Beidha, Jordan (Kadesh Barnea)

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Modern replicas of buildings at Beidha

Introduction:

See also the main page on Kadesh Barnea.

See also the main page on Petra.

  1. The Exodus took place in 1446 BC but since they arrived in Kadesh Barnea in 1444 BC exactly two years after leaving Egypt. "Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh." Numbers 20:1
  2. After a careful research of the Bible and history, it became evident that Kadesh was either at or just 4.5 km north of Petra is Beidha which has traces of human occupation going back as far as the flood (3000 BC).
  3. Major archeological studies have been conducted over the last 50 years at Beidha by several archeologists including Diana Kirkbride and more recently, Brian Byrd. Byrd suggests that Beidha has a Netufian period of occupation around 9000 BC, followed by a period of abandonment. Then between 7000 - 5000 BC a Neolithic period of occupation occurred with three phases followed by abandonment until the site was developed by the Nabataeans about the time of Christ (300 BC - 100 AD) We have accepted the facts of what Bryd had presented, however we have come up with out own interpretation of the archeology at Beidha. Bryd take the view that there are three occupational Phases (A, B, C) at Beidha that occurred continuously between 7000-5000 BC. Since Bryd rejects the Noaic flood story of the Bible, he sees no problem with these dates. As Bible believing Christians, we are forced to either reject the Bible as God's word or reject Bryd's interpretation of dates.
  4. Bryd makes this important disclaimer about his theory of occupation: "The history of the village presented in this volume, however, is simply a model. It should not be considered a precise representation of how the village changed over time." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  5. Our interpretation has two clear departures from Byrd's view: First: We take Byrd's time scale for all three phases and squeeze them into a period between about 2500 BC - 1200 BC. Second: Whereas Byrd sees three phases (A, B, C), we only see two phases (1, 2). Please take note that in this document, when you see "Phase 1" or Phase 2", that this is our interpretation. We understand ahead of time, that our interpretation is different from Byrd's, but as you will soon see, there are some very good reasons for our interpretation. Our interpretation must at least be considered as plausible, even if rejected by mainstream archeologists. It is important to note, that we do not question what Byrd dug up and found, we question his interpretation of the stuff he found.
  6. Bryd describes two features were used in all three occupation levels: The village wall and the stone lined pit in Phase C building 81: "The latest phase B structure documented in the north-central area was large building 81. Only the base of the walls along the eastern edge of the building and an associated stone-lined pit directly to the northeast were exposed. The building lay directly under the floor and walls of phase C large building 9 (Figs 26-27), and the stone-lined pit continued to be used in phase C. This patterning is evidence of continuity in occupation from phase B to phase C." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  7. Beidha is unique for a hundreds of mile radius (the Levant) in that is actually documents a long continuous history of use. This was an important site: "This overview of the phasing history affirms the presence of a continuous architectural sequence ranging from clusters of round post houses, both semisubterranean and semidetached, through individual subrectangular examples, and then ultimately true rectangular buildings (primarily corridor buildings). The Beidha architectural sequence is, at present, unique in the Levant, but shares much in common with slightly earlier developments in other portions of Southwest Asia" (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

A. Byrds 3 occupational phases of Beidha: A, B, C

  1. First it is important to understand that we do not question the facts of what archeology has uncovered. Byrd's aerial and stratigraphic maps below are the "facts that were undug". It is interpretation of timing and sequencing of these facts that we question.
  2. The three periods or "Phases" of occupation according to Bryd:
    Aerial view:
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  3. The three periods or "Phases" of occupation according to Bryd:
    Stratigraphic view:
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B. Summary of our interpretation in contrast to Byrd's:

Note: Byrd suggests that Beidha has a Netufian period of occupation around 9000 BC, followed by a period of abandonment. Then between 7000 - 5000 BC a Neolithic period of occupation occurred with three phases followed by abandonment until the site was developed by the Nabataeans about the time of Christ (300 BC - 100 AD)

 Item

Byrd's interpretation

Our interpretation

Earliest possible occupation

Netufian: 9000 BC

3000 BC: The flood (Gen 6)

Dates

7000-5000 BC

2500-1200 BC

Phases

Three: A, B, C

Two: A+B, C (Phase 1,2)

Round buildings

Neolithic village (Phase A, B)

Time of Abraham: Phase 1

Square buildings

Neolithic village (Phase C)

Time of Moses: Phase 2

Destruction of round buildings

Unknown

Israelites burned and destroyed when they arrived at Kadesh

Construction of square buildings`

Unknown

Moses in 1444 BC

Square buildings use

single family dwellings

Public storage buildings for a larger tented population of 2.5 million Hebrews in the surrounding area.

