Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible, be they from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) or from the New Testament, as well as the history and cosmogony of Judaism and Christianity.
The principal location of interest is what is known in the relevant religions as the Holy Land, which from a Western perspective is also called the Middle East. In contrast, Near Eastern archaeology deals with the Ancient Near East, or Middle East, without giving any special consideration to whether its discoveries have any relationship with the Bible.
The scientific techniques used are the same as those used in general archaeology, such as excavation and radiocarbon dating.
In order to understand the significance of biblical archaeology it is first necessary to understand two basic concepts: archaeology as a scientific framework and the Bible as an object for research. Archaeology is a science, not in the Aristotelian sense of cognitio certa per causas but in the modern sense of systematic knowledge. Vicente Vilar expands on this point by stating that archaeology is both art and science: as an art it searches for the material remains of ancient civilizations and tries to reconstruct, as far as possible, the environment and the organizations of one or many historical epochs; as a relatively recent modern science, and as Benesch has said, it is a science that is barely 200 years old but that has, however, substantially changed our ideas about the past.
It might be thought that archaeology would have to disregard the information contained within religions and many philosophical systems. However, apart from the great deal of factual material that they provide such as places of worship, holy objects and other scientifically observable things, there are other aspects that are equally important for scientific archaeological investigation such as religious texts, rites, customs and traditions. Myths are commonly used by archaeologists and historians as clues to events or places that have become hidden in the background, a process that Rudolf Bultmann calls “demythification” – the most notable example being Homer’s poems and the myth-infused city of Troy. This contemporary perception of the myth, mainly developed by Bultmann, has encouraged scientists such as archaeologists to examine the areas indicated by the biblical tales.
Biblical archaeology is the discipline occupied with the scientific investigation and recovery of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the times and descriptions of the Bible, a broad swathe of time between 2000 BC and 100 AD. Other authors prefer to talk about the “archaeology of Palestine'” and to define the relevant territories as those to the east and west of the River Jordan. This indicates that “biblical archaeology” or that of Palestine is circumscribed by the territories that were the backdrop to the biblical stories.
The raison d’etre of biblical archaeology derives from the fact that it allows an understanding of the peoples that inhabited the Holy Land. It allows an understanding of their history, culture, identity and movements. This makes it possible to know the exact location of the stories and compare them with fact. Regarding this, Pietro Kaswalder has noted that previously the American and Israeli school of biblical archaeology saw archaeology as proof of the veracity of the biblical stories, as can be seen in the work of authors of the stature of William F. Albright, G. Ernest Wright and Yigael Yadin. However, archaeologists today do not try to prove the stories in the Bible, but rather to discover the historical context in which it was written. Using this approach, introduced by Kaswalder, it is possible to shed light on the following, according to the classification presented by the Catalan papyrologist Joan Maria Vernet:
- Biblical archaeology can shed light on the knowledge that we have regarding certain historical data described in the biblical stories such as governments, people, battles and cities.
- It allows us to provide some specific details reflected in the books of the bible for example the Siloam Tunnel, the Pool of Bethesda, Calvary and others that effectively relate to those described in the biblical stories.
- Biblical archaeology lends fundamental support to exegetical studies.
The geographical area that circumscribes the area of interest for biblical archaeology is obviously the biblical lands, also known as the “Holy Land”. There are many points of view regarding the exact extent of this area, however, biblical archaeology specifically concentrates on the Land of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, the area called the southern Levant. Many researchers are also interested in other areas that are mentioned in the biblical tales and which have a great importance for their connecting thread: Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia which are of interest to scientists interested in the Tanakh. Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and Rome have greater connections with the stories from the New Testament.
In the same way that the spatial criteria vary according to the various points of view of the different researchers, there are also a variety of dates that are of interest. Kaswalder comments that:
- The period is understood to run from the 9th millennium BC, which corresponds to the earliest dated Neolithic remains of Jericho, to 700 AD, which marks the first invasions by Muslim armies. This time period is considered by some authorities to be too wide and controversial.
