Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


#1540 Clyde Billington – Philistine Cemetery at Ashkelon

Philistine grave from Ashkelon

Philistine grave from Ashkelon

From the news digests in the summer 2016 issue of ARTIFAX magazine, we report on the latest discoveries in biblical archaeology, including a Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon, and an Egyptian statue found at Hazor.

We briefly mention the mosaics of Huqoq and the speculation of another tomb inside the Tomb of Tutankhamun, a search that seems to be fruitless at this point.


1538-1539 Dan Warner – Canaanite Water System at Gezer

Water System sign from Gezer

Water System sign from Gezer

A number of archaeological sites in Israel have water systems that have been excavated – Megiddo, Hazor, Beersheba, Sepphoris, and even Jerusalem – and all are marvels of engineering. But the water system at Gezer may be the largest and earliest of them all, and perhaps not even (originally) a water system.

Dan Warner, professor of archaeology and Old Testament at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has been excavating at Gezer’s water system for seven years and discovered that the mystery increases with each succeeding year. On these two programs he brings us up to date on what they’ve discovered so far and what they still need to do.

1536-1537 Jodi Magness – Huqoq Synagogue Mosaics 2016

jodiJodi Magness, a prolific archaeologist, author, and Book & The Spade guest (on a half dozen times already) has turned up some of the most beautiful mosaics ever found in Israel. Every summer for the past four years there have been stories about the mosaics, and so we figured it was time to talk with her and get an update.

The critical issue she’s investigating is the dating of early synagogues, and so far what she’s found backs her premise that many of these synagogues were built several centuries later than scholars thought, during the Byzantine era, which means Judaism was still thriving when Christians were in charge.

1534-1535 Cynthia Shafer-Elliott – Daily Life in Ancient Israel

s200_cynthia-shafer-elliott-1There are many mentions of food in the Bible but what was their daily diet like? That’s one of the questions that concerns Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology at William Jessup University. We discussed what archaeology has dug up to complement what the Bible tells us about eating habits of the ancient Israelites.

Dr. Shafer-Elliott’s article on the diet of ancient Israelites was recently featured on the blog of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR).

1531-1533 Scott Stripling – Khirbet el-Maqatir 2016

It’s the final season for this excavation, just completed in Israel. We talk with dig director Scott Stripling about the evidence they’ve found which he believes builds a convincing rationale for connecting Khirbet el-Maqatir with the site of Ai, from Joshua 7-8, including the final two socket stones from the city gate.

In our third program of this series, we also talked about the exploration of an apparent drainage tunnel near the Jaffa Gate that may have connected the palace of Herod to the Temple Mount.


1529-1530 Kenneth Bailey – Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes

2568Kenneth Bailey died recently. He had spent 40 years living and teaching in the Middle East and his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes was a real eye-opener for understanding the parables and gospel accounts of Jesus ministry. We talked with Kenneth Bailey back in 2013 and we are presenting these two programs once again in his memory.

1528 Clyde Billington-Proverbs 31 Woman and Ancient Fabric

Seal of Elihana Bat Gael

Seal bearing the inscription “to Elihana Bat Gael”

The 2600-year old seal of a woman of Jerusalem was recently found in the Givati Car Park archaeological excavation, which prompted the first part of the discussion on this program.

We also discussed ancient fabrics and ancient seeds found in another excavation at Timna, and what they may be able to tell us about life in biblical times.

Our final item was a comparative test of survey archaeology methods: walking the field vs. satellite archaeology.



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