C. Our interpretation of two occupation phases: 1 , 2

  1. Byrd see three occupational phase (A, B, C), but we see only two (1, 2).
  2. "The Natufian at Beidha is best characterized as a short-term or seasonal camp site that was occupied repeatedly over a considerable period of time. The limited evidence of spatial variability between provenience units in the chipped stone artifact samples, the range of activities implied by the chipped stone assemblage (primarily hunting related activities), the presence of small hearths and large roasting areas, and the absence of elements typically associated with more permanent occupations large ground stone implements, and features such as houses, storage facilities and burials support this interpretation." (The Natufian Encampment at Beidha, Late Pleistocene Adaptation in the Southern Levant, Brian F. Byrd, 1989 AD, p85)
  3. We have taken the six occupation maps from Bryd and combined them into two overlays to create a virtual representation of our two phases.

 

 

Phase 1: 2000 BC

Our "Phase 1" is equal to Byrd's Phase A1 + A2 + B. You will notice that all the buildings are round, are built basically on the same level and fit together like puzzle pieces. Buildings may have had new walls built, but these were always directly on top of old foundations. We believe that these round Phase 1 buildings existed at the time of Abraham and continued to be occupied until Moses arrived and destroyed them by burning in 1444 BC at the exodus.

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Phase 2: 1444 BC

Our "Phase 2"is equal to Byrd's Phase C1 + C2 + 2nd floor. You will notice that these buildings are square, are built basically on the same level and also fit together like puzzle pieces. There is evidence of renovations of these square buildings. These buildings were built directly on top of Phase 1. It is as if Moses buried the round buildings of Phase 1 and built directly on top of a basically level new grade level. These buildings did not experience burning or rapid abandonment, but a general abandonment over time. The Nabataeans came along between 300 BC and 100 AD and built on top of Phase 2 and carved all the tombs in the rock cliffs we see today.

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D. Three Occupational phases or two?