- A second narrower period has been described that is more closely defined by the biblical stories: from the middle Bronze Age, that is from 2000 BC, which according to Biblical chronology corresponds with the time of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) until the end of the 1st century AD, with the death of the last apostle John the Evangelist and the end of the so-called Apostolic Church. The term Apostolic Church is taken to mean the historical period when Jesus’s apostles were alive, including Paul of Tarsus. This period ends with the death of John the Evangelist, the exact date of his death is not known, but it is presumed to be around 110 AD. However, some scholars consider that the authors of the Fourth Gospel and the Book of Revelation may have been John’s disciples.
Periods in biblical archaeology
The following list of periods for Syro-Palestinian archaeology is based on the table provided in Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 33–34 up to the end of the Iron Age, and from the definitions provided by the Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p. 55, for later periods.
- Neolithic period: c. 8500–4300 BC
- Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) = c. 8500–6000 BC
- Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) = c. 8500–7500 BC
- Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) = 7500–6000 BC
- Pottery Neolithic: 6000–4300 BC
- Pottery Neolithic A (PNA) = 6000–5000 BC
- Pottery Neolithic B (PNB) = 5000–4300 BC
- Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) = c. 8500–6000 BC
- Chalcolithic period: 4300–3300 BC
- Bronze age: 3300-1200 BC
- Early Bronze (EB) Age = 3300-2300 BC
- Early Bronze I (EB I) = 3300–3050 BC
- Early Bronze II–Early Bronze III (EB II–EB III) = 3050–2300/2000 BC
- Middle Bronze (MB) Age = 2300/2000–1550 BC
- Early Bronze IV (EB IV)/Middle Bronze I (MB I) 2300–2000 BC
- Middle Bronze IIA (also called MB II) = 2000-1800/1750 BC
- Middle Bronze IIB-C III (also called MBII and III) = 1800/1750–1550 BC
- Late Bronze (LB) Age = 1550–1200 BC
- Late Bronze I (LB I) = 1550–1400 BC
- Late Bronze IIA–B (LB IIA–B) = 1400–1200 BC
- Early Bronze (EB) Age = 3300-2300 BC
- Iron Age: 1200-586 BC
- Iron IA = 1200–1150 BC
- Iron IB = 1150–1000 BC
- Iron IIA = 1000-925 BC
- Iron IIB = 925-720 BC
- Iron IIC = 720-586 BC
- Babylonian period: 586-539 BC
- Persian period: 539-332 BC
- Hellenistic period = 332-63 BC
- Early Hellenistic = 332-198 BC
- Late Hellenistic = 198-63 BC
- Roman period: 63 BC-324 AD
The study of biblical archaeology started at the same time as general archaeology and obviously its development relates to the discovery of highly important ancient artifacts.
Stages in the development of biblical archaeology
The development of biblical archaeology has been marked by different periods:
- Ancient: Although archaeology can be considered to be a modern science it should be recognized that many historical authors have left valuable documents that even today are essential reading for students of biblical archaeology. The most important historical sources include Josephus, Origen, Eusebius and the Diary of Egeria. Egeria or Aetheria, was a Spanish woman who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land between 381 and 384. Her diary of the journey, which was a surprisingly adventurous journey for a woman of that time, is a source of study and research even today.
- Before the British Mandate in Palestine: The first archaeological explorations started in the 19th century initially by Europeans. There were many renowned archaeologists working at this time but one of the best known was Edward Robinson who discovered a number of ancient cities. The Palestine Exploration Fund was created in 1865 with Queen Victoria as its patron. Large investigations were carried out around the Temple in Jerusalem in 1867 by Charles Warren and Charles William Wilson, for whom Jerusalem’s “Wilson’s Arch” is named. The American Palestine Exploration Society was founded in 1870. In the same year a young French archaeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, arrived in the Holy Land in order to study two notable inscriptions: the Mesha Stele in Jordan and inscriptions in the Temple of Jerusalem. Another personality entered the scene in 1890, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, who has become known as the “father of Palestine archaeology“. In Tell-el-Hesi, Petrie laid down the basis for methodical exploration by giving a great importance to the analysis of ceramics as archaeological markers. In effect, the recovered objects or fragments serve to fix the chronology with a degree of precision, as pottery was made in different ways and with specific characteristics during each epoch throughout history. In 1889 the Dominican Order opened the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem, which would become world-renowned in its field. Such authorities as M-J. Lagrange and L. H. Vincent stand out among the early archaeologists at the school. In 1898, the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (German Oriental Society) was founded in Berlin, a number of its excavations were subsequently funded by Emperor William II of Germany. Many other similar organizations were founded at this time with the objective of furthering this nascent discipline, although the investigations of this epoch had the sole objective of proving the veracity of the biblical stories.
