Three New Views

On June 8, 1967, the Six Day War was at full tilt. The Israel army had taken East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Within hours, Yigael Yadin, Military Advisor to the Prime Minister and world-famous archaeologist, dispatched an Israeli army officer to the East Jerusalem shop of an Arab antiquities dealer who Yadin knew possessed an […]

Ancient Chorazin Comes Back to Life
A Galilee town is reconstructed from fragments By Zeev Yeivin

“Woe unto you, Chorazin!” So says Jesus of this town in the Galilee (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13). Chorazin is one of several Galilean towns condemned because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you Beth-saida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they […]

BAR Interview: Avraham Biran—Twenty Years of Digging at Tel Dan

BAR Editor, Hershel Shanks, interviewed Avraham Biran, director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, in Jerusalem. Hershel Shanks: The name of Avraham Biran is—and will be for generations—inextricably bound up with the name of Tel Dan. When anybody thinks of one, he’s inevitably going to think of the […]

The Monotheism of the Heretic Pharaoh
Precursor of Mosiac monotheism or Egyptian anomaly? By Donald B. Redford

Akhenaten, pharaoh of Egypt for 17 years between 1375 and 1358 B.C., has often been identified as the first monotheist. Beginning with Sigmund Freud, some have suggested that Akhenaten’s monotheism exercised a direct, or possibly indirect, influence on Mosaic monotheism, although Moses probably lived a hundred years or more after Akhenaten. Others have […]

Arad—An Ancient Israelite Fortress with a Temple to Yahweh

The Israelite fortress at Arad is unique in the Land of Israel. It’s the only site excavated with modern archaeological methods that contains a continuous archaeological record from the period of the Judges (c. 1200 B.C.) to the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple (580 B.C.). This distinction promises to make Arad the […]

Lachish—Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan?

It is now more than seven years since my first report to BAR readers on the excavation at Biblical Lachish (“Answers at Lachish,” BAR 05:06). At that time, I primarily discussed Iron Age Lachish, the Lachish of the Judean monarchy. Judean Lachish was twice conquered and destroyed. Lachish Level III was conquered and destroyed […]

Intrigue and the Scroll—Behind the Scenes of Israel’s Acquisition of the Temple Scroll

Were it not for the efforts of the man who got Jerry Falwell started in television, the famous Dead Sea Scroll known as the “Temple Scroll” might never have come to light. At least that is the story according to Reverend Joe Uhrig, now semiretired and living in Virginia. Yigael Yadin, Israel’s foremost Biblical […]

Is the Temple Scroll a Sixth Book of the Torah—Lost for 2,500 Years?

The Temple Scroll is the longest and, in my view, clearly the most important of the preserved Dead Sea Scrolls. It was composed, I believe, as an addition or, still better, a supplement to the Pentateuch, as a sixth book of the Torah, on the same level of authority as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers […]

Cult Stands: A Bewildering Variety of Shapes and Sizes

When the editor of BAR asked me to write an article on Israelite incense stands, I knew that limiting the article to incense stands would make the task almost impossible. Many of the stands he would want me to include—once thought by scholars to be incense stands—were not used for incense at all. But […]

Redating the Exodus

Among Biblical scholars and archaeologists it is almost axiomatic that the Israelites entered Canaan about 1230–1220 B.C. In terms of archaeological periods, this would be towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, for which the Generally Accepted Date (GAD) is 1550–1200 B.C. Yet there are enormous problems with this dating. In recent decades […]

The Saga of Eliashib
Office files found of commander of fort at Arad By Anson F. Rainey

036 Over 20 years ago, I was excavating a room on the south side of the Israelite fortress at Arad—it was the 1964 season—when Miriam Aharoni, wife of the director of the dig, came rushing over to warn us to be especially careful. We were uncovering an archive of old Hebrew letters, she […]

The Gigantic Dimensions of the Visionary Temple in the Temple Scroll

The Temple Scroll and its contents have already been described at some length for BAR readers by the scroll’s editor, the late Yigael Yadin. Until his untimely death in 1984, Professor Yadin was Israel’s most famous archaeologist.a The Temple Scroll is the longest of all the Dead Sea Scrolls (27 feet), and it may […]

The Well at Arad
Excavating the missing link in the water-system of the Israelite fortress By Ruth Amiran, Rolf Goethert, Ornit Ilan

040 Arad is actually a double site—a large and spacious 25-acre Canaanite city and a small, three-quarter-acre Israelite fortress. The ancient sites are situated on a bowl-shaped hill six miles from the attractive, modern, desert city of Arad in the Negev. The Israelite fortress is on the northeastern height of the hill. Below […]

King Solomon’s Wall Still Supports the Temple Mount

“No actual remains of Solomonic Jerusalem have survived,” Dr. Kathleen Kenyon wrote shortly before her death in 1978.1 Most scholars would agree with famous British archaeologist even today. I believe she is wrong. A major Solomonic monument is visible in Jerusalem today for all to see. Indeed, virtually every visitor to Jerusalem does […]

The Mysterious Silver Hoard from Eshtemoa

Twelve miles south of Hebron (the city associated with the patriarch Abraham) lies an Arab village named es-Samoa. As is well known, modern Arab place names often preserve in a variant form an ancient place name that attached to the same spot thousands of years earlier. Es-Samoa is an excellent example of this phenomenon. […]

Temple Architecture: What Can Archaeology Tell Us About Solomon’s Temple?

