Biblical Archeology 101
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
Biblical Archeology 101
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
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
The 5 main things
we’ll be covering
tonight will be…
1. The differences
between archeology,
paleontology and
Biblical Archeology 101
2. Various kinds of
3. What are the “pit” and
“tunnel” methods?
4. Who was Captain
Charles Warren and
what effect did he have
on Biblical archeology?
5. What is Hezekiah's
Biblical Archeology 101
I don’t want to burst
any bubbles but the
first thing we want to
understand is one can
never really fully
archeology from a
teaching or from a
Biblical Archeology 101
It’s something that has
to be experienced first
No one can ever explain
the feeling one gets
when one picks up their
first shard or an ancient
Biblical Archeology 101
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
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 ununique piece of pottery.
But the possibility is there
and it’s very exciting.
Biblical Archeology 101
Indiana Jones isn’t
realistic archeology.
You’re not running from
giant boulders and there
is no romance at the
There are a lot of geeks
and geekettes, but very
little romance.
Biblical Archeology 101
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.
Typical Archeology brush
Biblical Archeology 101
But that being said, there’s a
lot to learn in the classroom
before you should ever set
foot on a dig (archeological
We use the word “dig” a lot
instead of archeological
Biblical Archeology 101
From the classroom we
learn what to look for
and how to dig
We’ll talk more about
the how part when we
discuss the pit method.
Biblical Archeology 101
Also there’s a lot of big
words, big archeological
terms but I’ll try and
break them down so
they’re easily
Before we get to that…
The differences between archeology,
paleontology and anthropology.
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.
Archaeologists primarily
work with human artifacts
and objects that have been
made by humans as well as
working with human
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.
Technically, an
anthropologist studies all
aspects of humanity physical, cultural, and
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.
There is a great deal of
overlap between those
two disciplines.
Often times when you’re
digging in Israel, you have
to play the
Sometimes you can’t
figure what’s going on at
the site unless you do.
The differences between archeology,
paleontology and anthropology.
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.
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
Various kinds of archeology
Just as there are
different kinds of
anthropology and
paleontology there are
also different kinds of
Various kinds of archeology
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
There’s also prehistoric
archeology and historic
historic archaeology is
the study of cultures
who have written history
whereas prehistoric
archeology doesn’t study
a written history.
Various kinds of archeology
Sometimes it is difficult
to distinguish the
boundary between
history and prehistory
there’s a lot of
Various kinds of archeology
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
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
Various kinds of archeology
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
The search for Atlantis for
It could be real but maybe
would also include frauds
like Vendal Jones.
We’ll be talking about him
in the next teaching.
Various kinds of archeology
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
Various kinds of archeology
Near Eastern archeology
includes Biblical
archeology and SyroPalestinian archaeology
Biblical archeology is any
archeology that is
connected to the Bible.
Various kinds of archeology
archaeology is
archeology connected to
Israel and the
surrounding area.
How to start
Again, there is a lot of
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
There’s many different
One is by putting on the
hat of the philologist
(study of ancient
Masada is a perfect
example of that.
How to start
Yigal Yadin, a famous
Israeli archeologist, read
about the story of
Masada from Josephus
and then went there and
started digging.
Yigal Yadin Born March 1917,
died 28 June 1984)
How to start
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.
Find some of his books at
How to start
The Dead Sea Scrolls
has given Near
Eastern archeologists
a wealth of
concerning the
location of various
How to start
Philology isn’t
the only way to
find a site.
Many sites in
Israel can be
selected simply
by looking at
How to start
Remember we
talked about tels.
A tel is a site where
city after city has
been built on top
of the previous city.
Valley of Megido
How to start
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
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
How to start
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
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
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
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
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
So you can see they
have their hands full.
Should they still be
doing more?
Yes, but it’s a
organization so
they’re doing pretty
good considering.
How to start
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
Sometimes they get
approved, sometimes
they don’t again
depending on the
So now that we
understand a little about
what archeology is, let’s
look at how an actual dig
is conducted.
Pit Method vs Tunnel Method
Today we use what is
called the pit method.
It can be a little pit
like this…
Pit Method vs Tunnel Method
Or a big pit like this…
Pit Method vs Tunnel Method
Or really big like this…
Pit Method vs Tunnel Method
Speaking of big…(FYI)
Contrary to what one
might think, Biblical
archeologists generally
measure in feet and
inches as opposed to
using the metric system
even though the metric
system is the
international standard of
Pit Method vs Tunnel Method
So we now use this pit
method when we dig.
It wasn’t always that
Years ago they use to
use the tunnel
Capt. Charles Warren
The grandfather of
Biblical archeology
Capt. Charles Warren
used this method in
Jerusalem in 1867.
Let’s talk about Capt.
Charles Warren for a
Capt. Charles Warren
In 1865, British Baroness
Angela Coutts went on a
pilgrimage to the holy
It was then she decided to
start an organization
called the Palestine
Exploration Fund
Capt. Charles Warren
When she returned to
England, Coutts donated
500 pounds sterling to
help establish the
She convinced her friend
and neighbor “Vicky” to
be a sponsor of the new
organization. (Vicky, by
the way, was none other
than Queen Victoria.)
Capt. Charles Warren
The goal of the P.E.F.
(Palestine Exploration
Fund) was to promote
research into the
archaeology and history,
manners and customs,
culture, topography,
geology and natural
sciences of Biblical
Palestine and the Near
Capt. Charles Warren
Two years later, the
P.E.F. (Palestine
Exploration Fund) sent
27-year-old Lieutenant
(later Captain) Charles
Warren of the British
Royal Engineering
Corps to Jerusalem.
