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Biblical Archeology 101

Biblical Archeology 101

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Biblical Archeology 101

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  1. I finished the Masada virtual tour teaching a couple days ago but as I reviewed it, I thought some of the terminology and concepts might be a bit much without first understanding some basics in Biblical Archeology. Biblical Archeology 101

  2. So I wrote this teaching yesterday to give a bases for what we’ll be studying about Masada and other archeological sites in Israel. Biblical Archeology 101

  3. I hope it’ll make it easier to understand and it will also serve as the first teaching in our new Biblical Archeology 101 series which we’ll do after we finish the Talmud 201 series that we’re still working on. Biblical Archeology 101

  4. The 5 main things we’ll be covering tonight will be… The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology. Biblical Archeology 101

  5. Various kinds of archeology. What are the “pit” and “tunnel” methods? Who was Captain Charles Warren and what effect did he have on Biblical archeology? What is Hezekiah's tunnel? Biblical Archeology 101

  6. I don’t want to burst any bubbles but the first thing we want to understand is one can never really fully understand archeology from a teaching or from a book. Biblical Archeology 101

  7. It’s something that has to be experienced first hand. No one can ever explain the feeling one gets when one picks up their first shard or an ancient coin… Biblical Archeology 101

  8. It’s so exhilarating and you’re overcome with feelings of wonder, you wonder did one of the Disciples ever see this article or did someone from the First Church ever use this item etc. Biblical Archeology 101

  9. When you first feel an item as your digging you wonder if you’ve stumbled upon the next greatest find. Usually you haven’t, it’s usually just another un-unique piece of pottery. But the possibility is there and it’s very exciting. Biblical Archeology 101

  10. Indiana Jones isn’t realistic archeology. You’re not running from giant boulders and there is no romance at the site. There are a lot of geeks and geekettes, but very little romance. Biblical Archeology 101

  11. The other thing is either you love archeology or you don’t. If you enjoy sitting in the dirt with a wheelbarrow and a little brush then archeology is for you. Biblical Archeology 101 Typical Archeology brush

  12. But that being said, there’s a lot to learn in the classroom before you should ever set foot on a dig (archeological excavation) We use the word “dig” a lot instead of archeological excavation. Biblical Archeology 101

  13. From the classroom we learn what to look for and how to dig (technique). We’ll talk more about the how part when we discuss the pit method. Biblical Archeology 101

  14. Also there’s a lot of big words, big archeological terms but I’ll try and break them down so they’re easily understood. Before we get to that… Biblical Archeology 101 Stratigraphy Byzantine Hexateuch Mousterian

  15. There’s some confusion with many people concerning what archeology actually is. Often times people think archeology, anthropology and paleontology are the same thing. They do have many, many similarities but there’s also a lot of differences. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  16. Archaeologists primarily work with human artifacts and objects that have been made by humans as well as working with human remains. Anthropologists work with humans, their cultures, societies, languages, and ways of life, in addition to bones and artifacts. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  17. Technically, an anthropologist studies all aspects of humanity - physical, cultural, and archaeological. The archaeologist has a narrower field, and studies the past by recovering and analyzing artifacts and evidence of a culture. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  18. There is a great deal of overlap between those two disciplines. Often times when you’re digging in Israel, you have to play the anthropologist. Sometimes you can’t figure what’s going on at the site unless you do. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  19. Although some paleontologists study the fossil record of humans paleontology as a whole encompasses all life, from bacteria to whales. Paleontology does not usually deal with artifacts made by humans or human remains. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  20. Simply and generally put… Archaeology does not deal with fossils Paleontology does not deal with human artifacts or remains and anthropology is the study of people’s culture. The differences between archeology, paleontology and anthropology.

  21. Just as there are different kinds of anthropology and paleontology there are also different kinds of archeology. Various kinds of archeology

  22. Classical archaeology concerns what Western culture considers the classic civilizations of western Asia, Egypt, and Europe. It’s more centered around philology then some other types of archeology. Philology is the study of ancient texts. Various kinds of archeology

  23. There’s also prehistoric archeology and historic archeology. historic archaeology is the study of cultures who have written history whereas prehistoric archeology doesn’t study a written history. Various kinds of archeology

  24. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the boundary between history and prehistory there’s a lot of overlapping. Various kinds of archeology

  25. There’s also underwater archaeology is another specialization that requires a whole additional body of knowledge… and not just about diving. Various kinds of archeology

  26. It employs specific techniques and methods adapted to the underwater environment, complex machinery and recording systems, various technologies, and also general knowledge of boats and ships even if you are not excavating shipwrecks. Various kinds of archeology

  27. There’s also archaeozoology, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. Then of course there’s pseudoarchaeology… a term given to non-scientific accounts based on real or imagined evidence. Various kinds of archeology

  28. The search for Atlantis for example. It could be real but maybe not. Pseudoarchaeologists would also include frauds like Vendal Jones. We’ll be talking about him in the next teaching. Various kinds of archeology

  29. There’s many other types of archeology but what I’m familiar with is called “Near Eastern Archeology”. Near Eastern Archeology refers generally to the excavation and study of artifacts and material culture of the Near East from antiquity to the recent past. Various kinds of archeology

  30. Near Eastern archeology includes Biblical archeology and Syro-Palestinian archaeology Biblical archeology is any archeology that is connected to the Bible. Various kinds of archeology

  31. Syro-Palestinian archaeology is archeology connected to Israel and the surrounding area. Various kinds of archeology

  32. Again, there is a lot of overlapping. So how do we do it? How do we know where to dig and how do we start a dig as a Near Eastern Archeologist? How to start

