Biblical archaeology

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For the movement associated with William F. Albright and also known as biblical archaeology, see Biblical archaeology school. For the magazine see Biblical Archaeology Review.

Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible, be they from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) or from the New Testament, as well as the history and cosmogony of Judaism and Christianity.

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

Old Testament First part of Christian Bibles based on the Hebrew Bible

The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.

Hebrew Bible Canonical collection of Hebrew scripture

The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh or sometimes the Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, except for some Biblical Aramaic passages in the books of Daniel and Ezra. The Hebrew Bible is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible.


The principal location of interest is what is known in the relevant religions as the Holy Land, which from a Western perspective is also called the Middle East. In contrast, Near Eastern archaeology deals with the Ancient Near East, or Middle East, without giving any special consideration to whether its discoveries have any relationship with the Bible.

Holy Land Term used by Jews, Christians, and Muslims to describe the Land of Israel and Palestine

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that also includes the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River. Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term "Holy Land" usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel, the Palestinian territories, western Jordan, and parts of southern Lebanon and of southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all regard it as holy.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

Near Eastern archaeology is a regional branch of the wider, global discipline of archaeology. It refers generally to the excavation and study of artifacts and material culture of the Near East from antiquity to the recent past.

The scientific techniques used are the same as those used in general archaeology, such as excavation and radiocarbon dating.

Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.


Mosaic from a Byzantine Church dating from the 5th century, from Kh. Breikut, just north of Beit Fajjar. Mosaics are one of the main elements studied by biblical archaeology. Mosaic 5 century.JPG
Mosaic from a Byzantine Church dating from the 5th century, from Kh. Breikut, just north of Beit Fajjar. Mosaics are one of the main elements studied by biblical archaeology.

In order to understand the significance of biblical archaeology it is first necessary to understand two basic concepts: archaeology as a scientific framework and the Bible as an object for research. Archaeology is a science, not in the Aristotelian sense of cognitio certa per causas but in the modern sense of systematic knowledge. [1] Vicente Vilar expands on this point by stating that archaeology is both art and science: as an art it searches for the material remains of ancient civilizations and tries to reconstruct, as far as possible, the environment and the organizations of one or many historical epochs; [1] as a relatively recent modern science, and as Benesch has said, it is a science that is barely 200 years old but that has, however, substantially changed our ideas about the past. [2]

Scientific method Interplay between observation, experiment and theory in science

The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.

Object (philosophy) Technical term in modern philosophy often used in contrast to the term subject

An object is a technical term in modern philosophy often used in contrast to the term subject. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For modern philosophers like Descartes, consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject—which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts—and some object(S) that may be considered as not having real or full existence or value independent of the subject who observes it. Metaphysical frameworks also differ in whether they consider objects existing independently of their properties and, if so, in what way.

Research systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge

Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc. The scientific study of research practices is known as meta-research.

It might be thought that archaeology would have to disregard the information contained within religions and many philosophical systems. However, apart from the great deal of factual material that they provide such as places of worship, holy objects and other scientifically observable things, there are other aspects that are equally important for scientific archaeological investigation such as religious texts, rites, customs and traditions. Myths are commonly used by archaeologists and historians as clues to events or places that have become hidden in the background, a process that Rudolf Bultmann calls "demythification" – the most notable example being Homer’s poems and the myth-infused city of Troy. This contemporary perception of the myth, mainly developed by Bultmann, has encouraged scientists such as archaeologists to examine the areas indicated by the biblical tales. [3] [4]

Religious text Texts which religious traditions consider to be central to their practice or beliefs

Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations and by creating or fostering a religious community. The relative authority of religious texts develops over time and is derived from the ratification, enforcement, and its use across generations. Some religious texts are accepted or categorized as canonical, some non-canonical, and others extracanonical, semi-canonical, deutero-canonical, pre-canonical or post-canonical.