- During the British Mandate in Palestine (1922-1948): The investigation and exploration of the Holy Land increased considerably during this time and was dominated by the genius of William Foxwell Albright, C. S. Fischer, the Jesuits, the Dominicans and many others. This era of great advances and activity closed with a flourish: the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in 1947 and its subsequent excavation, which would in large part be directed by the Frenchman Roland de Vaux.
- After the British Mandate: 1948 marked the start of a new social and political era for the Holy Land with the foundation of the State of Israel and the entrance on the scene of the Israeli archaeologists. Initially their excavations were limited to the territory of the state, but after the Six-Day War they extended into the occupied territories of the West Bank. An important figure in the archaeology of this period was Kathleen Kenyon, who directed the excavations of Jericho and the Ophel of Jerusalem. Crystal Bennett led the excavations at Petra and Amman’s citadel, Jabal al-Qal’a. The archaeological museums of the Franciscans and the Dominicans in Jerusalem are particularly notable.
- Biblical archaeology today: Twenty-first century biblical archaeology is often conducted by international teams sponsored by universities and government institutions such as the Israel Antiquities Authority. Volunteers are recruited to participate in excavations conducted by a staff of professionals. Practitioners are making increasing efforts to relate the results of one excavation to others nearby in an attempt to create an ever-widening and increasingly detailed overview of the ancient history and culture of each region. Recent rapid advances in technology have facilitated more scientifically precise measurements in dozens of related fields as well as more timely and more broadly disseminated reports.
Schools of thought in biblical archaeology
Biblical archaeology is the subject of ongoing debate. One of the sources of greatest dispute is the period when kings ruled Israel and more generally the historicity of the Bible. It is possible to define two loose schools of thought regarding these areas: biblical minimalism and maximalism, depending on whether the Bible is considered to be a non-historical, religious document or not. The two schools are not separate units but form a continuum, making it difficult to define different camps and limits. However, it is possible to define points of difference, although these differences seem to be decreasing over time.
Brief summary of important archaeological sites and findings
Objects with unknown or disproved biblical origins
Biblical archaeology has also been the target of several celebrated forgeries, which have been perpetrated for a variety of reasons. One of the most celebrated is that of the James Ossuary, when information came to light in 2002 regarding the discovery of an ossuary, with an inscription that said “Jacob, son of Joseph and brother of Jesus“. In reality the artifact had been discovered twenty years before, after which it had exchanged hands a number of times and the inscription had been added. This was discovered because it did not correspond to the pattern of the epoch from which it dated.
The objects in the following list generally come from private collections and were often purchased in antiques markets. Their authenticity is highly controversial and in some cases they have been proved to be fakes.
- The Ark of the Covenant:
- There have been a number of claims regarding the Ark’s current location. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that it holds the Ark in Axum, Ethiopia. Local tradition claims that it was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I with divine assistance, while a forgery was left in the Temple in Jerusalem.
- Objects originating from the “antiques” dealer Oded Golan. As described above, the Israeli police accused Golan and his accomplices of falsifying the James Ossuary in 2004, they were also accused of falsifying a number of other objects:
- The Jehoash Inscription, which describes repairs to the temple in Jerusalem. It is suspected that the inscription has been falsified onto authentic ancient stones.
- Various ostracas mentioning the temple or biblical names.
- A stone candelabra with seven arms, decorated with a menorah from the temple.
- A stone seal with gold borders that was attributed to King Manasseh of Judah.
- A quartz plate with an inscription in the ancient Egyptian language stating that King Shishak had captured the ancient city of Megiddo.
- An ivory pomegranate made of hippopotamus bone and inscribed “sacred to the priest of the house of God“.
- Numerous bullae, including some that mention biblical figures such as the scribe Baruch ben Neriah and the prophet Ezekiel.