  33. There’s many different ways. One is by putting on the hat of the philologist (study of ancient writings). Masada is a perfect example of that. How to start

  34. Yigal Yadin, a famous Israeli archeologist, read about the story of Masada from Josephus and then went there and started digging. How to start Yigal Yadin Born March 1917, died 28 June 1984)

  35. He took his clues from the text and used it as a road map which led to other discoveries in the area. There’s other digs that used information from writings such as the Bible and found various sites like Jericho. How to start Find some of his books at

  36. The Dead Sea Scrolls has given Near Eastern archeologists a wealth of information concerning the location of various sites. How to start

  37. Philology isn’t the only way to find a site. Many sites in Israel can be selected simply by looking at them How to start Megiddo

  38. Remember we talked about tels. A tel is a site where city after city has been built on top of the previous city. How to start Valley of Megido

  39. So just by looking at a tel, we know there’s a potential find there. Why aren’t all the tels excavated? How to start

  40. Costs and red tape. The Department of Antiquities is already overwhelmed with all the sites already being worked and there are some places in the West Bank where they can’t dig at all because of the Palestinian issue and politics. How to start

  41. This is a list of just some of them… Akko  - The Maritime Capital of the Crusader Kingdom Apollonia-Arsuf  - A Crusader City and Fortress on the Mediterreanean Coast Arad  - Canaanite city and Israelite citadel in the Negev Avdat  - A Nabatean City in the Negev Banyas  - Cult Center of the God Pan Beer Shema  - The Church of St. Stephen Be'er Sheva  - Prehistoric Dwelling Sites Be'er Sheva  - Border of the Kingdom of Judah Beit Alpha  - An Ancient Synagogue with a splendid Mosaic Floor Beit She'an  - A Biblical City and Scythopolis- A Roman-Byzantine City Beit She'arim  - The Jewish necropolis of the Roman Period Beit Shemesh  - Biblical city on the border between Judah and Philistia Belvoir  - A Crusader Fortress Overlooking the Jordan Valley Bethsaida  - Ancient Fishing Village on shore of the Sea of Galilee Byzantine Churches in the Negev Caesarea  - from Roman City to Crusader Fortress How to start

  42. Capernaum  - City of Jesus and its Jewish Synagogue The Carmel Caves  - Dwellings of Prehistoric Man Cave of the Ereasure  - A Hoard of Metal Objects from the Chalcolithic Period The Church of the Seat of Mary (Kathisma)   Dan  - Biblical City The Eilat Region  - Southern Gateway Ein Gedi  - An Ancient Oasis Settlement Ein Hatzeva  - Fortress on the Border with Edom Ekron  - a Philistine City Gamala  - Jewish City on the Golan Gezer  - A Canaanite City and Royal Solomonic City Golan  - A Unique Chalcolithic culture Hamat Gader  - Baths of Medicinal Hot Springs Hatzor  - "The Head of all those Kingdoms" Herodium  - King Herod's Palace-Fortress How to start

  43. Jericho  - The Winter Palace of King Herod Jerusalem  - Binyane Ha'uma: A Ceramics Workshop of the Tenth Roman Legion Jerusalem  - Burial Sites Jerusalem  - The Citadel Jerusalem  - City of David Jerusalem  - Church of the Holy Sepulcher Jerusalem  - Herodian Street Jerusalem  - Elaborate buildings of the Mamluk Period Jerusalem  - Nea Church and Cardo Jerusalem  - Northern Gate of Aelia Capitolina Jerusalem  - Silver Plaques Jerusalem  - Pomegranate from Solomonic Temple Jerusalem  - Umayyad Center and Palaces Jerusalem  - The Upper City during the Second Temple Period Jerusalem  - Water Systems of Biblical Times Jerusalem  - Western Wall and its Tunnels How to start

  44. Katzrin  - A Village in the Golan Kiryat Sefer  - A Synagogue in a Jewish Village of the Second Temple Period Kursi  - Christian Monastery Lachish  - Royal City of the Kingdom of Judah Masada  - Desert Fortress Overlooking the Dead Sea Megiddo  - The Solomonic "Chariot City" The Monastery of Martyrius Nahal Refa'im  - Canaanite Bronze Age villages near Jerusalem Nebi Samwil  - Site of a Biblical Town and a Crusader Fortress The Nimrod Fortress  - Muslim Stronghold on Golan Qumran  - Center of a Jewish Sect of the Second Temple period and the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Caves nearby Ramat Rahel  - A Royal Citadel and a Palace of the Last Kings of Judah Ramla  - Arab Capital of the Province of Palestine How to start

  45. Rogem Hiri The Roman Boat from the Sea of Galilee Sha'ar Hagolan  - Neolithic Village Tabgha  - Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes Tel Qasile  - A Philistine Settlement with a Temple Tiberias  - Anchor Church Timna  - Valley of the Ancient Copper Mines Yodefat  - A Town in Galilee Zippori  - Galilee How to start

  46. So you can see they have their hands full. Should they still be doing more? Yes, but it’s a government organization so they’re doing pretty good considering. How to start

  47. So after a site is located, then what? Then the archeologist who is leading the dig has to get all the paperwork filled out and submitted to the Dept of Antiquities and wait for approval. How to start

  48. Sometimes they get approved, sometimes they don’t again depending on the variables. So now that we understand a little about what archeology is, let’s look at how an actual dig is conducted. How to start

  49. Today we use what is called the pit method. It can be a little pit like this… Pit Method vs Tunnel Method

  50. Or a big pit like this… Pit Method vs Tunnel Method