Picking a Site

No picture can do justice to the grand view from Mt. Ebal, the highest summit in northern Samaria. No text can set the pulse racing the way the discovery of a new destruction layer can. And no scholarly argument alone can be as convincing as seeing a site for yourself. By volunteering to dig […]



Prize Find: Mosaic Masterpiece Dazzles Sepphoris Volunteers

On the final few days of last season’s dig at Sepphoris in the Galilee, the fortunate volunteers who stayed to the end exposed a 23- by 40-foot area of a huge mosaic floor. The floor dates to the third century A.D., according to the archaeologists. Set in the white ground of the mosaic floor […]

Hands On: No Grid Lock at Ashkelon—The View from the Square

It’s not glamorous being a square supervisor at a dig. It’s rather like being a sergeant on the front line, directing your “privates”—the volunteers, who pick, shovel and carry—while the “officers”—the dig director, the associate director and the grid supervisors—analyze and plan strategy. But you’re right there where the action is, and you know […]

Hi-Tech Archaeology: Ground-Penetrating Radar—New Technology Won’t Make the Pick and Trowel Obsolete

“This is marvelous! You won’t have to dig anymore. You can just sit back in the shade and look at the pictures that machine will take for you.” The visitor to our excavations at Lahav, Israel, last summer was looking at a ground-penetrating radar unit that was being pulled across the terrain near our […]

Jacob in History

042 This is a story about Jacob, but it must be told the long way around. The reader must trust me to get there eventually. And I think the reader will find the route itself interesting. In the third century B.C. there lived a famous Egyptian historian named Manetho. Unfortunately, none of Manetho’s […]

Two Early Israelite Cult Sites Now Questioned

In recent years, two early Israelite cult sites have been discovered. The first is referred to as the “Bull Site” because archaeologists were led to it by the accidental discovery there of a cultic bronze statuette of a bull.a The second early Israelite cult site encloses the massive altar discovered in the course of […]

Archaeology and the Biblical Text

Archaeological evidence is, unfortunately, fragmentary, and therefore limited. This has always been true, but in recent decades this simple truth has impressed itself more forcefully on archaeologists working in the field and, consequently, on historians. Typical archaeological finds such as pottery sherds, modest mud houses and simple crafts appear inadequate to the task of […]

Why Is a Bilbil Called a Bilbil?

Why is a certain kind of pot that is frequently found in excavations in Israel called a “bilbil”?