Last week we attended Text and Trowel: A Symposium of Archaeology and the Bible at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville KY.

 

We saw an exhibit of the most significant pieces found at the Associates for Biblical Research team’s twenty years of digging at Khirbet el-Maqatir in Israel,

 

heard from two eminent Bible scholars including Dr. Scott Stripling

 

and Dr. Craig Evans, Professor at Houston Baptist University and Director of Christian Thinkers Society there, and had a book table and sold my book.

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, Dr. Stripling shared publicly about the ABR team’s amazing discovery of a New Testament era city on the site of Khirbet el-Maqatir. Scott’s lecture “Murder at Maqatir: The Grim fate of Those Who Hid From the Romans” revealed the details. (Until this summer, Israeli Antiquities Authority had not given him permission to disclose this information publicly.)

Our square at Khirbet el-Maqatir in 2010. Notice the rise behind the square where Palestinian guards watched over us close by, and just over the hill was an Israeli security tower–also keeping watch over us.

At dinner, I said to Dr. Stripling, “I have imagined the Israeli Antiquities people were quite surprised when ABR initially asked to dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir. There were so many tells in Israel that still had not been excavated.”

He agreed.

Example of a Tell: ancient Beit-Shan in background. Roman city destroyed by earthquake approximately 600 AD. (6/21/17) Columns now upright were mostly fallen in 2010–all pointing in the same direction, which is evidence of an earthquake’s bringing them down.

Maqatir is in a saddle-like place between two hills.                                                                            (Tells are un-natural looking hills where civilizations have risen, fallen in defeat, and conquerors have rebuilt on top of the ruins. Sometimes as many as 28-30

 

different civilizations have lived there. Why? A reliable source of water, natural defenses, and access to trade routes.)

Evidently, with each new season of finds at the Maqatir site, the reputation of ABR rose among the Israelis, so that as the earlier dig wound down, the Israelis requested ABR to dig at Shiloh.

Scott’s other topic at the symposium at UPike was “‘Go Now to Shiloh’: Have We Found the House of God?” In seeking

 

confirmation for the direction of ABR’s next efforts after Khirbet el-Maqatir, he came across the verse in Jeremiah 7:12, “Go now to … Shiloh … and see what I did to it….”

Other digs at Shiloh under highly reputable archaeologists have not concluded the site to be where Joshua located the Tabernacle constructed in the wilderness during 40 years of wandering. According to scripture the tabernacle stayed there for over 300 years.

But Israeli National Parks system has invested a considerable amount already in touting this site as the place of the Tabernacle. See signage and a pavillion above.

If Shiloh was there, I feel sure ABR will find convincing evidence.

With new dig technology, such as dry sifting, followed by wet sifting, and with metal detectors, ABR’s Shiloh 2017 made quite a number of significant discoveries—including an Egyptian scarab.

Scarab’s are small seals, oval shaped like the dung beatle they represent. [At some point the dung beatle was revered for rolling the sun across the sky each day.]  Inscribed with Egyptian symbols, the designs are unique to each Pharaoh’s reign and can be dated precisely because of that.

 

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