  1. Brian Byrd has theorized that Beidha had a Natufian occupation around 11,000 BC and three Neolithic occupational phases around 7000 BC. The problem is that, like most archeologists, he forgot to read his Bible and realize that there is no archeology on earth today that is older than 3000 BC when the flood occurred. Therefore the facts of archeology from the Natufian and Neolithic occupations must need to squeezed into a period of about 3000 BC down to about 1000 BC. "Occupation History: The fieldwork revealed that Beidha is a multicomponent site with three discrete periods of habitation: an early Natufian encampment (primarily during the 11th millennium BC); a PPNB village (primarily during the 7th millennium BC); and, ultimately, terraced Nabatean agricultural fields (during the 1st millennium AD). (All dates in this report are in uncalibrated radiocarbon years before 1950.) A considerable hiatus separates each of these occupations (Fig. 34)." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  2. Phase B Buildings were built directly upon phase A. This may be for several reasons. Bryd theorizes that this represents separate occupational phases, however it may be that an earthquake, flood, sandstorm, other natural disaster or just good old fashioned wear and tear explains why the people rebuilt the new walls directly on top of older foundations: "For example, at many early village communities (such as Jericho, CayOnti, and Abu Hureyra) individual buildings were repeatedly built virtually directly on top of earlier ones (Kenyon 1981; Moore et al. 2001; Ozdogan and 6zdogan 1989). This may imply that building plots were subject to ownership." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  3. A is oldest, C is youngest: "The Phasing Model: The resulting model of the Beidha Neolithic occupation history consisted of three phases, labeled from earliest to latest (A through C). The model was based primarily on the relative stratigraphic relationships between buildings, particularly with respect to construction events " (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  4. "Summary: The site of Beidha is situated on and within a remnant terrace formed by alluviation that began during the Late Pleistocene and ceased prior to the ninth millennium BP. Three periods of human occupation are present - Natufian, Neolithic, and Nabatean - with lengthy time periods devoid of occupation separating them. This resulted in a thick sequence of cultural and noncultural deposits up to 6 m in depth." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  5. However we feel that in spite of Byrd's good work, that there is good reason to argue for two occupational phases: First: A + B and Second: C. The reason is because if you add A to B the buildings create a perfect and complete village. A and B are like to sections of a puzzle that fit perfectly together with little overlap of buildings. A + B are also round buildings whereas C are square. C is also built above and on top of A + B.
  6. Bryd documents how the buildings of A+B did not overlie or overlap each other. This is evidence that A + B were the same occupation level. He of course would reject our theory of two occupation levels: "Buildings from each of the three phases do not stratigraphically overlie one another across the entire site (Fig. 40). There are a number of reasons for this situation: the site was never entirely covered with inhabited buildings and other portions of the site consisted of courtyards and no doubt abandoned, decaying structures; new construction often totally destroyed evidence of earlier buildings; and the location of courtyards varied some-what over time. It is more plausible that the tell built up slowly and unevenly." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  7. Bryd openly considers the idea that the phases A and B are contemporaneous or that B and C are contemporaneous: "Could the subphase A2 buildings at the southern end of the site, where no phase B buildings occur, actually be contemporaneous with phase B? And what about the northeast cluster of five phase B buildings that are not clearly overlain stratigraphically by phase C buildings: could they be coeval with phase C? Although these alternative reconstructions are plausible, they are considered less likely. Many more questions could be posed with respect to the phasing, some of which cannot be answered with the available evidence. ... The phasing model represents what I consider to be the best, idealized representation of how the Neolithic village of Beidha changed over time. The model is viable, however, even if there are only a few concrete examples where buildings from each phase directly overlie each other. Three locales furnish such evidence (Fig. 39). Two examples were located in the south half of the tell: the well-documented sequence of buildings 41-56-43-12/19 in the center of the southern area (Fig. 454, later Fig. 74); and the superposition of building remnants 17-33-15-11 along the eastern edge of the site. Both of these examples of superpositioning include buildings from the upper two phases (B and C) and subphases Al and A2. The only instance in the northern portion of the site where all three phases are stratigraphically sequential occurred in the central area with the building sequence 30-29-82-8 (Fig. 454). These examples, although limited in areal scope, provide vivid testimony of the phasing model validity. A detailed presentation of the stratigraphy and phasing of the tell is contained in the following chapter." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

E. The Wall that saw it all!
Abraham, Moses and Jesus climbed these stairs!

  1. When you do a detailed study of the archeology at Beidha, you are struck with the fact that only one feature remained the same throughout all three "neolithic" occupational phases: The wall and stairs! Since the site was later developed by the Nabataeans. If the wall and stairs were retained or used by the Nabataeans, then Jesus also walked these stairs, for he would have most certainly visited Nabataean Petra.
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  2. "Neolithic Village: An impressive Neolithic retaining wall, with steps leading into the village, lies along this edge of the site (Figs 31-32). Its function was, no doubt, primarily to retard continued erosion, and it appears to have been constructed during the initial phase of occupation." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  3. "Despite the extensive distribution of phase C buildings, building superpositioning was rare and subphases were not distinguished. Two highlights from these excavations included the exposure of a village wall and associated steps leading up into the settlement from the south, and the best preserved example of an upper story from a phase C corridor building (14)." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  4. "The southern enclosing wall of the village was probably built during this initial occupation (Figs 39, 42, 69). Although this assertion cannot be demonstrated conclusively, due to post-Neolithic disturbance, the similarity in absolute elevation of the top step of the village wall and the exterior base of buildings 18, 41, and 48 supports this assertion (Fig. 32). The village wall may have remained in existence throughout the history of the village. Moreover, the height of the village wall was raised at least once, as deposits built up within the village itself." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  5. "Village Wall Excavations: The preserved height of the main village wall ranged from 1.0 m to 2.2 m west of the steps, and only a few courses remained east of the steps. Directly west and east of the steps, footing stones and a probable path were preserved along the base of the wall. The village wall was constructed during phase A, remodeled several times, and probably remained in use throughout the occupation span of the village." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  6. "The village terrace wall and associated entrance stairs were probably constructed along the south edge of the site during phase A." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

