In the 5773 podcast at 21:38m Behar, Bechukotai: An Economic Vision of Justice from the Pardes Institute, Dr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy says that there is no historical evidence that the Yovel year was ever observed. What does the Talmud and/or our sages say - was it ever actually observed? I consider a Yovel count listing for this question of actual practice inconclusive evidence.

Edit: By historical evidence (which she does not specify), I would include a farmer's account of the trouble of getting overgrown land up to speed after Yoel, a land ownership transfer dispute recorded in the Talmud or some other such written evidence which strongly implies that it was actually observed.

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    What evidence what you expect to find? Like an archaeological find? A Pasuk in Tanakh? – Double AA May 17 '17 at 14:03
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    The Talmud (Erkhin 12) understands Ezekiel 40:1 to be a reference to the Yovel year. – Double AA May 17 '17 at 14:09
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    There wouldn't be a land ownership dispute in the Talmud, since the Yovel stopped being obligatory and observed after the first temple was destroyed, centuries before the Mishna was written. – Double AA May 17 '17 at 14:38
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    You may have some luck looking into judaism.stackexchange.com/q/54029/759 – Double AA May 17 '17 at 14:42

The Talmud, in Arachin 12b, quotes a baraita saying that Yovel was observed seventeen times:

שבעה עשר יובלות מנו ישראל משנכנסו לארץ ועד שיצאו

Seventeen jubilee [cycles] did Israel count from the time they entered the Land [of Israel] until they left it.

English translation from Soncino.

Note that the context there seems to be back-determining how many Yovels must have been observed, rather than a tradition derived from a contemporaneous account. See, for example, Rashi there:

י"ז יובלות - נפקי מקראי דכתיב (מלכים א ו) ויהי בשמונים שנה וארבע מאות שנה וגו' דל ארבעים דמדבר אשתכח דנכנסו לארץ קודם בנין הבית ארבע מאות וארבעים ובית ראשון עמד ת"י הרי תת"נ הרי י"ז יובלות של חמשים:‏

"17 jubilees" - Derived from Scripture, as is written (I Kings 6) "And it was in the 480th year ..." Subtract the forty of the desert, and it comes out that they entered the Land 440 years before the building of the Temple, and the First Temple stood for 410 years, so there are 850, which are seventeen jubilees of fifty."

My tranlsation

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    Not sure if that counts as "observed" since there's no indication from that count that the people actually kept the laws, and indeed the first churban was in response to such a lack of observance within that timeframe. – Loewian May 17 '17 at 17:33
  • @Loewian Are you not referring to shmittah? Maybe Yovel (only every 50) was observed? Maybe the shmittah aspects were not but the freedom and return of land was? – David Kenner May 17 '17 at 23:47
  • @DavidKenner That may have been the case. But it's also still not indicated by the OP's citation. – Loewian May 18 '17 at 16:36

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