- Searches for Noah’s Ark (also known as ‘arkeology’): Various groups have claimed to have found Noah’s Ark. Many scholars consider that these findings belong to pseudoarcheology.
- An Italian creationist group called The Narkas is just one of the many groups that claim to know the exact location of the Ark’s remains on the summit of Mount Ararat, on the border between Turkey and Armenia. Photos of the site can be seen at the Narkas website.
- In 2004 an expedition investigated a ridge 19 km from the summit of Mount Ararat, which is believed to be an alternative landing site for the Ark. Samples were submitted to the Geological and Nuclear Sciences Crown Research Institute in Wellington, New Zealand for testing. However, geologists at the government institute concluded that the samples were volcanic rock and not petrified wood.
- Shroud of Turin:
- Critics insist that the linen cloth contains a painting of Jesus made in the Middle Ages. Others maintain that the image was formed by an energetic process that darkened the fibres of the shroud at the moment of resurrection. Radiocarbon dating of some sample material taken from the shroud has been dated to the Middle Ages, but some researchers claim that the samples were taken from a patch that had been re-woven into the shroud’s border area during that time period.
- Saint Veronica’s Veil:
- A cloth with the face of a man, said to be Jesus by believers, imprinted on it. Believers think that it was the cloth used by Veronica to clean Jesus’s face on the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary. There are at least six images in existence that bear a marked resemblance to each other and which all claim to be the original Veil.
Biblical archaeology and the Catholic Church
The majority of excavations and investigations carried out in the area where the biblical narratives are set mainly have the objective of casting light on the historical, cultural, economic and religious background to the texts, therefore their main objective is not usually proving the veracity of these stories. However, there are some groups that take a more fundamentalist approach and which organize archaeological campaigns with the intention of finding proof that the Bible is factual and that its narratives should be understood as historical events. This is not the official position of the Catholic Church.
Archaeological investigations carried out with scientific methods can offer useful data in fixing a chronology that helps to order the biblical stories. In certain cases these investigations can find the place where these narratives took place. In other cases they can confirm the veracity of the stories. However, in other matters they can question events that have been taken as historical fact, providing arguments that show that certain stories are not historical narratives but belong to a different narrative genre.
In 1943, Pope Pius XII recommended that interpretations of the Scripture take archaeological findings into account in order to discern the literary genres that the Scriptures used.
[…] the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing, so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use. […]Let those who cultivate biblical studies turn their attention with all due diligence towards this point and let them neglect none of those discoveries, whether in the domain of archaeology or in ancient history or literature, which serve to make better known the mentality of the ancient writers, as well as their manner and art of reasoning, narrating and writing.[…]— Pius XII, Encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, paragraphs 35 and 40
Since this time archaeology has been considered to provide valuable assistance and as an indispensable tool of the biblical sciences.
[…]”the purpose of biblical archaeology is the clarification and illumination of the biblical text and content through archaeological investigation of the biblical world.”— written by J.K. Eakins in a 1977 essay published in Benchmarks in Time and Culture and quoted in his essay “Archaeology and the Bible, An Introduction”.
Archaeologist William G. Dever contributed to the article on “Archaeology” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. In this article he reiterates his perceptions of the negative effects of the close relationship that has existed between Syro-Palestinian archaeology and biblical archaeology, which has caused the archaeologists working in this field, particularly the American archaeologists, to resist adoption of the new methods of “processual archaeology”. In addition he considers that: “Underlying much scepticism in our own field [referring to the adaptation of the concepts and methods of a “new archaeology”, one suspects the assumption (although unexpressed or even unconscious) that ancient Palestine, especially Israel during the biblical period, was unique, in some “superhistorical” way that was not governed by the normal principles of cultural evolution”.
Dever found that Syro-Palestinian archaeology had been treated in American institutions as a sub discipline of bible studies, where it was expected that American archaeologists would try to “provide valid historical evidence of episodes from the biblical tradition”. According to Dever “the most naïve [idea regarding Syro-Palestinian archaeology] is that the reason and purpose of “biblical archaeology” (and, by extrapolation, of Syro-Palestinian archaeology) is simply to elucidate facts regarding the Bible and the Holy Land”.