F. Wadi el Ghurab important factor:

  1. The Wadi el Ghurab has both deposited fill during large floods and eroded away materials over time: "Natufian Encampment: The Natufian occupation at Beidha took place during an aggradation period of the Wadi el Ghurab (Field 1989: 86-90). The sediment that comprises the Natufian occupation was largely deposited by streams with limited cultural input. Throughout the wadi, the level of the valley floor was considerably higher during the Natufian occupation than today. ... The Natufian may well have extended a considerable distance both to the south and west, but erosion has destroyed any such evidence. ... The site appears to have been abandoned for approximately 3,500 years, during which time more than 1.5 m of noncultural sediment was deposited, separating the Natufian from the subsequent PPNB village.  (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  2. "The original western edge of the tell, of course, is unknown, since erosion by the Seyl Aqlat has destroyed it." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

G. Phase A was burned, Phase C abandoned:

  1. "Phase A included the initial, founding occupation of the PPNB village through the burning and abandonment of a series of round buildings in the southern sector. Subphase Al buildings were semisubterranean and erected around an inner skeleton of posts and beams. In contrast, some subsequent subphase A2 buildings appear to have been built above ground and no longer utilized the post-socket construction. Phase B was poorly preserved in many areas of the tell due to later phase C construction. Phase B architecture included subrectangular buildings with straighter walls and rounded corners that were typically single-roomed, freestanding, and semisubterranean. The final period of occupation, phase C, was dominated by two-story, rectangular corridor buildings. The upper stories were poorly preserved, while lower stories were semisubterranean and included a central corridor and a series of small basement rooms. The construction of a very large building on top of a series of phase C corridor buildings enabled two subphases to be distinguished in a portion of the tell. ... Large-scale abandonment of buildings may have occurred at the end of phase A based on the burning of a considerable number of structures. In contrast, the upper deposits of phase B were largely destroyed by subsequent phase C construction." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  2. Carbon dating samples taken mainly from phase A because very few of the other phase buildings burned: "The prevalence of samples from phase A was not surprising, since very few buildings from the other phases burned." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

H. Four courses of mud bricks found:

  1. Mud bricks are found at Jericho and Tel Dan which date to the time before the exodus between 2000-1444 BC. Four courses of mud bricks were found at Beida. It may be that they are all from the same period.
  2. "Excavations in a sounding below the floor of subphase Al, building 18, identified an architectural feature con-structed of mudbrick with a thin plaster facing (Fig. 61). It should be noted that the exact constituents of all the plaster used at Beidha and variation in its manufacture are currently unknown. At least four courses of a mudbrick wall were preserved, and the wall appeared to exceed a meter in thickness (see also Kirkbride 1967: fig. 2). The occupational debris associated with this facility, labeled deposit L4:91, was originally classified as Natufian (Kirkbride 1967: 10). That assessment is no longer tenable after reexamination of the small sample of lithics that were recovered (Byrd 1989b: 21). The lithics appear to be Neolithic in age and may well predate the middle PPNB, but precise determination must await further field investigations and a larger sample size." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  3. "Remnants of mudbrick were also reported by Kirkbride-Helbxk (Kirkbride 1967: 10-11) outside of building 48 and building 37. The latter was reported as containing "a mud-brick wall nearly a meter high, on a curving stone foundation." (Kirkbride 1967: 10). Unfortunately, these two discoveries lack adequate archival documentation and nothing further can be presented regarding their stratigraphic relationship and character." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  4. "Exterior courtyard deposits represent the earliest occupation deposits documented for phase A. These include plastered surfaces, ramadas/verandas, and possible mudbrick construction. The initial stone buildings of subphase Al were semisubterranean, with their floors up to 50 cm below the outside ground level. They were circular to oval in plan, and erected around an inner skeleton of posts and beams. To this inner skeleton was added a wide stone wall with short, straight segments of its inner face built against the posts. This created a thick curving wall with its inner face broken at regular intervals by the vertical slits that held the posts. The wall and slits were then plastered over to provide a smooth interior face, and based on evidence from burned buildings, the ceilings were also plastered. Individual structures often shared walls where their curvilinear plans converged." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