A rite is an established, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:

Mores Customary behaviour

The concept of mores refers to social norms that are widely observed and are considered to have greater moral significance than others. Mores include an aversion for societal taboos, such as incest. The mores of a society usually predicate legislation reinforcing their taboos. Often, countries will employ specialized vice squads or vice police to combat specific crimes offending against societal mores.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, holds valuable resources for both scientific and biblical research and exploration. Jerusalem Schrein des Buches BW 1.JPG
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, holds valuable resources for both scientific and biblical research and exploration.

Biblical archaeology is the discipline occupied with the scientific investigation and recovery of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the times and descriptions of the Bible, a broad swathe of time between 2000 BC and 100 AD. [5] Other authors prefer to talk about the "archaeology of Palestine'" and to define the relevant territories as those to the east and west of the River Jordan.[ citation needed ] This indicates that "biblical archaeology" or that of Palestine is circumscribed by the territories that were the backdrop to the biblical stories.

Palestine (region) geographical region in the Middle East

Palestine is a geographic region in Western Asia usually considered to include Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in some definitions, parts of western Jordan.

The raison d'etre of biblical archaeology derives from the fact that it allows an understanding of the peoples that inhabited the Holy Land. It allows an understanding of their history, culture, identity and movements. This makes it possible to know the exact location of the stories and compare them with fact. Regarding this, Pietro Kaswalder has noted that previously the American and Israeli school of biblical archaeology saw archaeology as proof of the veracity of the biblical stories, [6] as can be seen in the work of authors of the stature of William F. Albright, G. Ernest Wright and Yigael Yadin. However, archaeologists today do not try to prove the stories in the Bible, but rather to discover the historical context in which it was written. Using this approach, introduced by Kaswalder, [7] it is possible to shed light on the following, according to the classification presented by the Catalan papyrologist Joan Maria Vernet: [8]


The territory known as the Middle East was without doubt the location of the events that inspired the writing of the biblical texts. Near east lrg.jpg
The territory known as the Middle East was without doubt the location of the events that inspired the writing of the biblical texts.

The geographical area that circumscribes the area of interest for biblical archaeology is obviously the biblical lands, also known as the "Holy Land". There are many points of view regarding the exact extent of this area, however, biblical archaeology specifically concentrates on the Land of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, the area called the southern Levant. Many researchers are also interested in other areas that are mentioned in the biblical tales and which have a great importance for their connecting thread: Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia which are of interest to scientists interested in the Tanakh. Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and Rome have greater connections with the stories from the New Testament.


In the same way that the spatial criteria vary according to the various points of view of the different researchers, there are also a variety of dates that are of interest. Kaswalder comments that:

Periods in biblical archaeology

The following list of periods for Syro-Palestinian archaeology is based on the table provided in Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 33–34 [9] up to the end of the Iron Age, and from the definitions provided by the Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p. 55, for later periods. [10]


The study of biblical archaeology started at the same time as general archaeology and obviously its development relates to the discovery of highly important ancient artifacts.

Stages in the development of biblical archaeology

The development of biblical archaeology has been marked by different periods:

Schools of thought in biblical archaeology

Biblical archaeology is the subject of ongoing debate. One of the sources of greatest dispute is the period when kings ruled Israel and more generally the historicity of the Bible. It is possible to define two loose schools of thought regarding these areas: biblical minimalism and maximalism , depending on whether the Bible is considered to be a non-historical, religious document or not. The two schools are not separate units but form a continuum, making it difficult to define different camps and limits. However, it is possible to define points of difference, although these differences seem to be decreasing over time.

Brief summary of important archaeological sites and findings

The Caves at Qumran, where one of biblical archaeology's most important findings of all time was found, in the valley of the Dead Sea. Cuevas qumran.jpg
The Caves at Qumran, where one of biblical archaeology’s most important findings of all time was found, in the valley of the Dead Sea.
First depiction of Jehu on the Black Obelisk. He is seen prostrating at the feet of King Shalmaneser III. Jehu-on-black-obelisk.jpg
First depiction of Jehu on the Black Obelisk . He is seen prostrating at the feet of King Shalmaneser III.

