Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


1425 Farouk El-Baz – The Arabian River

Dr. Farouk El-Baz explaining remote sensing.

Dr. Farouk El-Baz explaining remote sensing.

On the weblog of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the latest Ask An Archaeologist video features Farouk El-Baz, Director of Boston University’s Center for Remote Sensing, explaining how remote sensing, or satellite photography, is used in archaeology.

As I watched the video, I was reminded of an interview we did with Farouk El-Baz in 1996, 18 years ago. He talked about using satellite photography to discover a river in the Arabian desert, which he tentatively connected to the Garden of Eden.

1424 Jenny Feldman with David Miller – Easter in the Holyland

Garden of Gethsemane

The ancient olive trees, almost 2,000 years old, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Originally broadcast on The Book & The Spade in 1990, this Israel Broadcasting Service program takes the listener from Mt. Zion (the scene of the Last Supper), to the Kidron Valley and the Garden of Gethsemane, and then back up ancient streets to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the traditional location of Jesus’ imprisonment before His crucifixion.

Jenny Feldman produced this excellent program, part of a series that lasted for a number of years. Her guest, David Miller, provides well-researched archaeological and historical background on the sites they visit, just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem.

1422-1423 Eric Cline – 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

1177 book cover

1177 book cover

It was a globalized world in the eastern Mediterranean, not unlike our modern globalized world. But the technology was Bronze Age technology, not the Information Age. Then, suddenly, everything went wrong and it all collapsed. When the dust settled and the Iron Age began, there was a new kingdom called Israel.

Israel is not the focus of this new book by Eric Cline: 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed. But the collapse that it describes creates the conditions out of which Israel emerges. The book is just out, and may soon be a best seller.

Eric Cline is a professor of classics and anthropology at George Washington University and is involved in excavations at Tel Megiddo and Tel Kabri. We’ve had him on the program before and in this 2-part interview he fills us in on perhaps the greatest collapse in ancient history.

UPDATE: We wrapped up the interview with a short discussion of the Tel Kabri excavation, where last year Cline and his team found the oldest and largest wine cellar of the ancient world. The Washington Post also ran a story on that discovery the other day.

1420-1421 Larry Mykytiuk – 50 Real People of the Bible, Confirmed by Archaeology

Larry Mykytiuk

Larry Mykytiuk

Larry Mykytiuk,  Associate professor of Library Science at Purdue University, has developed a protocol for confirming the connection between people of the Bible and individuals named in archaeological inscriptions. At least 50 people have been confirmed as “Real People.” Perhaps even more interesting is his list of “Almost Real People.”

For the list of the 50 Real People, and the footnotes on how they were confirmed, go here.

1418-1419 Todd Bolen – 2014 Dig Plans

Abel Beth Maacah Silver Hoard

Abel Beth Maacah Silver Hoard

At the beginning of nearly every year we take a couple of programs to preview the planned excavations for the next dig season. This year we cover Abel Beth Maacah, a brand new excavation along the northern border of Israel, as well as Tel Megiddo, a bench mark site that has been dug for over 100 years, and a bunch of sites in between.

My guest is Todd Bolen, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, California, and editor of For many years Todd lived in Israel, taught at the college’s Israel Bible Extension (IBEX) program, and visited these sites on a regular basis.

Photo: A recently announced hoard of silver discovered last summer during the first season at Abel Beth Maacah, dated to about 1200 BC. Photo by Gabi Laron, courtesy of the Abel Beth Maacah excavation.

1417 Todd Bolen – Newly Discovered Jerusalem Water Tunnel

A Proto Aeolic Capital on display at Ramat Rachel, just outside of Jerusalem.

A Proto Aeolic Capital on display at Ramat Rachel, just outside of Jerusalem.

A newly discovered water system has been making news in Israel. It’s not far from Jerusalem and Bethlehem and it has some intriguing archaeological features, including proto-aeolic capitals. Proto-aeolic capitals have been associated with Royal Judean construction.

On this week’s program I discuss the significance of this discovery with Todd Bolen of We also discuss reports that some poorly stored wooden beams seen on the Temple Mount may actually be beams used in the construction of the ancient Jewish temples built by Solomon and Herod.

1416 Titus Kennedy – The Domestication of Camels


A major source for  my story on camel domestication for Christianity Today was Titus Kennedy, an adjunct professor at Biola University. Titus wrote a paper that was published in Bible and Spade magazine in 2010 which covered a lot of evidence of camel domestication in the second and even third millenium BC, much earlier than the deceptive news release from Tel Aviv University would have one believe. So here is my interview with Titus Kennedy. You can read his article here. Todd Bolen, last week’s guest, provides a lot of additional information on this topic on his blog at


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