Dever has also written that:
Archaeology certainly doesn’t prove literal readings of the Bible…It calls them into question, and that’s what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so. […] From the beginnings of what we call biblical archaeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archaeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the “archaeological revolution.” Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archaeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.
Dever also wrote:
Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the ‘larger than life’ portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence…. I am not reading the Bible as Scripture… I am in fact not even a theist. My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed ‘stories,’ often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information…
Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:
This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.
Professor Finkelstein told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on the Exodus, the Jews’ wandering in Sinai or Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed. Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist, agreed with Israel Finkelstein.
Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:
Really, it’s a myth,… This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.
Conservative scholars dispute these claims. In his 2001 book The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant? Evangelical Old Testament scholar Walter C. Kaiser Jr. included a chapter entitled, “Does Archaeology Help the Case for Reliability?” Kaiser states:
[T]he study of archaeology has helped illuminate the Bible by casting light on its historical and cultural location. With increasing clarity, the setting of the Bible appears more vividly within the framework of general history…. by fitting biblical history, persons, and events into general history, archaeology has demonstrated the validity of many biblical references and data. It has continued to cast light, whether implicitly or explicitly, on many of the Bible’s customs, cultures, and settings during various periods of history. On the other hand, archaeology has also given rise to some real problems with regard to its findings. Thus, its work is an ongoing one that cannot be foreclosed too quickly or used merely as a confirming device.
Kaiser goes on to detail case after case in which the Bible, he says, “has aided in the identification of missing persons, missing peoples, missing customs and settings.” He concludes:
This is not to say that archaeology is a cure-all for all the challenges brought to the text–it is not! There are some monstrous problems that remain–some created by the archaeological data itself. But since we have seen so many specific challenges over the years yield to such specific data in favor of the text, a presumption tends to build that we should go with the text until definite contrary information is available. This methodology that says that the text is innocent until proven guilty is not only recommended as a good procedure for American jurisprudence, but it is recommended in the area of examining the claims of the Scripture as well.
Excavations and surveys
The following is a summary of important excavations and surveys:
|Year||Site||Biblical name||Excavated by||Comment|
|‘rediscovered’ Petra on August 22, 1812.||Al Khazneh||Al Khazneh||Johann Ludwig Burckhardt||Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”; الخزنة) is one of the most elaborate buildings in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.|
|1841||Survey||N/a||Edward Robinson||Robinson’s Biblical Researches in Palestine, the Sinai, Petrae and Adjacent Regions, based on his survey of the Near East conducted over several years, proposed biblical names for modern sites.|
|1871–77||Survey||N/a||Charles Warren||The Survey of Western Palestine, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, reflected Warren’s detailed field surveys in Palestine and especially the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Major discoveries included the foundation stones of Herod’s Temple, the first Iron Age Hebrew inscriptions (jar handles with LMLK seals), and water shafts under the City of David.|
|1890||Tell el-Hesi||Eglon||Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie||The site was believed at the time to be the biblical Lachish, but is now commonly identified with Eglon. Petrie noticed strata exposed by waterflow adjacent to the site, and popularized details of pottery groups excavated therefrom. This marked the introduction of scientific stratigraphy to Palestinian archaeology.|
|1891–92||Tell el-Hesi||Eglon||Frederick J. Bliss||N/a|
|1898–1900||Tell es-Safi||Gath?||Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister||N/a|
|1898–1900||Az-Zakariyya||Azekah?||Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister||N/a|
|1898–1900||Tell ej-Judeideh||Moresheth-Gath or Libnah?||Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister||N/a|
|1898–1900||Tell Sandahannah||Mareshah?||Frederick J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister||N/a|
|1902–3, 1907–9||Gezer||Gezer||R.A.S. Macalister||The Gezer calendar was discovered on the surface during this excavation.|
|1905–7||Galilee||Galilee||Herman Kohl, Ernst Sellin, and Carl Watzinger||A survey of ancient synagogues|
|1907–9||Shechem||Shechem||Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger||N/a|
|1908, 1910–1||Samaria||Samaria||David G. Lyon, Clarence S. Fisher, and George A. Reisner||N/a|
|1911–3||Beth Shemesh||Beth Shemesh||Duncan Mackenzie||N/a|
|1921–3, 1925–8, 1930–3||Beth Shean||Beth Shean||Clarence S. Fisher, Alan Rowe, and Gerald M. Fitzgerald||N/a|
|1922–3||Tell el-Ful||Gibeah?||William F. Albright||N/a|
|1925–39||Megiddo||Megiddo||Clarence S. Fisher, P.L.O. Guy, and Gordon Loud||N/a|
|1926, 1928, 1930, 1932||Tell Beit Mirsim||Eglon or Debir–Kirjath Sepher?||William F. Albright||N/a|
|1926–7, 1929, 1932, 1935 excavated||Tell en-Nasbeh||Mizpah in Benjamin||William Frederic Badè||N/a|
|1928–33||Beth Shemesh||Beth Shemesh||Elihu Grant||N/a|
|1930–6 excavated||Tell es-Sultan||Battle of Jericho||John Garstang||Suggested that remains of the upper wall was the wall described in the Bible, and dated to around 1400 BCE.|
|1931–3, 1935 excavated||Samaria||Samaria||John Winter Crowfoot||N/a|
|1932–38||Lachish||Lachish||James L. Starkey||The excavation was terminated when Starkey was killed by armed Arabs near Hebron while on his way to the opening ceremonies of the Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem|
|1936–40||Beit She’arim||Beit She’arim||Benjamin Mazar||N/a|
|1948–50, 1952–5 excavated||Jaffa||N/a||Jacob Kaplan||N/a|
|1952–1958 excavated||Tell es-Sultan||Battle of Jericho||Kathleen Kenyon||Site very much older than putative dates of Conquest of Canaan.|
|1954, 1959–62 excavated||Ramat Rahel||N/a||Yohanan Aharoni||N/a|
|1955–8, 1968||Hazor||Hazor||Yigael Yadin||N/a|
|1956–7, 1959–60, 1962 excavated||Gibeon||Gibeon||James B. Pritchard||N/a|
|1961–7 excavated )||Jerusalem (City of David)||N/a||Kathleen Kenyon||N/a|
|1962–7||Arad||Arad||Yohanan Aharoni and Ruth Amiran||N/a|
|1962–3, 1965–72||Ashdod||Ashdod||Moshe Dothan||N/a|
|1963–5 excavated||Masada||N/a||Yigael Yadin||N/a|
|1964–74||Gezer||Gezer||G. Ernest Wright, William G. Dever, and Joe D. Seger||N/a|
|1968–78||Jerusalem (southwest corner of the Temple Mount)||Temple Mount||Benjamin Mazar||N/a|
|1969–76||Beersheba||Beersheba||Yohanan Aharoni and Ze’ev Herzog||N/a|
|1969–82||Jerusalem (Jewish Quarter)||Jerusalem||Nahman Avigad||N/a|
|1975–82||Aroer||Aroer||Avraham Biran||Aroer is an Israelite town in the Negev Desert, not to be confused with the Moabite Aroer located in Jordan|
|1977–9, 1981–9||Timnah||Timnah||Amihai Mazar and George L. Kelm||N/a|
|1978–85||Jerusalem (City of David)||Jerusalem||Yigal Shiloh||N/a|
|1979–80||Ketef Hinnom||N/a||Gabriel Barkay||N/a|
|1966–1972||Et-Tell||Ai||Joseph A. Callaway|
|1981–2, 1984–8, 1990, 1992–6||Ekron||Ekron||Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin||N/a|
|1994–ongoing||Megiddo||Megiddo||Israel Finkelstein and Eric H. Cline||N/a|
|1996–2002, 2004–ongoing||Tell es-Safi (identified as biblical Gath of the Philistines)||Gath||Aren Maeir||N/a|
|1997–||Tel Rehov||Amihai Mazar||N/a|
|1999–2001, 2005||Tel Zayit||Libnah||Ron Tappy||N/a|
|2005||Ramat Rahel||N/a||Oded Lipschits||N/a|
|2005||Nahal Tut||N/a||Amir Gorzalczany and Gerald Finkielsztejn excavated||N/a|
|2007||Khirbet Qeiyafa||N/a||Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor||N/a|
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia