Jericho Was Destroyed in the Middle Bronze Age, Not the Late Bronze Age

In “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence,” BAR 16:02, Bryant Wood argued that the destruction level at Jericho (John Garstang’s City IV), previously dated by Kathleen Kenyon to the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1550 B.C.), should be dated to the end of Late Bronze I […]

Ekron of the Philistines
How they lived, worked and worshiped for five hundred years By Trude Dothan, Seymour Gitin

The first joint American-Israeli archaeological expedition was conceived on a hot summer’s afternoon in 1980. Seymour Gitin, director of the William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, and Ernest Frerichs, the Albright president, were having tea with Hebrew University professor Trude Dothan at her home in Jerusalem. We were discussing joint American-Israeli academic programs. […]

Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion

I believe that the famous Church of the Apostles, intended to mark the site where the apostles prayed when they returned from the Mount of Olives after witnessing Christ’s post-resurrection ascent to heaven (Acts 1:1–13), can still be found on the southwestern hill of Jerusalem, today called Mt. Zion. This was also the […]

Ekron of the Philistines, Part I: Where They Came From, How They Settled Down and the Place They Worshiped In

The accumulated evidence from recent excavations at Miqne and other sites and current research on the material culture of the Philistines and other Sea Peoples make the time ripe for a reassessment of the initial appearance and settlement in Canaan of this enigmatic people. Critical to any such reassessment is the understanding that cultural […]

Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski Is Wrong on All Counts

Piotr Bienkowski has challenged the results of my analysis of the date of the destruction of the fortified Bronze Age city at Jericho, maintaining that Kathleen Kenyon’s date of about 1550 B.C.E.a is correct and should be retained.

The Dead Sea Scroll Monopoly Must Be Broken

“Why won’t the scholars assigned to edit the Dead Sea Scrolls allow anyone to see photographs of the unpublished manuscripts?” That is the question that almost immediately arises in any discussion of the Dead Sea Scroll scandal. We have no good answer. Indeed, we don’t think there is one. Our usual answer is, “You really ought to ask the scroll editors.”

Did Philip Baptize the Eunuch at Ein Yael?

Acts 8:26–40 recounts the conversion and baptism of the minister of Ethiopia’s Queen Candace by Philip the evangelist:

Israeli Oversight Committee Takes Charge

A new actor has suddenly appeared on the stage of the drama known as the Dead Sea Scroll Publication Scandal—an Israeli oversight committee. Although the committee has been in existence for some time, it was largely inactive. Indeed, it never even met until last fall.a Now, however, it is taking charge.


In The Time Machine, H. G. Wells took his fictional Time Traveler to the future, but we suspect that readers of BAR would prefer to visit the past, especially the Biblical past. Now you can! You can walk in the footsteps of Jesus along the long-buried streets of Bethsaida, stand in a Middle Bronze […]

How Ancient Man First Utilized the Rivers in the Desert

In Rivers in the Desert, the famous American archaeologist and rabbi Nelson Glueck reported the results of his archaeological site survey in the Negev Desert from 1952 to 1964. Glueck himself explains the allure that drew him to this work: “A blank space on a historical map is a constant challenge to the explorer […]

3,200-Year-Old Picture of Israelites Found in Egypt

Winter of 1976–1977. I was in Luxor, in Upper Egypt, site of the ancient city of Thebes. As a member of the University of Chicago’s Epigraphic Survey, I was there studying the magnificent reliefs and recording the hieroglyphic inscriptions that almost cover the site. In my spare time, I would work collecting whatever […]

A Visit with M. Jozef T. Milik, Dead Sea Scroll Editor

It had been almost 32 years since I last saw Jozef T. Milik. We were in Jerusalem, and we had both been working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. My work consisted of helping to prepare a concordance of the non-Biblical texts from Cave 4 by placing each word of these texts on a 4-by-5 […]

Cross and Milik Fail to Meet Deadline in New “Suggested Timetable” for Dead Sea Scroll Completion

In January 1989, the Israel Department of Antiquities released a “Suggested Timetable” for publication of all still-secret Dead Sea Scrolls. The “Suggested Timetable” called for completion of 21 categories of texts between 1989 and 1996.

Leading Dead Sea Scroll Scholar Denounces Delay

One of the world’s preeminent Dead Sea Scroll authorities, who at one time had full access to all the fragments, including those still unpublished, has roundly condemned the continuing delay in releasing the full texts. Speaking at a colloquium honoring Sam Iwry of Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore Hebrew University, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., […]

Glorious Beth-Shean
Huge new excavation uncovers the largest and best-preserved Roman/Byzantine city in Israel

Archaeologically speaking, Beth-Shean refers to two major sites. The first is a tell, a magnificent mound rising from the plain: Biblical Beth-Shean on whose walls the Philistines displayed the mutilated bodies of King Saul and his sons, whom they had killed in battle at nearby Mt. Gilboa. In the shadow of the tell […]

Five Ways to Conquer a City

In the spring of 1843, Paul-Emile Botta, the French consul at Mosul in present-day Iraq, invited Austen Henry Layard, then 26 years old and the British ambassador’s secretary in Constantinople, to join him at a site Botta thought was ancient Nineveh: “Come, I pray you,” Botta wrote, “and let us have a little archaeological […]

Absorbing Archaeology at the Jerusalem Congress

A congress on Biblical archaeology can’t help but be successful in Jerusalem. The subject seeps from Jerusalem’s stones. And the Second International Congress on Biblical Archaeology, held between June 24 and July 4, 1990, was indeed successful.a Imagine: The festive opening held in the ancient Citadel of the Old City, a structure dating […]

Celebrating at the Annual Meeting

Two silver anniversaries were celebrated at the Annual Meetinga in Anaheim last November. The first was the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of the Anchor Bible series, celebrated with a dinner honoring editor David Noel Freedman. More than one-and-a-half million copies of the various volumes in the Anchor Bible series […]

Sussita Awaits the Spade
The largest archaeological site on the east bank of the Sea of Galilee was once a thriving city of the Decapolis By Vassilios Tzaferis

Most stories in BAR are about sites that have been excavated. In fact, I can’t recall a single story about a place that hadn’t been extensively excavated. This story—about Sussita/Hippos, in the Galilee—may be a first. Of course, a scholar must be very careful when writing in BAR. One little slip and someone […]

How to Break a Scholarly Monopoly: The Case of the Gospel of Thomas

BAR has repeatedly urged that photographs of all unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls be published immediately so that—after 35 years—these texts will be available to all scholars.a An American foundation has offered $100,000 to undertake this project.b The scholars who control the texts, however, have firmly rejected this proposal. They argue that if these photographs […]

Small Inventions? They Changed How People Lived in the Hellenistic Age

Knowledge and technology have advanced throughout history in uneven spasms. The Neolithic dawn (eighth to seventh millennia B.C.E.a) was one such time. The Italian Renaissance (14th century C.E.) was another. Between these two spikes in the graph was the Hellenistic period (336–44 B.C.E.),b in many ways greater than both. The Italian Renaissance, for […]

Prize Find: Pomegranate Scepters and Incense Stand with Pomegranates Found in Priest’s Grave

BAR recently published a beautifully carved ivory pomegranate with an important inscription on it.a As partially reconstructed, the engraved inscription around the neck of the pomegranate reads as follows: “Belonging to the House of Yahweh, Holy to the Priests.” Based on this reading, many scholars have concluded that the ivory pomegranate originally came […]

The Bottleneck of Archaeological Publication

For more than 40 years, I have been studying the ancient Near East and its cultures through archaeology. I have been especially interested in the documents that have been uncovered—mostly cuneiform tablets. My aim has been to make the results known both for their own sake and for their relation to the Bible. […]

Polydactylism in the Ancient World

Richard D. Barnett died on July 29, 1986. This article has been adapted from an unfinished scholarly paper published posthumously in the Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society (volume 6, 1986–1987) and is published here with the permission of Mrs. Barbara Barnett. (The annual Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society publishes lectures given to […]

How I Almost Climbed Cheops’ Pyramid

When I was 15 years old, my hero was Richard Halliburton—a Princeton graduate who in 1922, at age 22, had bummed around the world, visiting such then-exotic places as Ceylon, Tibet and French Indochina. He did the exciting, even the forbidden. He slept overnight in a restricted area of the heavily guarded Rock […]

Volunteer’s Report: Searching for the Phoenicians in Sardinia

Tharros, the site of an ancient city in Sardinia, is best approached by sea. A scattering of ruins near a small village, it lies on a tiny peninsula that hangs south off the western coast of the island. The site’s easily defensible location and its ample harbor on the Bay of Oristano have shaped […]

The Difference Between Scholarly Mistakes and Scholarly Concealment: The Case of MMT

Mistakes in scholarship are inevitable. When they occur, they can lead other scholars into further error. One error begets another. I recently read a fascinating article, by a young graduate student at Hebrew University named Yosef Garfinkel, about an error made by the great Biblical archaeologist William F. Albright.1 Nearly 60 years ago, Albright […]

Epigraphy in Crisis—Dating Ancient Semitic Inscriptions

Joan Scheuer’s fascinating volunteer report in the January/February issue (“Searching for the Phoenicians in Sardinia,” BAR 16:01) was especially interesting to me as a student of paleography. She describes a very important Phoenician inscription, known as the Nora Fragment, and explains how Professor Frank Cross of Harvard is able to date the Phoenician presence […]

Ekron of the Philistines, Part II: Olive-Oil Suppliers to the World

In “Ekron of the Philistines,” BAR 16:01, Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin introduced us to the rich history of ancient Ekron (modern-day Tel Miqne)—the Philistine city described in Joshua 13:2–3 as part of “the land that yet remains” to be taken by the Israelites. The city, one of the largest Iron Age sites in […]

“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”—What It Really Means

It is one of the fundamental commandments of the Torah (the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses). It is exemplary of Jewish morality, and it very early characterized the Christian faith as well. For 2,000 years, however, it has been misinterpreted.

Archaeology and the Bible—Understanding Their Special Relationship

The following article has been adapted from Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research, by William G. Dever (Seattle: Univ of Washington Press, 1990). As a matter of principal Professor Dever does not write for BAR (see his letter, “Bill Dever Responds,” Queries & Comments, BAR 13:04). He does not object, however, to our printing […]

Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence

The story of the Israelite conquest of Jericho (Joshua 2–6) is one of the best known and best loved in the entire Bible. The vivid description of faith and victory has been a source of inspiration for countless generations of Bible readers. But did it really happen as the Bible describes it? The […]

Computers and the Bible

Computers promise to revolutionize how we study the Bible. The last decade has witnessed the development of a variety of Bible-related programs—simple games for children, vocabulary drills for students of Hebrew and Greek, sermon preparation, sophisticated concordances, lectionary software, computer-assisted learning, church management software, multilingual Greek and Hebrew word processors and much more. Here […]

First Person: New Life for an Old Theory
David’s general may have infiltrated Jerusalem via the water tunnels, after all By Hershel Shanks