Many of my students are fascinated by biblical archaeology. Although many archeologists today are reluctant to use the work “biblical” together with “archeology,” the fact remains that pastors, seminary students, and lay people in general continue to believe that archaeological work done in the land of the Bible is “biblical archeology.”
Two recent archaeological discoveries have produced much discussion and have already generated a vast amount of literature. Those readers who have not yet had an opportunity to read about these discoveries should follow the links posted below and read about these amazing discoveries.
The first discovery happened, of all places, in a prison in Megiddo. Prisoners who were digging the ground to prepare a foundation for an extension to the prison, uncovered the ruins of what may be described as the earliest Christian church in the land of Israel. The mosaic on the floor of the church has inscriptions in Greek and is dated to the third century A. D. Archaeologists agree that the remains are that of a Christian church. To read the article and see the pictures, click here.
The second discovery was discovered at the site of Tel Zayit, a place south of Jerusalem. The discovery consists of some writings on the wall of an ancient building. The writing, an abecedary, was probably the work of a scribe who was practicing writing the Hebrew alphabet. After studying the position of the letters, archaeologists have dated the abecedary to the 10th century B.C. To read the article, click here.
These two archaeological discoveries can be of exceptional importance in the study of the earliest Christian traditions and the cultural life of early Israel. The value of these discoveries, saved from the oblivion of the past, will depend on further research and evaluation by scholars who specialize in studying history. For a good evaluation of the Tel Zayit’s discovery, read Dr. Cathey’s blog by clicking here.
The importance of archaeological work in the biblical lands cannot be overestimated. For many years now, archaeologists have been recovering a large amount of information from the remains of biblical sites. More is yet to come.
Working on an archeological dig in Israel can be a life-changing experience. It is hard work, but the kind of work that can bring great rewards and a new appreciation for the people of antiquity.
The recent volume of the Biblical Archeology Review (BAR) lists all the 2006 digs. Those archaeologists leading the digs are looking for volunteers who want to participate in one of the excavations. If you are interested in digging in Israel next summer, read the BAR or visit their web by clicking here. The article in the BAR describes the different digs and provides information for volunteers who want to work on a dig. Who knows? You may be the one to make the next great discovery.
Professor of Old Testament