Archaeology in Israel

Small theater Jerusalem

Small theater discovered near the Western Wall in Jerusalem (image provided by Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists in Israel are uncovering artifacts on a regular basis! At each and every archaeological excavation, something from the past is found. While each dig is rather grueling, tedious, and usually hot (sorry, but the Indiana Jones version of archaeology is only for the movies), the diligent efforts of both the archaeologists and the scores of volunteers that help yield exciting discoveries.

About a month ago, a good friend of mine, Gordon Govier, compiled a recent list of the top archaeological finds of the year. It was for a Christianity Today article, December 28, 2017. In addition to writing occasionally on the topic of biblical archaeology for CT, Gordon is editor of ARTIFAX magazine and executive producer of The Book & The Spade radio program and podcast. Incidentally, he is also co-leading an upcoming extensive archaeological Israel Tour with me in May, 2017 (go HERE if you are interested in joining us. The tour is almost sold out, but a few spaces still remain!).

The Ranking of the Top 10 Discoveries

Skeleton at Gezer

One of the skeletons found at Tel Gezer (image provided by SW Baptist Seminary)

While each of these “Top 10” discoveries is important in their own way, about a month ago Gordon kindly asked me (as well as Todd Bolen, professor of biblical studies at The Master’s University and editor of for our help in ranking them. Talk about a difficult task! While this is a subjective task, Gordon’s final ordering of these discoveries is excellent. Gordon has been researching archaeology, interviewing archaeologists, and writing about the topic for many years.

Summary of the Top Discoveries

El Araj - Bethsaida

El Araj – the new possible archaeological site for Bethsaida

Here is Gordon’s list (in descending order) of the top discoveries in archaeology in Israel in 2017. You will quickly notice the many connections these discoveries have with the Bible!

10) Pagan center discovered at Hippos/Sussita

9) Byzantine church mosaics found

8) Augustus temple altar at Caesarea

7) Merneptah’s destruction of Gezer

6) 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave confirmed

5) Seal impressions and tower redating in City of David

4) Timna copper camp dated to time of David and Solomon

3) Rethinking the identity of Bethsaida

2) A relic from the temple that Jesus knew

1) Small Roman theater found next to the Temple Mount’s Western Wall

The Full Article

Now that you see the list, you will want to read the full article – Biblical Archaeologist’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2017

Special thanks to Gordon for bringing to us this list. I highly suggest subscribing to ARTIFAX magazine to keep up with the latest archeological finds.

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