Selected discoveries

A model reconstruction of the Jerusalem of the 1st century AD, made possible thanks to the findings of Biblical Archaeology. Jerusalem Modell BW 2.JPG
A model reconstruction of the Jerusalem of the 1st century AD, made possible thanks to the findings of Biblical Archaeology.

Detailed lists of objects can be found at the following pages:

Objects with unknown or disproved biblical origins

Biblical archaeology has also been the target of several celebrated forgeries, which have been perpetrated for a variety of reasons. One of the most celebrated is that of the James Ossuary, when information came to light in 2002 regarding the discovery of an ossuary, with an inscription that said " Jacob, son of Joseph and brother of Jesus ". In reality the artifact had been discovered twenty years before, after which it had exchanged hands a number of times and the inscription had been added. This was discovered because it did not correspond to the pattern of the epoch from which it dated. [14]

The objects in the following list generally come from private collections and were often purchased in antiques markets. Their authenticity is highly controversial and in some cases they have been proved to be fakes.

Biblical archaeology and the Catholic Church

The majority of excavations and investigations carried out in the area where the biblical narratives are set mainly have the objective of casting light on the historical, cultural, economic and religious background to the texts, therefore their main objective is not usually proving the veracity of these stories. However, there are some groups that take a more fundamentalist approach and which organize archaeological campaigns with the intention of finding proof that the Bible is factual and that its narratives should be understood as historical events. This is not the official position of the Catholic Church. [19] [20]

Archaeological investigations carried out with scientific methods can offer useful data in fixing a chronology that helps to order the biblical stories. In certain cases these investigations can find the place where these narratives took place. In other cases they can confirm the veracity of the stories. However, in other matters they can question events that have been taken as historical fact, providing arguments that show that certain stories are not historical narratives but belong to a different narrative genre.

In 1943, Pope Pius XII recommended that interpretations of the Scripture take archaeological findings into account in order to discern the literary genres that the Scriptures used. [21]

[...] the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing, so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use. [...]Let those who cultivate biblical studies turn their attention with all due diligence towards this point and let them neglect none of those discoveries, whether in the domain of archaeology or in ancient history or literature, which serve to make better known the mentality of the ancient writers, as well as their manner and art of reasoning, narrating and writing.[...]

Pius XII, Encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, paragraphs 35 and 40

Since this time archaeology has been considered to provide valuable assistance and as an indispensable tool of the biblical sciences.

Expert commentaries

[...]"the purpose of biblical archaeology is the clarification and illumination of the biblical text and content through archaeological investigation of the biblical world."

written by J.K. Eakins in a 1977 essay published in Benchmarks in Time and Culture and quoted in his essay "Archaeology and the Bible, An Introduction".

Archaeologist William G. Dever contributed to the article on "Archaeology" in The Anchor Bible Dictionary . In this article he reiterates his perceptions of the negative effects of the close relationship that has existed between Syro-Palestinian archaeology and biblical archaeology, which has caused the archaeologists working in this field, particularly the American archaeologists, to resist adoption of the new methods of "processual archaeology". In addition he considers that: "Underlying much scepticism in our own field [referring to the adaptation of the concepts and methods of a "new archaeology", one suspects the assumption (although unexpressed or even unconscious) that ancient Palestine, especially Israel during the biblical period, was unique, in some "superhistorical" way that was not governed by the normal principles of cultural evolution". [22]

Dever found that Syro-Palestinian archaeology had been treated in American institutions as a sub discipline of bible studies, where it was expected that American archaeologists would try to "provide valid historical evidence of episodes from the biblical tradition". According to Dever "the most naïve [idea regarding Syro-Palestinian archaeology] is that the reason and purpose of "biblical archaeology" (and, by extrapolation, of Syro-Palestinian archaeology) is simply to elucidate facts regarding the Bible and the Holy Land". [23]

Dever has also written that:

Archaeology certainly doesn't prove literal readings of the Bible...It calls them into question, and that's what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so. [24] [...] From the beginnings of what we call biblical archaeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archaeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the "archaeological revolution." Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archaeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that's very disturbing to some people. [25]

