Cypriot Bichrome Pottery.
It seems like an unnecessary technical term, and it is hard to imagine why it might be important. But many have claimed that it can be used to prove that the Old Testament is not historically accurate.
What is Cypriot Bichrome Pottery, you might ask? It is a type of pottery made in Cyprus (Cypriot) with a distinct two-color (bi-chrome) style.
This pottery was all the rage around the time that the Bible says that the Israelites conquered the Promised Land. In fact, Cypriot Bichrome Pottery was so popular among the wealthy, that archaeologists look for it as a key way of telling whether a city was active in this time period. Cypriot Bichrome Pottery then was like Nike apparel or Apple devices are today.
So, in the 1950’s, an archaeologist name Kathleen Kenyon excavated a part of Jericho, with a particular interest in one layer: a layer which showed the complete destruction of the city, which might be from the exact time that the Bible says the Israelites destroyed it (Joshua 6).
Kenyon excavated this layer, looking for Cypriot Bichrome pottery- which must have made its way to a major city like Jericho. And she found none. And with that, much of the archaeological world concluded that Jericho must have been destroyed some 150 years earlier, meaning there was no city for the Israelites to march around, and that the Bible must be mistaken.
But there is more to the story. Because more recent scholars looking at the old archaeological reports discovered two interesting things: First, Kenyon was digging a part of the city which was quite poor- they couldn’t afford the expensive name brand Cypriot Bichrome Pottery!
And second, in the piles of pottery which they did find, is a lot of cheap, local imitations of Cypriot Bichrome Pottery. Which is exactly what you would expect to find if the rich people up the street were using it!
As well as this, other finds from the site also confirm the account given in the book of Joshua- a stash of grain under a tower shows that the siege was short (in line with the walls collapsing early on, and artifacts with glyphs and inscriptions from the site also date to around the same time frame.
There is a lot more archaeology needed at the site; for political reasons there has been little digging done for around 50 years, and only a small portion is excavated. But we can say for sure that what we have found so far seems to back up the Bible’s story, instead of contradicting it like many people think.
The Bible tells a true story about God’s dealings with people, and archaeology backs it up!
If you want to hear more reflective rambles from my time in Israel, I would love to chat- find me after the service!