I. Evidence of reuse and renovations are present at the Tel:

  1. There are various levels of floors within the same buildings. It is difficult to explain with certainty how this occurred. It may be that the buildings were renovated and new fill materials were brought in to lay a new uniform floor. Byrd sees the different levels of floors and renovations as evidence of long term occupation. Bryd may be right, but our explanation also fits the evidence.
  2. "This suite of buildings appears to have been utilized for a considerable period of time. For example, both buildings 18 and 49 had two major floors separated by some deposition. In addition, a number of remodelings took place during the use life of these buildings. The remodelings ultimately included sealing off the two entrances to building 18 and possibly closing the entrance to building 49. This may suggest that there was differential abandonment of buildings. Ultimately, most if not all of these buildings fell into disuse and were abandoned. Deposits built up within building 41 when it was abandoned, and it was used as a burial area (Fig. 67). The only possible exception to this scenario may be burned building 48, which had no subphase A2 building overlying it, only considerable charred and collapsed roof material (Fig. 68). It is possible, although considered unlikely, that this burning occurred at the same time as the conflagration that destroyed a series of subsequent subphase A2 buildings." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  3. "Building 82 was built directly on top of the wall remnants of phase A buildings 29 and 53 in E4 (Fig. 81). Building 42, to the west of building 82, was at a similar elevation immediately west of these two phase A buildings (Fig. 81). Building 42 was then overlain by building 26 on almost the same alignment but 50 cm above it (Fig. 80). These two large buildings (42 and 26) were oval in plan and similar in character (see also Fig. 21). Both burned, and mudbrick and thin plaster remnants were abundant in the collapsed roof fall and wall fall." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

J. Long continuous Neolithic occupation with gradual abandonment:

  1. Beidha is unique for a hundreds of mile radius (the Levant) in that is actually documents a long continuous history of use. This was an important site.
  2. We view the "Neolithic occupation" as having occurred between 2500 BC and 1200 AD. Abraham came here and entered the village which continued to exist till the time of Moses. The exodus Hebrews destroyed the village and buried it, then built the square corridor buildings as a major storage area for the 2.5 million Hebrews who were living in tents in the surrounding area.
  3. "This overview of the phasing history affirms the presence of a continuous architectural sequence ranging from clusters of round post houses, both semisubterranean and semidetached, through individual subrectangular examples, and then ultimately true rectangular buildings (primarily corridor buildings). The Beidha architectural sequence is, at present, unique in the Levant, but shares much in common with slightly earlier developments in other portions of Southwest Asia" (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  4. "Summary of Neolithic Village Occupation History: The history of the Neolithic village at Beidha, like most tells, was complicated, and its unraveling from the preserved remnants of the stratigraphy was a formidable task. Overall, the settlement had a long and apparently continuous occupation. There is no evidence to suggest that the village was ever abandoned for a period of time and then reoccupied. It was primarily occupied during the latter half of the Middle PPNB making it contemporaneous with occupation at a number of other southern Levantine sites including 'Mn Ghazal, Jericho, Ghwair I, Kfar HaHoresh, Nahal Hemar, Wadi Su'eib (Kuijt and Goring-Morris 2002: 387; Rollefson 1989b: 169) (Fig. 1). Nearby excavated sites such as Ba'ja, Basta, and Ayn el-Jammam do not appear to have been contemporaneous as they were occupied primarily during the Late PPNB (Gebel et al. 1997; Nissen et al. 1991; Waheeb and Fino 1997)." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)
  5. "It cannot be conclusively demonstrated whether the abandonment of the village was sudden or slow, but patterning in trash dumping within buildings suggests that it was a gradual process." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)

K. Who were they?

  1. Nowhere in Bryd's book does he even hint at who these people are. He discloses no examples of pottery or any kind of writing found that would date the site. Perhaps none was there.
  2. If this is Kadesh Barnea, it would represent an occupation that would include the time of Abraham of most likely the Moabites or the Edomites. This would be represented in phases A + B.
  3. Phase C, we would theorize, would be from the Hebrews.
  4. It is without question that the Nabataeans occupied the site between 300 BC and 100 AD.

