Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Archaeotourism

1821 The ArchaeoTourism Initiative – Steve Ortiz, Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, and Jonathan Greer

The Temple Mount Sifting Project,

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, where volunteers do the sifting.

Biblical Archaeology becomes more scientific every year, as new technology tools help archaeologists generate and study more data on the sites they excavate, and improve their conclusions. But at the same time, the entre into biblical archaeology is wide open.

Anyone can pay their way to Israel and volunteer on an archaeological excavation, as I did in 1978. Recently, Israel’s tourism ministry initiated a new campaign to bring more archaeology volunteers to Israel and my editor at Christianity Today wanted to know what US archaeologists thought about that.

So, for this week’s program, I started with Steve Ortiz, who we’ve talked with a number of times about the 10-year excavation he co-led at Tel Gezer. Steve is director of the Lanier Center for Archaeology at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.

I also talked with Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University in Texas; and Jonathan Greer, visiting professor of archaeology at Grand Valley State University in Michigan; both of whom have been on the program before. They all thought it was a potentially good idea, because volunteers are key to the success of biblical archaeology excavations today.

But they also had some concerns. Here’s the story I wrote for Christianity Today.