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, despite the efforts of Kathleen Kenyon to date it to the mid-16th century BC.
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 the 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. Wood's research on the Hittites of the Bible has been incorporated into a major Bible translation, the Christian Standard Bible (formerly named the Holman Christian Standard Bible). 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.
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, located one km to the west of Et-Tell. 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." Wood completed his excavations in Khirbet el-Maqatir in 2016.
Debate over date of the fall of 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. In 1990, Wood published a paper to the Biblical Archaeology Review, arguing that the date of the destruction of the residential area of Jericho should be returned to about 1400 BC, in agreement with Garstang's initial conclusions. 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.
- "A Critical Analysis of the Evidence from Ralph Hawkins for a Late-Date Exodus-Conquest," with Rodger C. Young. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 51 (2008): 225–43. Available here.
- "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 Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50 (2007): 249–58.
- "Let the Evidence Speak." Biblical Archaeology Review 33.2 (2007): 26, 78.
- Numerous articles in the NIV Archaeology Study Bible (Eerdmans, 2005)
- "The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 475–89. Available here.
- 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.
- "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).
- "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 2000." Israel Exploration Journal 51 (2001): 246–52.
- "David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine." Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 45 (2000): 41–47.
- "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1999." Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000): 249–54.
- "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995–1998." Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000): 123–30.
- "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).
- "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 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).
- "Kh. Nisya, 1994." Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 197–200.
- "Biblical Archaeology’s Greatest Achievement, Failure and Challenge." Biblical Archaeology Review 21/3 (May/June 1995): 33–35.
- "Review of Excavations at Tell Deir Alla." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 295 (1994): 94–96.
- "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).
- "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 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).
- "Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski is Wrong on All Counts." Biblical Archaeology Review 16/5 (September/October 1990): 45, 47–49, 68–69.
- "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence." Biblical Archaeology Review 16/2 (March/April 1990): 44–59.
- "Egyptian Amphorae of the New Kingdom and Ramesside Periods." Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1987): 75–83.
- Palestinian Pottery of the Late Bronze Age: An Investigation of the Terminal LB IIB Phase. Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto, 1985.
- "To Dip or Sprinkle? The Qumran Cisterns in Perspective." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 256 (1984): 45–60.
- "The Stratigraphic Relationship of Local and Imported Bichrome Ware at Megiddo." Levant 14 (1982): 73–79.
- "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.
- Wood, Bryant. "Hittites and Hethites: A Proposed Solution to an Etymological Conundrum." JETS 54 (2011): 239-50.
- Wood, Bryant G. "The search for Joshua’s Ai." Critical Issues in Early Israelite History 3 (2008): 205.
- Bryant G. Wood, Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995 – 1998," Israel Exploration Journal 50 (2000), 129.
- Wood, Bryant G. "Did the Israelites conquer Jericho? A new look at the archaeological evidence." The Biblical archaeology review 16.2 (1990): 44-59.
- Manfred Bietak and Felix Höflmayer, "Introduction: High and Low Chronology," pp. 13–23 in The Synchronization of Civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C. III, eds. Manfred Bietak and Ernst Czerny, Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschanften, 2007.
- Bruins & van der Plicht, "Tell es-Sultan (Jericho): Radiocarbon Results of Short-Lived Cereal and Multiyear Charcoal Samples from the End of the Middle Bronze Age," Radiocarbon 37:2, 1995. Available here.
- John Garstang, Joshua-Judges, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1978 reprint of 1931 edition.
Garstang, John, "Jericho: City and Necropolis." Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 20 (1933), pp. 3–42, pls. 1–34.
- John Garstang, "Jericho: City and Necropolis Fourth Report." Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology 21 (1934), pp. 99–136, pls. 13–44.
- John Garstang, "The Fall of Bronze Age Jericho." Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 67 (1935), pp. 61–68.
- John Garstang and J.B.E. Garstang, The Story of Jericho, 2nd ed., 1948 (1st ed. 1940). London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott.
- Bryant G. Wood, "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence, Biblical Archaeology Review16(2) (March/April 1990): 44-58, also available here.
- Bryant G. Wood, "Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski Is Wrong on All Counts, Biblical Archaeology Review 16:05, Sep/Oct 1990.
- Bryant G. Wood,"The Walls of Jericho," Bible and Spade 12:2 (1999), also available here
- Bryant G. Wood, The Philistines Enter Canaan, Biblical Archaeology Review 17:06, Nov/Dec 1991.
- Bryant G. Wood, "Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995-1998," Israel Exploration Journal 50 no. 1-2 (2000), 123-30.
- Biography by ZoomInfo.