L. How were the buildings used?

  1. Bryd sees the buildings from phases A, B and C as being actual dwelling places for nuclear families. One family per building: Man, Wife and children.
  2. We on the other hand, see these buildings as communal in nature that were shared by a larger population that lived in tents in the surrounding areas.
  3. The buildings, therefore, were used for food storage, production during harvest, and even daily preparation.
  4. Perhaps the "king" and his family, lived in a few of the buildings as a special privilege. This is completely reasonable. Having an actual building would be seen as fitting for the tribal leader, whereas the general population lived in tents in the outlying areas. Perhaps the whole area was for use of just the village leader and his family.
  5. Bryd himself has determined that the "Eastern Sector" was comprised of public buildings that served a larger population, not houses for a family to live in: "Although there is no evidence to demonstrate that more than one was ever occupied at once (except possibly during phase B), additional corporate units could have existed in the western, now eroded portion of the site. Other nondomestic buildings were situated to the east of the tell. They shared little in common with the domestic dwellings within the community, except their size; instead they had many unique structural elements and had more in common with the corporate structures within the village." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  6. The phase C buildings not only had separate basements only accessible from the outside, not inside, but the second floors between two different buildings, were connected with doorways! The second floors of different buildings were built beside each other, shared outside walls and were like large office areas all connected from the inside: "Major changes in the organizational character of the corporate building occurred during the final subphase of the occupation. This nondomestic building was significantly larger than previous ones and structurally more elaborate, consisting of two large rooms with a number of associated features (including a stone monolith). Unlike earlier corporate buildings, this one was refurbished at least four times, and each remodeling entailed a substantial investment in labor and supplies. Its interrelationship with adjacent buildings and open space also differed considerably from previous corporate buildings. This included an entrance into the corporate building from the upper story of an adjacent domestic building. In addition, the building overlooked the main central courtyard and during its use life this courtyard became an enclosed space with small storage units." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  7. Bryd notes that the "houses" became more adapted for storage. He theorizes that this is because each family started becoming independent of the community they lived in. In other words, private ownership and individuals storing their own crops for themselves in their own houses for their own private use to the exclusion of the community. However out theory is equally valid: These were not houses but public storage buildings for a larger Jewish community living in tents in the general area of Kadesh Barnea. "These developments were matched by elaboration in the spatial organization of production activities and storage within domestic dwellings, suggesting household autonomy increased over time. Interior features became more frequent, interior space more compartmentalized, and activities and storage were thus focused in discrete localities. Ultimately, the introduction of more structurally complex two-story dwellings with subdivided basements and separate entrances facilitated the spatial discreteness of production and storage activities within the context of individual buildings. The second organizational trend, more formal and institutionalized mechanisms for integrating the community, was confirmed by the introduction and persistence of distinct, large nondomestic buildings. They were interpreted as the location for suprahousehold decision making and ceremonial activities, and the role and importance of such corporate activities increased during the occupation span of the community based on their increased size and structural elaboration." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)

