If you're really interested in this issue from an archaeological issue, then I think you'll need to read past articles of a archaeological journal that specializes in biblical archaeology. I'm satisfied from my own reading of evidence that the New Testament does a pretty good job at identifying real cities and politics at the time, but unless you wish to get a Ph.D. in Near East archaeology, at some point you're gonna have to admit to a certain amount of ignorance to the subject. So, whereas I'll say that the evidence appears to be consistent with New Testament descriptions, I do not possess enough archaeological knowledge to know all the nuances of the issues involved (from face value it seems as though Zindler is completely off the mark here, but again that's face value and I'd need to see a long dialogue between experts to have more of a feel for the issues involved).
Anyway, check out this site and let me know if this provides enough evidence for your satisfaction. If not, then I suppose you'll need more communication with professional archaeologists.
Search away evidence for those cities that Zindler says don't exist. The archaeologists contributing articles to the journal (which include Jews, atheists, agnostics, etc) seem to assume the existence of those cities as completely removed from controversy. In a number of instances I think you can find why they accept such evidence as such.
Best Regards, Harv