Archaeology Gives New Reality to Paul’s Ephesus Riot

How accurate is Luke’s account of the Ephesus riot described in Acts 19:23–41? Excavations at the site bring this Biblical event to reality in a new way—from inscriptions and figurines of the goddess Artemis to the theater where the riot took place.

Digs 2016: Passport to the Biblical World

Each summer, volunteers from around the world come to Israel and Jordan to participate in archaeological digs. Grab your passport and join BAR as we visit four digs that will open a portal to the storied world of the Bible and our ancient past. And learn about this year’s exciting excavation opportunities with our new dig map!

Arabia or Africa: Where Is the Land of Sheba?

The meeting of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is described in the Bible. Bringing exquisite gifts, the Queen of Sheba came from an exotic land—but where exactly? Ethiopians claim the Queen of Sheba as part of their heritage, but archaeological and historical sources document a Kingdom of Saba (Sheba) during Biblical times in modern-day Yemen. Who has the rightful claim to the Queen of Sheba?

The Hittites: Between Tradition and History

Archaeology tells us a lot about the Hittites—and the Neo-Hittites too. But it’s hard to reconcile this with the Hittites of the Bible.

Ammon, Moab and Edom: Gods and Kingdoms East of the Jordan

During the Iron Age, when Israel and Judah ruled Canaan, the kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom ruled east of the Jordan River. They and their gods are featured in the Bible. Recent archaeological discoveries vastly increase our understanding of these kingdoms and their religion.

Exodus Evidence: An Egyptologist Looks at Biblical History

Does archaeological evidence connect with Israel’s Exodus from Egypt—a central event in the Bible? Egyptian artifacts and sites show that the Biblical text does indeed recount accurate memories from the period to which the Exodus is generally assigned.

The Interrupted Search for King David’s Palace

Eilat Mazar was forced to put her excavation of what may be King David’s palace on hold to excavate the collapsing Northern Tower. Her amazing discoveries were worth it.

How Biblical Hebrew Changed

Did the language of the Bible—Biblical Hebrew—evolve over time? Professor Avi Hurvitz argues there are three distinct forms of Biblical Hebrew, each one corresponding to certain parts of the Bible and other ancient texts.

Archaeologists on Crutches
Yoram Tsafrir (1938–2015) and Adam Zertal (1936–2015) By Benny Arubas, Shay Bar, Hershel Shanks

Two eminent Israeli archaeologists, Yoram Tsafrir and Adam Zertal, recently passed away. Connected in death as in life, both triumphed over incredible obstacles.

Um el-Kanatir: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Excavations at Um el-Kanatir are unique in that they are not destructive, but rather reconstructive. The almost complete remains of the ancient synagogue nestled into its picturesque setting are proving to be a high-tech puzzler’s dream.

Pigs as an Ethnic Marker? You Are What You Eat

Ancient Israelites didn’t eat pigs. Philistines did. Therefore if you are excavating and find lots of pig bones at your site, it can’t be Israelite—or can it? A new survey brings this conventional wisdom into question with surprising results.

The Lod Mosaic: Jewish, Christian or Pagan?

A series of stunning mosaic floors dated to around 300 C.E. were uncovered in Lod, Israel. Plants, birds, fish and animals are depicted in the mosaics—but no human figures. Who made these mosaics?

“Lost Gospels”—Lost No More

The apocryphal gospels didn’t make the cut. But were they truly rejected, suppressed and destroyed? Until recent times there was no doubt. But now this “truth” may be unraveling. Many early Christians may have regarded these apocryphal texts as sacred.

“And His Brothers Were Jealous of Him”: Surprising Parallels Between Joseph and King Esarhaddon of Assyria

Even though he was not the oldest of his brothers, Esarhaddon was named heir apparent of his father Sennacherib, ruler of the Assyrian empire. But because of his jealous brothers, Esarhaddon had to leave Nineveh and take refuge elsewhere. The pattern of jealous brothers, exile and eventual success is also seen in the Biblical story of Joseph. How does one tale inform the other?

Relics in Rubble: The Temple Mount Sifting Project

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is one of the world’s holiest sites; archaeological excavations are prohibited here. But, in November 1999, the Islamic trust that controls the Islamic structures on the site bulldozed a massive area in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount and dumped the excavated debris into the Kidron Valley. Two archaeologists are running a pioneering project to wet-sift this debris to search for Temple Mount artifacts that have been concealed for centuries.

Ancient Jerusalem: The Village, the Town, the City

Archaeologist Hillel Geva says that population estimates for ancient Jerusalem are too high. His new estimates begin with people living on no more than a dozen acres.

Israelite Footprints
Has Adam Zertal Found the Biblical Altar on Mt. Ebal and the Footprints of the Israelites Settling the Promised Land? By Ralph K. Hawkins

Foot-shaped sites have been found throughout the Jordan Valley, including an extraordinary cultic site on Mt. Ebal. Is this the Israelite altar described in Joshua 8? Were these foot-shaped enclosures built by the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land?

Liberator of the Nag Hammadi Codices

A cache of ancient Christian Gnostic texts was found near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945—two years before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Similar to the situation with the Dead Sea Scrolls, a monopoly of scholars held up the publication of the Nag Hammadi texts and would not permit anyone else to see them. The late Jim Robinson intervened, and by 1970 he had managed to free the Nag Hammadi Codices.

Mysterious Jewish Building in Roman Turkey

Recent excavations in Limyra, Turkey, have uncovered a mysterious building near the city’s east gate. Although the structure has been only partially excavated, Jewish iconography and architectural features have already surfaced. Could it be a synagogue?

How Bad Was the Babylonian Exile?

Was there really weeping from the Judahite exiles by the rivers of Babylon? New evidence suggests that life was actually pretty good for some Judahite deportees and their successors.

What the Temple Mount Floor Looked Like

More than a hundred colorful polished stone tiles have been recovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project. The tiles reveal what the Temple Mount floors looked like in Herod’s time. They were paved in a technique called opus sectile.

From Eden to Ednah—Lilith in the Garden

Who were the original humans that God created in the Garden of Eden: Adam and Eve? Or Adam and Lilith? A close look at the opening chapters of Genesis—and ancient Jewish mythology—may suggest that Lilith came before Eve!

Ivory Pomegranate: Under the Microscope at the Israel Museum

The famous inscribed ivory pomegranate, which, if authentic, may have been the head of a scepter from Solomon’s Temple, has endured decades of debate. Is the inscription real, or is it a forgery? A meeting between world-class paleographers in the summer of 2015 may have settled the debate.

Monastic Views of Work

To the “holy poor” or the “real poor”—that is the question. To whom were alms to be directed? This question divided the early monastic movement in the East. Alms to the “real poor” ultimately traveled west and came to dominate modern Christianity.

Creating Woman

How was the first woman created in Genesis 2? Was she made from the man’s rib or, as recently suggested in BAR, from his os baculum (penis bone)?

A Temple’s Golden Anniversary

Fifty years ago, leading Israeli scholar Michael Avi-Yonah constructed a now-iconic model of the Second Temple destroyed by the Romans. But how accurate is it?

Madras, India
Begram, Afghanistan
Suffolk, England
Gundestrup, Denmark
Hierakonpolis, Egypt
Popayán, Colombia