M. Phase C (Our phase 2) was built by Moses in 1444 BC

  1. After Phase A + B was destroyed by the Hebrews when they arrived at Kadesh, a new and unique type of large public storage buildings were built: "A new style of architecture began in phase C and was used throughout the settlement. This novel corridor building architecture appeared fully developed without antecedents at the start of phase C. It was a distinctive technological and organizational development comprised of two internally subdivided stories - one as a basement and the other set slightly above ground level. Each story had a separate entrance. The upper stories were open in plan and had plastered floors. In contrast, the basements were comprised of multiple small rooms, with a variety of features (except hearths) within them, and had earthen floors. Several single-story quadrilateral buildings (both large and small), coexisted with these corridor buildings and provide evidence of continuity with earlier architectural traditions."  (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  2. "Many buildings in phase C (and probably in phase A) were no doubt contemporaneous." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  3. Bryd, of course, sees all the Phase C buildings as single family dwellings (residences). We feel that these buildings are in fact public storage and work buildings for the larger 2.5 million Hebrews that are living in tents in the area. "The establishment of two-story corridor buildings in phase C entailed virtually a three-fold increase in the interior area of domestic units. This size increase accompanied an expansion in the structural organization of individual dwellings and related household activities. This does not indicate an intrinsic change in the size of these households: nuclear families probably still constituted the fundamental domestic unit. The addition of basements to domestic dwellings allowed for storage and many household production activities to take place within spatially segregated small rooms within the dwelling. The upper stories of these dwellings were more open spatially and structurally and were no doubt the venue for eating, sleeping, and entertaining. The range and emphasis of activities varied little between households. The main exception to this pattern involved specialized production of personal adornment items in one dwelling (notably marine shell jewelry). This may indicate some preferential access to luxury items existed between households." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)
  4. The basements of the Phase C buildings could not be accessed from the main floor. Instead the basements were accessed from the outside. This is clear evidence, in our view that the Phase C buildings were not residences but storage buildings for a larger population of Hebrews at Kadesh Barnea: "Over time, the distinction between private and public space increased, and production activities and storage were increasingly carried out within individual dwellings. In phase C, production and storage were concentrated in household basements that had restricted access and were not directly connected to the upper-story living areas." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion)

N. Jericho and Beidha:

  1. The sequence of continuous occupation at Beidha is unique in the Levant. Similarities exist between the round buildings at Beidha and Jericho because at both sites, round buildings were replaced by square ones.
  2. At Jericho, it is not clear if the round or later square buildings were destroyed by the Hebrews during the conquest in 1406 BC.
  3. But Joshua placed a curse upon the city and it appears to have not been rebuilt until the time of Hiel in 860 BC: Jericho continued to be occupied down to the time of Jesus: "Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, "Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates."" Joshua 6:26 "In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun." 1 Kings 16:34. "He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich." Luke 19:1-2.
  4. "PPNB: Beidha is currently the only southern Levantine site that documents this transition in residential architecture. Elsewhere in the southern Levant, the transition is either completely abrupt without transitional steps (such as at Jericho) or else PPNB sites have either curvilinear or rectangular architecture (Byrd 2000). At Jericho, largely undifferentiated PPNA curvilinear buildings were abruptly replaced by PPNB rectangular pier houses considerably earlier than rectangular buildings were first constructed at Beidha (Kenyon 1981). The pier-house style of architecture was then used over a wide area of the southern Levant during the PPNB and was well suited to be internally subdivided (Byrd and Banning 1988)." (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD, Conclusion) 

Conclusion:

  1. We theorize that there are two phases of occupation, not three as Bryd suggests.
  2. The first phase of occupation is represented in combining Bryds phase A + B. The buildings of this period were round. This first period of occupation would date back to the time of Abraham.
  3. The second phase of occupation is represented Bryds phase C. Perhaps the phase C square buildings are where Moses lived while at Kadesh for 38 years as a central hub of organization for Israel in the wilderness. A theory yes, but not unreasonable.
  4. At least it can be clearly and successfully argued that the archeology of Beidha predates 1000 BC. This is in contrast to the fact that nothing earlier than 1000 BC has been found at Qudeirat, where all Bible maps have unfortunately placed Kadesh Barnea since 1916 AD.
  5. Yes I am the first person in history to specifically suggest that Beidha is where Kadesh Barnea was located. However everyone from the time of Josephus, Eusebius down to 100 AD places Kadesh Barnea at or near Petra.
  6. Based upon Bible study and combining the witness of history, we concluded that Kadesh must be either at Petra or just north of it. Beidha, therefore, is the perfect choice, since it is indeed just north of Petra, and it is the only place in the Levant that has a long term, continuous occupation period that predates 1000 BC.

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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