Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Israelites

1580-1581 Steve Ortiz-Gezer’s Tenth Season

Steve Ortiz

Steve Ortiz

Tel Gezer, a benchmark site in biblical archaeology, has been under excavation for the past ten years by Steve Ortiz and Sam Wolff (co-directors). During this year’s final season of excavation, the remains of two adults and one child were found in a destruction layer dated to about 1200BC.

In this 2-part interview we talk with Steve Ortiz about the results of their excavation, what they know about those three skeletons, and why Gezer was such a hard city to conquer, for the Israelites, the Egyptians, and the Philistines, who were all in the area at the time.



1510-1512 Dale Manor – Tel Beth Shemesh

dalemanorpixNot a lot to see at Tel Beth Shemesh (compared with some other sites), but an important excavation, nonetheless. The current excavation has been going on for a quarter century, and Bet Shemesh has an interesting biblical history, as recorded in I Samuel 4-6.

In recent years, the excavators at Tel Beth Shemesh have uncovered part of a Bronze Age Palace, and nearby a temple from a couple hundred years later.

Dale Manor of Harding University is a field director of the dig and gives us an update on the site. We also discuss his latest book, “Digging Deeper into the Word – The Relevance of Archaeology to Christian Apologetics”

1499-1500 Adam Zertal – The Altar on Mt. Ebal


Adam Zertal

On a chilly winter evening in 1993 I made my way to kibbutz En Shemer in Israel to interview Adam Zertal, a University of Haifa archaeologist, about his discovery on Mt. Ebal. Amidst museum displays highlighting the agricultural history of the kibbutz there was a small room highlighting the archaeological work done by one of its most famous residents, this archaeologist who decided to take up the search for biblical evidence during his recovery of wounds suffered during the Yom Kippur War.

As recently as 2009 we highlighted Zertal’s discovery of an underground quarry near Jericho. And his archaeological surveys may be his most important legacy.

But it was the 1980 discovery of a cultic structure on Mt. Ebal that Zertal may be most known for. Not every archaeologist believes that this is an actual altar, but Zertal believes the evidence is clear, and he is clearly intrigued by the possible connection to the account in Joshua 8:30 which says that the Israelites built an altar on Mt. Ebal. It is one of the amazing mysteries of biblical archaeology.

We learned last week that Adam Zertal died on October 18, 2015. He was 79. In honor of his dedication to archaeology in the land of Israel, we are once again highlighting that 1993 interview.

The second half of the interview, program 1500, focuses on Zertal’s survey archaeology in the hills of Samaria, and it’s Exodus connection.

Photo credit: “Adam Zartal” by Hanay – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –