The Millo: Jerusalem’s Lost Monument

Have archaeologists been looking in the wrong place for the Millo, one of Jerusalem’s most important and ancient biblical monuments? We believe the Millo—a structure that the Bible lists alongside the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palaces of David and Solomon (1 Kings 9:15)—was not a constructed foundation or massive retaining wall, as many […]

Archaeology in the Land of Midian: Excavating the Qurayyah Oasis

Located in northwest Saudi Arabia, Midian has long been a land of biblical legend. In the 1800s, Western travelers and explorers described Midian as the desert wilderness that Moses and the Israelites crossed during their Exodus travels en route to the Promised Land. It was also the desert where Moses met and married Zipporah, the […]

Jesus in the Synagogue

Archaeologists have now uncovered 16 synagogues from the early Roman period. These assembly halls inform our understanding of Jewish communal and religious life in Galilee and Judea, including locales where Jesus lived and taught. Explore the biblical and archaeological evidence for the significant role that synagogues played in Jesus’s ministry.

The Rise of the Maccabees

The year is 150 BCE. For all who live in the southern Levant, life is calm and prosperous. Along the coast are busy ports whose harbors welcome ships carrying imported wine, exotic foodstuffs, and fancy tablewares. People’s homes boast luxurious interior décor: brightly painted walls, mosaic floors, stone furniture, etc. Commercial exchange, imported goods, comfortable […]

Yahweh or Baal—Who Was the God of Northern Israel?

The Hebrew Bible presents King Omri of Israel and his heirs (the Omride dynasty) as devotees of the Phoenician storm god Baal, whose name literally means “lord.” Whereas King Omri’s son Ahab and his Tyrian queen Jezebel sponsor Baal’s worship and seek to exterminate Yahweh’s prophets (1 Kings 16; 18–19), the prophet Elijah, whose own […]

The House of Peter: Capernaum or Bethsaida?

As BAR readers know, archaeologist Mordechai Aviam and I believe the site of El-Araj, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee near the estuary of the Jordan River, is biblical Bethsaida, remembered in the Gospel of John as the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, and Philip (1:44).a Our excavations at El-Araj have […]

Jeremiah’s Journey to Egypt

Following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the prophet Jeremiah opted to spend his final years in Egypt. Although the Book of Jeremiah names a few of the places the prophet passed along his journey to Egypt, the precise route he took is never described. See how recent archaeological and geological evidence finally confirms the road that Jeremiah traveled.

David and Solomon’s Invisible Kingdom

For some, archaeology proves that David and Solomon ruled over a powerful kingdom made up of walled, well-fortified cities and towns, places like Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, and more recently, Khirbet Qeiyafa. For others, the same archaeology shows that their kingdom wasn’t much of a kingdom at all—and certainly nothing like the great power described in […]

Constantinople: Christianity’s First Capital

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and one of the only cities in the world to straddle two continents: Europe and Asia. It is also one of the only cities in the world that served as the seat of two major civilizations: the Byzantine Empire (330–1453 CE) and the Ottoman Empire (1423–1922). The name Istanbul, however, […]

Hard Power: The Stone Statues of Ammon

Ammon was the northernmost of the Transjordanian kingdoms, formed at the beginning of the tenth century BCE in the highlands east of the Jordan Valley. To the south lay Ammon’s sister kingdoms, Moab and Edom. Far to the north was the kingdom of Aram-Damascus. Israel and Judah lay to the west of the Jordan Valley […]

Who Lived at Hazor?

Hazor was the largest Canaanite city during the Bronze Age—and remembered as “the head of all those kingdoms” in Joshua 11:10. Could only the wealthy afford to live within its massive walls, or did average people also call the city home? Explore its population over time with archaeologist Shlomit Bechar.

Jerusalem’s Temple Treasures: Where Did They Go?

For thousands of years, people have hunted for the lost treasures of the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. The story begins about 2,500 years ago, when several biblical accounts—2 Kings 25:13-17, 2 Chronicles 36:18-19, and Jeremiah 52:17-23—narrate the removal of treasures from the First Temple by the invading Babylonian armies. Most of these Temple […]

Were Temple Offerings Buried at Qumran?

We typically think of cemeteries as places where people bury deceased family members and loved ones. But in the first century BCE, the inhabitants of Qumran, the famous site associated with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, also buried something else in their cemetery: sealed pottery […]

Warrior Women: Deborah and Yael Found at Huqoq

The print version of this article contains images that could not be published online. Click here for a PDF, which includes images.

Set in Stone? Another Look at the Mesha Stele

The Mesha Stele might contain a reference to the “House of David.” Some scholars believe this reading can now be confirmed, thanks to new photographic evidence, as published in the Winter 2022 issue of BAR. However, others disagree. Take another look at the Mesha Stele, a ninth-century BCE Moabite victory stela, and see if the reading of the “House of David” is indeed set in stone.

The Amorites and the Bible

In the Bible, the Amorites are frequently mentioned among Canaan’s original inhabitants, those who lived in the land before the Israelites. Yet the Amorites received a pointed condemnation unlike any reserved for another group. They are called out for their impure religious practices and deviant gods (e.g., Genesis 15:16; Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 21:26). Who […]