Dever also wrote:

Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the 'larger than life' portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence.... [26] I am not reading the Bible as Scripture... I am in fact not even a theist. My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed 'stories,' often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information... [27]

Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai. [28] [29] [30]

Professor Finkelstein told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on the Exodus, the Jews' wandering in Sinai or Joshua's conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed. [31] Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist, agreed with Israel Finkelstein. [31]

Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:

Really, it’s a myth,... This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem. [32]

Conservative scholars[ who? ] dispute these claims. In his 2001 book The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant? Evangelical Old Testament scholar Walter C. Kaiser Jr. included a chapter entitled, "Does Archaeology Help the Case for Reliability?" [33] Kaiser states:

[T]he study of archaeology has helped illuminate the Bible by casting light on its historical and cultural location. With increasing clarity, the setting of the Bible appears more vividly within the framework of general history.... by fitting biblical history, persons, and events into general history, archaeology has demonstrated the validity of many biblical references and data. It has continued to cast light, whether implicitly or explicitly, on many of the Bible's customs, cultures, and settings during various periods of history. On the other hand, archaeology has also given rise to some real problems with regard to its findings. Thus, its work is an ongoing one that cannot be foreclosed too quickly or used merely as a confirming device. [34]

Kaiser goes on to detail case after case in which the Bible, he says, "has aided in the identification of missing persons, missing peoples, missing customs and settings." [33] He concludes:

This is not to say that archaeology is a cure-all for all the challenges brought to the text--it is not! There are some monstrous problems that remain--some created by the archaeological data itself. But since we have seen so many specific challenges over the years yield to such specific data in favor of the text, a presumption tends to build that we should go with the text until definite contrary information is available. This methodology that says that the text is innocent until proven guilty is not only recommended as a good procedure for American jurisprudence, but it is recommended in the area of examining the claims of the Scripture as well. [35]

Excavations and surveys

The following is a summary of important excavations and surveys:

YearSiteBiblical nameExcavated byComment
'rediscovered' Petra on August 22, 1812. Al Khazneh Al Khazneh Johann Ludwig Burckhardt Al Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic : الخزنة) is one of the most elaborate buildings in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.
1841SurveyN/a Edward Robinson Robinson's Biblical Researches in Palestine, the Sinai, Petrae and Adjacent Regions, based on his survey of the Near East conducted over several years, proposed biblical names for modern sites.
1871–77SurveyN/a Charles Warren The Survey of Western Palestine, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, reflected Warren's detailed field surveys in Palestine and especially the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Major discoveries included the foundation stones of Herod's Temple, the first Iron Age Hebrew inscriptions (jar handles with LMLK seals), and water shafts under the City of David.
1890 Tell el-Hesi Eglon Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie The site was believed at the time to be the biblical Lachish, but is now commonly identified with Eglon. Petrie noticed strata exposed by waterflow adjacent to the site, and popularized details of pottery groups excavated therefrom. This marked the introduction of scientific stratigraphy to Palestinian archaeology.
1891–92Tell el-HesiEglon Frederick J. Bliss N/a
1898–1900Tell es-Safi Gath? Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister N/a
1898–1900 Az-Zakariyya Azekah? Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister N/a
1898–1900 Tell ej-Judeideh Moresheth-Gath or Libnah? Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister N/a
1898–1900Tell Sandahannah Mareshah? Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister N/a
1902–3, 1907–9GezerGezer R.A.S. Macalister The Gezer calendar was discovered on the surface during this excavation.
1902–4Taanach Taanach Ernst Sellin N/a
1903–5Megiddo Megiddo Gottlieb Schumacher N/a
1905–7Galilee Galilee Herman Kohl, Ernst Sellin, and Carl Watzinger A survey of ancient synagogues
1907–9Shechem Shechem Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger N/a
1908, 1910–1Samaria Samaria David G. Lyon, Clarence S. Fisher, and George A. Reisner N/a
1911–3Beth Shemesh Beth Shemesh Duncan Mackenzie N/a
1921–3, 1925–8, 1930–3 Beth Shean Beth Shean Clarence S. Fisher, Alan Rowe, and Gerald M. FitzgeraldN/a
1922–3 Tell el-Ful Gibeah? William F. Albright N/a
1925–39 Megiddo Megiddo Clarence S. Fisher, P.L.O. Guy, and Gordon LoudN/a
1926, 1928, 1930, 1932 Tell Beit Mirsim Eglon or DebirKirjath Sepher? William F. Albright N/a
1926–7, 1929, 1932, 1935 excavated Tell en-Nasbeh Mizpah in Benjamin William Frederic Badè N/a
1928–33 Beth Shemesh Beth Shemesh Elihu Grant N/a
1930–6 excavated Tell es-Sultan Battle of Jericho John Garstang Suggested that remains of the upper wall was the wall described in the Bible, and dated to around 1400 BCE. [36]
1931–3, 1935 excavated Samaria Samaria John Winter Crowfoot N/a
1932–38 Lachish Lachish James L. StarkeyThe excavation was terminated when Starkey was killed by armed Arabs [37] near Hebron while on his way to the opening ceremonies of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem
1936–40 Beit She'arim Beit She'arim Benjamin Mazar N/a
1948–50, 1952–5 excavated Jaffa N/aJacob KaplanN/a
1952–1958 excavated Tell es-Sultan Battle of Jericho Kathleen Kenyon Site very much older than putative dates of Conquest of Canaan. [38]
1954, 1959–62 excavated Ramat Rahel N/a Yohanan Aharoni N/a
1955–8, 1968 Hazor Hazor Yigael Yadin N/a
1956–7, 1959–60, 1962 excavated Gibeon Gibeon James B. Pritchard N/a
1961–7 excavated ) Jerusalem (City of David)N/a Kathleen Kenyon N/a
1962–7 Arad Arad Yohanan Aharoni and Ruth Amiran N/a
1962–3, 1965–72 Ashdod Ashdod Moshe DothanN/a
1963–5 excavated Masada N/a Yigael Yadin N/a
1964–74 Gezer Gezer G. Ernest Wright, William G. Dever, and Joe D. Seger N/a
1968–78 Jerusalem (southwest corner of the Temple Mount) Temple Mount Benjamin Mazar N/a
1969–76 Beersheba Beersheba Yohanan Aharoni and Ze'ev Herzog N/a
1969–82 Jerusalem (Jewish Quarter) Jerusalem Nahman Avigad N/a
1973–94 Lachish Lachish David Ussishkin N/a
1975–82AroerAroer Avraham Biran Aroer is an Israelite town in the Negev Desert, not to be confused with the Moabite Aroer located in Jordan
1977–9, 1981–9 Timnah Timnah Amihai Mazar and George L. Kelm N/a
1978–85 Jerusalem (City of David) Jerusalem Yigal ShilohN/a
1979–80 Ketef Hinnom N/a Gabriel Barkay N/a
1966–1972 Et-Tell AiJoseph A. Callaway
1981–2, 1984–8, 1990, 1992–6 Ekron Ekron Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin N/a
1989–96 Beit-Shean Beit-Shean Amihai Mazar N/a
1994–ongoing Megiddo Megiddo Israel Finkelstein and Eric H. Cline N/a
1996–2002, 2004–ongoing Tell es-Safi (identified as biblical Gath of the Philistines) Gath Aren Maeir N/a
1997– Tel Rehov Amihai Mazar N/a
1999–2001, 2005 Tel Zayit Libnah Ron TappyN/a
2005 Ramat Rahel N/aOded LipschitsN/a
2005 Nahal Tut N/aAmir Gorzalczany and Gerald Finkielsztejn excavatedN/a
2007 Khirbet Qeiyafa N/a Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor N/a

See also

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Bryant G. Wood is a biblical archaeologist and young earth creationist. He is Research Director of Associates for Biblical Research and editor of their quarterly archaeology magazine Bible and Spade, which is explicitly committed to the use of archaeology to demonstrate the historical veracity of the Old and New Testaments. Wood is known for his 1990 proposed redating of the destruction of Jericho to accord with the biblical chronology of c. 1400 BC. His proposal contradicts the dating of c. 1550 BC, as proposed by Kathleen Kenyon and confirmed by carbon-dating.

Battle of Jericho battle

The Battle of Jericho is an incident from the Book of Joshua, being the first battle fought by the Israelites in the course of the conquest of Canaan. According to Joshua 6:1–27, the walls of Jericho fell after the Israelites marched around the city blowing their trumpets, but excavations at Tell es-Sultan, the biblical Jericho, have failed to substantiate the story, which has its origins in the nationalist propaganda of much later kings of Judah and their claims to the territory of the Kingdom of Israel. The lack of archaeological evidence and the composition history and theological purposes of the Book of Joshua have led archaeologists like William G. Dever to characterise the story of the fall of Jericho as "invented out of whole cloth."

William G. Dever is an American archaeologist, specialising in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times. He was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1975 to 2002. He is a Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. He is married to Dr. Pamela Gaber, professor of Old Testament and Judaic Studies at Lycoming College.

Levantine archaeology Archaeological study of the Levant

Levantine archaeology is the archaeological study of the Levant. It is also known as Syro-Palestinian archaeology or Palestinian archaeology. Current archaeological digs are carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), or else the Palestinian Authority's (PA) Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity, working under the auspices of the IAA. Besides its importance to the discipline of Biblical archaeology, the Levant is highly important when forming an understanding of the history of the earliest peoples of the Stone Age. The Palestinian Authority prohibits unrestricted excavation at sites of archaeological importance.

Biblical archaeology school The school of archaeology which concerns itself with the biblical world

Biblical archaeology, occasionally known as Palestinology is the school of archaeology which concerns itself with the biblical world.

Tell Balata

Tell Balata is the site of the remains of an ancient Canaanite/Israelite city located in the Palestinian West Bank. The built-up area of Balata, a Palestinian village and suburb of Nablus, covers about one-third of the tell, and overlooks a vast plain to the east. The Palestinian village of Salim is located 4.5 kilometers (2.8 mi) to the east.

Solomons Temple Legendary temple described in the Hebrew Bible

According to the Hebrew Bible, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE and its subsequent replacement with the Second Temple in 516 BCE. The period in which the First Temple presumably, or actually, stood in Jerusalem, is known in academic literature as the First Temple period.

Seymour Gitin is an American archaeologist specializing in ancient Israel, known for his excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron. He was the director of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (AIAR) in Jerusalem from 1980 to 2014.

The Book of Joshua lists almost 400 ancient Levantine city names which refer to over 300 distinct locations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Each of those cities, with minor exceptions is placed in one of the 12 regions, according to the tribes of Israel and in most cases additional details like neighbouring towns or geographical landmarks are provided. It has been serving as one of the primary sources for identifying and locating a number of Middle Bronze to Iron Age Levantine cities mentioned in ancient Egyptian and Canaanite documents, most notably in the Amarna correspondence.


  1. 1 2 Vilar, Vicente. Archeologia della Palestina. Enciclopedia della Bibbia, Turin, Elledici, 1969, vol I, p. 672. (in Italian)
  2. Kurt Benesch: Past to discover cited by J.M. Vernet in his "Curso Básico de Arqueología Bíblica", Teologado Salesiano Internacional de Ratisbonne, Jerusalén, 2001 (in Italian).
  3. R. Bultmann, Nuovo Testamento e mitología, p. 203 (in Italian)
  4. Cf. L. Randellini, voce Demitizzazione, in Enciclopedia delle Religioni, vol. 2, Milan, Jaca Book, 1994, coll. 623-635; Id., Bultmann’s hermeneutics condemn K. Barth and the existentialist interpretation that he applies to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (K. Barth, L'Epistola ai Romani): cfr. R. Maré, o.c., pp. 36-41; J.M. Robinson, La Nuova Ermeneutica, pp. 34-35. 41-47 (In Italian)
  5. Volkmar Fritz, Introduzione all'archeologia biblica (tr. en. Introduction to biblical archaeology), pp 13-19
  6. Pietro Kaswalder, "L`archeologia biblica e le origini di Israele" (tr. en. Biblical archaeology and the origins of Israel), in Rivista Biblica 41, pp. 171-188, 1993.
  7. El archaeologist Father Pietro Kaswalder, O.F.M. is professor of Old Testament exegesis and archaeology at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem.
  8. J.M. Vernet, "Basic Course in Biblical Archaeology ", International Silesian Theologate of Ratisbonne, Jerusalem, 2001 (in Italian), p. 5
  9. Cline, E.H. (2009). "3". Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (1 ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN   978-0-19-534263-5.
  10. Mills and Bullard, 1990, p. 55.
  11. Not to be confused with Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, the Scottish physicist and Nobel Prize winner.
  12. "Find a dig: Biblical Archaeology Society". Cited April 18, 2016.
  13. R. Dennis Cole, "Recent Developments in Biblical Archaeology," The Theological Educator, 49 (Spring 1994): 51-64. Cited April 18, 2016.
  14. Forgers "tried to rewrite biblical history", Conal Urquhart, The Guardian, Friday 31 December 2004.
  15. Narkas website
  16. NZ man’s hunt for Noah’s Ark hits a rocky patch, The New Zealand Herald, 10 November 2004.
  17. Shafer Parker Jr. (May 6, 2013). "Science Shines New Light on Shroud of Turin's Age". Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  18. R.N Rogers, "Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin", Thermochimica Acta, Vol. 425, 2005, pp. 189–194, article; S. Benford, J. Marino, "Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud", Chemistry Today, vol 26 n 4 / July–August 2008, p. 4-12, article Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine ; Emmanuel Poulle, ″Les sources de l'histoire du linceul de Turin. Revue critique″, Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique , 2009/3-4, Abstract Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine ; G. Fanti, F. Crosilla, M. Riani, A.C. Atkinson, "A Robust statistical analysis of the 1988 Turin Shroud radiocarbon analysis", Proceedings of the IWSAI, ENEA, 2010.
  19. Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible, Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 5 October 2005,
  20. The Gift of Scripture, Party Two, Section 14 The truth of Scripture, p17 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, 2005,
  21. Pius XII (30 September 1943). "Divino Afflante Spiritu Encyclical Of Pope Pius Xi On Promoting Biblical Studies" . Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  22. Dever, p. 357
  23. Dever, p. 358
  24. Bible gets a reality check, MSNBC Archived 2009-12-23 at the Wayback Machine , Alan Boyle
  25. The Bible's Buried Secrets, PBS Nova, 2008
  26. Dever, William G. (March–April 2006). "The Western Cultural Tradition Is at Risk". Biblical Archaeology Review. 32 (2): 26 & 76.
  27. Dever, William G. (January 2003). "Contra Davies". The Bible and Interpretation. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  28. The Nature of Home: A Lexicon of Essays, Lisa Knopp, p. 126
  29. Deconstructing the walls of Jericho Archived December 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  30. "Deconstructing the walls of Jericho / By Ze'ev Herzog". 29 October 1999. Archived from the original on 10 November 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  31. 1 2 "Senior Israeli archaeologist casts doubt on Jewish heritage of Jerusalem – Middle East Monitor". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  32. Did the Red Sea Part? No Evidence, Archaeologists Say, The New York Times, April 3, 2007
  33. 1 2 Kaiser, 2001, p. 97-108.
  34. Kaiser, 2001, p. 98.
  35. Kaiser, 2001, p. 108.
  36. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (13 February 1995). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 275–. ISBN   978-0-8028-3781-3 . Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  37. UN Archives [ permanent dead link ] REPORT by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and Trans-Jordan for the year 1938
  38. Miriam C. Davis (2008). Dame Kathleen Kenyon: digging up the Holy Land. Left Coast Press. pp. 101–. ISBN   978-1-59874-326-5 . Retrieved 9 July 2011.


Further reading