Joshua’s Altar—An Iron Age I Watchtower

I vividly remember a hot day in late October 1982—October 27, to be exact—when, with two other archaeologists, I first visited Adam Zertal’s excavation on Mt. Ebal. Even then, during the first season of excavation, rumors had spread that Zertal had found “Joshua’s altar.” It seems that from the beginning Zertal really thought he […]

How Can Kempinski Be So Wrong!

Although Dr. Kempinski’s article begins with archaeology, it is quite obvious that his ideological attitude preceded his purely archaeological examination. His ideas about the dating of Deuteronomy and Joshua, together with his “new” ideas concerning how the Pentateuch was “corrected” by the Jews to refer to Mt. Ebal rather than, as the Samaritans originally […]


If vegetating is your summer style, if you fancy yourself languishing on a strip of talcum-powder sand come June, then don’t read on. Because what follows are tips for the energetic and the imaginative—people looking for a challenge. Volunteering as an amateur archaeologist in Israel might give you a chance to uncover a building from the time of Joshua, a sherd that dates back to the reign of Solomon or a tool that could have been used by a contemporary of Jesus.


Tel Dan

First-Hand: Digging at the Grass Roots Level

A ,000-year-old farm may not sound as exciting to excavate as a palace, but I found that exploring ancient agriculture was just as rewarding as digging up royal treasures. With volunteers from all over the world, my archaeological target was three ancient farms in a valley near Jerusalem. These farms were buried under silt, […]

Shiloh Yields Some, But Not All, of Its Secrets
Location of Tabernacle still uncertain By Israel Finkelstein

In the first half of the 11th century B.C., Shiloh was one of the most important sites in the central mountain ridge that runs through the Land of Israel. Here was the sacred religious center of the Israelite population of the hill country. Here the Ark of the Covenant rested within the Tabernacle for […]