Solomon’s Temple presents a double puzzle, one old and the other more recent. The first relates to the fact that the Biblical description of the building is not entirely clear and can be interpreted in several ways. The second puzzle relates to the origin of the architecture: What is the architectural source of the […]

Excavation Opportunities 1987

041 To delight in the aspects of sentient ruin might appear a heartless pastime, and the pleasure, I confess, shows a note of perversity. —Henry James, Italian Hours

Name of Deuteronomy’s Author Found on Seal Ring

It was at a party sponsored by the University of Paris in June 1984. We were chatting about nothing in particular when a friend of my husband’s mentioned that he had recently seen some Phoenician antiquities at the home of a Paris collector, more specifically a beautiful ring containing a seal that appeared to […]

The Jerusalem Wall That Shouldn’t Be There
Three major excavations fail to explain controversial remains By Hershel Shanks

An east-west city wall built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century cuts a jagged, horizontal line across the bottom of this photo; from our vantage point in the north, we look south beyond this wall to the Old City, the golden-domed Mosque of Omar and the undulating Judean Hills on the […]

Jesus’ Tomb Depicted on a Byzantine Gold Ring from Jerusalem

In the May/June 1986 BAR, Yaakov Meshorer published for the first time an exquisite gold ring excavated just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (“Ancient Gold Ring Depicts the Holy Sepulchre,” BAR 12:03). According to Meshorer, the bezel of the ring (the part that projects from the finger) is in the form of […]

1986 Annual Meeting
Neolithic statues, God-fearers and a political candidate amidst the maelstrom

Four Days—700 Lectures

Ancient Records and the Exodus Plagues

Twentieth-century Americans find it difficult to comprehend the notion of plagues. Plagues border on the realm of the unreal; they are the stuff of tall tales, myths and legends. But in the Biblical world, plagues were very real, even ever-present. The plagues of pestilence that were visited on Pharaoh and the Egyptians before […]

The Peculiar Headrests for the Dead in First Temple Times

Some peculiarly shaped headrests are carved onto the stone benches of the École Biblique burial caves in Jerusalem. According to Amos Kloner (“Have the Tombs of the Kings of Judah Been Found?” in this issue), these elaborate and elegantly carved caves may actually be the burial chambers of the kings of Judah from the […]

Jeremiah’s Scribe and Confidant Speaks from a Hoard of Clay Bullae

Seldom does archaeology come face to face with people actually mentioned in the Bible. When that happens, the discovery takes on a unique immediacy, touched with awe. When a hoard of inscribed Hebrew bullae surfaced on the antiques market and was found to contain a bulla impressed with the name of Baruch, son of […]

Dever’s “Sermon on the Mound”
Dever proclaims the “New Biblical Archaeology,” but he reaches unsubstantiated conclusions and gratuitously knocks the Bible. By Hershel Shanks

William G. Dever, the world’s leading academic opponent of the term “Biblical archaeology,” has now declared the age of the “New Biblical Archaeology”—and his support of it. Dever, the excavator of the Solomonic gate at Biblical Gezer, former director of the William F. Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and the leading candidate […]

Learning Biblical Languages

You say you would like to learn Hebrew or Greek to help your study of the Bible, but you just can’t memorize thousands of words? Take heart! The necessary vocabulary is smaller than you might imagine.

Have the Tombs of the Kings of Judah Been Found?

In a recent issue of BAR, archaeologists Gabriel Barkay and Amos Kloner described two magnificent burial caves from the First Temple period located just a few hundred yards north of Jerusalem’s old city (“Jerusalem Tombs From the Days of the First Temple,” BAR 12:02). Because these caves are now located on the grounds of […]

Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us About Christian Baptism

Until the discoveries of modern archaeology, we knew about ancient Jewish ritual immersion baths only from literary texts. Now, however, archaeology has provided us with numerous examples of Jewish ritual immersion baths, called miqva’ot (singular, miqveh), dating to the late Second Temple period, prior to and during the time when John the Baptist lived. […]

Radical Exodus Redating Fatally Flawed

In the September/October BAR, John Bimson and David Livingston wrote an article entitled “Redating the Exodus,” BAR 13:05, in which they radically revise a number of generally accepted dates and conclude that the Exodus occurred in the latter half of the 15th century B.C. instead of in the 13th–12th centuries. Part of their argument […]

Jerusalem Model Rediscovered
Reveals minute details of 19th-century Jerusalem By Helen Davis

But for the curiosity, lively intelligence and considerable sleuthing of a group of young scholars, a unique and exquisitely detailed model of Jerusalem in the 1870s might still lie moldering in the basement of a museum in Geneva. Today, however, the completely restored 13-foot by 15-foot zinc model, crafted in 1872 by a Hungarian […]