Perhaps the greatest disaster to befall ancient Israel was the conquest, at the end of the sixth century B.C.E. and start of the fifth, by the Babylonian empire. The fall of Judah to this new regional superpower occurred in two stages: Major strongholds like the Philistine cities of Ashkelon and Ekron fell to the […]

There Was No Gap

More than half a century ago, the dean of Biblical archaeologists, William Foxwell Albright, pronounced final judgment on the archaeological record for the territory of Judah between the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon’s king Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible] in 586 B.C.E. and the subsequent fall of Babylon to the Persians in 539 B.C.E. […]

Yes There Was

Let me begin with several basic facts—more historical than archaeological—on which Joseph Blenkinsopp and I can agree.

Philistine Kin Found in Early Israel

Almost from the beginning, the site of el-Ahwat was different—or, shall we say, strange. We first discovered it in 1992 during our archaeological survey of the hill country of Manasseh in north-central Israel. Seven dig seasons later we would come to identify it not only by excavating the site, but by delving into […]

Chief Scroll Editor Opens Up—An Interview with Emanuel Tov

For more than a decade, Hebrew University professor Emanuel Tov has been in charge of the scholarly team that is publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls. It hasn’t always been easy; but now, with the 37th volume of the Discoveries in the Judean Desert series rolling off the presses, the project is finally nearing completion. […]

After Excavation
What happens when the archaeologists leave? By Hershel Shanks

You’re an archaeologist. You’ve carefully excavated a site and written an exemplary final report. Your obligation to history has been met. But what about the site? What happens after you leave? The answer seems obvious: It should be preserved. Of course, when it comes to Israel, the government takes care of its big […]

Return to Lachish

“It feels good to be back,” says David Ussishkin as we approach the impressive mound of Lachish, a major military outpost of the Judahite kingdom that fell to a massive Assyrian onslaught in 701 B.C. The Assyrian king Sennacherib celebrated his capture of Lachish with a series of reliefs in his palace at Nineveh, […]

First Person: Is the Bible a Bunch of Historical Hooey?
Harper’s Magazine would have us believe so By Steven Feldman
Desborough, Northamptonshire, England