Judges Period," Pp. 256–82 in Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts, ed. David M. Howard, Jr., and Michael A. Grisanti (Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2003).
  • Has the biblical city and story of Jericho been verified? by Bryant G. Wood. Christian Answers Network
  • Is the Bible accurate concerning the destruction of the walls of Jericho? by Bryant Wood and Gary Byer. Christian Answers Network
  • Is there any evidence for the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction by fire and brimstone (sulfur)? by Bryant Wood. ChristianAnswers.Net
  • "Kh. Nisya, 1994." Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 197–200.
  • "Kh. Nisya, 1993." Israel Exploration Journal 44 (1994): 142–45, with David P. Livingston.
  • "Kiln," pp. 38–39 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 4 (New York: Doubleday, 1992).
  • "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995–1998." Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000): 123–30.
  • "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1999." Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000): 249–54.
  • "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 2000." Israel Exploration Journal 51 (2001): 246–52.
  • "Let the Evidence Speak." Biblical Archaeology Review 33.2 (2007): 26, 78.
  • Numerous articles in the NIV Archaeology Study Bible (Eerdmans, 2005)
  • Palestinian Pottery of the Late Bronze Age: An Investigation of the Terminal LB IIB Phase. Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto, 1985.
  • "Potter’s Wheel," pp. 427–28 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 5 (New York: Doubleday, 1992).
  • "The Philistines Enter Canaan." Biblical Archaeology Review 17/6 (Nov/Dec 1991): 44–52, 89–90, 92.
  • "The Search for Joshua’s Ai." Pp. 205–40 in Critical Issues in the Early Israelite History, eds. Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil and Paul J. Ray, Jr. (Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008)
  • The Sociology of Pottery in Ancient Palestine: The Ceramic Industry and the Diffusion of Ceramic Style in the Bronze and Iron Ages, JSOT Supplement Series 103; JSOT/ASOR Monograph Series 4 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990).
  • Review of Hesban 6: Tell Hesban and Vicinity in the Iron Age, by Paul J. Ray, Jr., Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 48 (2003): 63–65.
  • "Review of Excavations at Tell Deir Alla." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 295 (1994): 94–96.
  • "The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 475–89. Avaliable here.
  • "The Role of Shechem in the Conquest of Canaan." Pp. 245–56 in To Understand the Scriptures: Essays in Honor of William H. Shea, ed. David Merling (Berrien Springs MI: Institute of Archaeology/Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum, Andrews University, 1997).
  • "The Stratigraphic Relationship of Local and Imported Bichrome Ware at Megiddo." Levant 14 (1982): 73–79.
  • "To Dip or Sprinkle? The Qumran Cisterns in Perspective." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 256 (1984): 45–60.
  • "Water Systems." Pp. 968–70 in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vol. 2, ed. L.H. Schiffman and J.C. VanderKam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  • The Walls of Jericho by Bryant G. Wood, Bible and Spade 12:2 (1999)
  • The walls of Jericho: Archaeology confirms: they really DID come a-tumblin’ down by Bryant Wood. Creation 21(2):36–40, March 1999

See Also