Capt. Charles Warren
His instructions were
to investigate the site
of the Temple, the City
of David, and the
authenticity of the
traditional Church of
the Holy Sepulcher.
Capt. Charles Warren
Warren had
previously made
a name for
himself by scaling
and charting the
Rock of Gibraltar.
Capt. Charles Warren
In February 1867,
Warren, and a few
others with him took 8
mule-loads of
equipment including
crowbars, ropes, jacks,
handspikes, blocks and
wheels, to Jerusalem.
Capt. Charles Warren
At the time, the Ottoman
Turks ruled the holy land
and holy city.
As the firman (permit) to
dig had not yet arrived
from Constantinople,
Warren insisted that the
British consul arrange a
meeting for him with the
pasha (the Turkish ruler of
Capt. Charles Warren
To the consul’s surprise,
Warren convinced the
pasha to approve digging
around (but not inside)
the Haram el-Sharif,
(Temple Mount).
A Moslem ruler would not
allow a non muslim to
excavate inside the
Haram, containing the
Dome of the Rock and the
Al Aqsa Mosque.
Capt. Charles Warren
Warren, however, was not
He hired local diggers and
at a distance from the
outer walls of the Temple
Mount, he dug a number
of shafts and then began
to tunnel towards the
Temple area.
Capt. Charles Warren
The people of
Jerusalem noted he
was always
underground and
nicknamed him “The
Capt. Charles Warren
At one point, the
curious pasha wanted
to see what was going
on underground, and
demanded to be let
down the shaft.
Capt. Charles Warren
The pasha was slowly
lowered on a board
attached to two ropes
and just before he
reached the tunnel
leading towards the
Temple Mount,
expedition members
holding the ropes
began to yank them.
Capt. Charles Warren
The frightened pasha
shrieked and begged
to be pulled up above
ground. Wiping the
sweat off his forehead,
the pasha
congratulated Warren
“on his bravery”.
Capt. Charles Warren
When the firman
finally arrived from
Warren was startled to
that the expedition
was permitted to dig
everywhere, except for
Christian and Moslem
religious sites.
Capt. Charles Warren
Well, that was exactly
where he intended to
Warren decided to
wave the firman
around and say “I got
it,” but be sure to show
it to no one.
Capt. Charles Warren
For the next few
months, he and his
team sank shafts
around the Temple
Mount, digging down
through more than 130
feet of rubble to reach
Capt. Charles Warren
The task was difficult and
dangerous, as the
mountain of debris above
their heads tended to
They had a procession of
“lucky escapes,” when
falling stones nearly
crushed them
to death.
Capt. Charles Warren
One nineteenth century
British historian wrote, “It
was Warren who stripped
the rubbish from the rocks
and showed the glorious
temple standing within its
walls 1,000 feet long and
200 feet high, of mighty
Capt. Charles Warren
It was he who laid open the
valleys now covered up and
hidden; he who opened the
secret passages, the ancient
aqueducts, the bridge
connecting the temple and the
However, Warren, in fact,
found not the walls of the
temple, but the outer retaining
walls of the temple platform.
Capt. Charles Warren
Warren’s greatest
contribution was his
suggestion that
Jerusalem D.C. (David’s
Capital) lay outside the
walls of the Old City.
Capt. Charles Warren
At that time, everyone
believed that the “Old
City” was the old city,
meaning fortifications
from the days of David
were located
somewhere below the
present city walls.
Capt. Charles Warren
However, at the bottom of
one of Warren’s shafts
outside the south-eastern
corner of the Temple
Mount, Warren found the
remains of a massive city
wall that was leading
southwards, away from
the walls of the Old City.
“Warren’s Shaft”
Capt. Charles Warren
As Warren tunneled
alongside this wall for
some 700 feet, he
noted that it went way
beyond the limits of
the city.
Capt. Charles Warren
The wall itself later proved
to be fifth century AD, but
the possibility, never
before considered, arose
that the earlier city could
have been located south
of the Temple Mount and
the city walls, close to the
city’s source of water…
the Gihon Spring.
Capt. Charles Warren
At the end of October
1867, Warren and his
team explored a manmade tunnel (not an
archeological tunnel),
leading away from the
Gihon Spring.
Capt. Charles Warren
Warren recorded in his
journal that in the
beginning it was easy
walking until they
reached 600 feet into
the tunnel. Then they
began crawling on all
Capt. Charles Warren
As they saw bits of cabbagestalks floating by, they realized
that the waters had started to
Warren described himself with
a pencil, compass and field
book in his hands, and the
candle for the most part in his
He and an associate with him
had just 4 inches breathing
Capt. Charles Warren
At 900 feet into the
tunnel, they discovered
false turns and began to
go in a zigzag direction.
When they came out
shivering, it was
dark. They had been
nearly four hours in the
Capt. Charles Warren
Since then this tunnel
has been cleared out
and thousands of
tourists go through it
every year. It is called
Hezekiah's tunnel.
It is 1,750 feet long
and built in 701 BC
Hezekiah's tunnel
We read about it in 2 Kings 20
20And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all
his might, and how he made a pool, and a
conduit (tunnel), and brought water into the city,
are they not written in the book of the chronicles
of the kings of Judah?
Hezekiah's tunnel
We take all of our
tours through the
tunnel, it’s a lot of fun.
Here’s what some
people have written
about it….
Hezekiah's tunnel
“An adventure that you will never forget! The
historical significance, the unbelievable
engineering as well as the fact that this tunnel
still has water flowing through it after 2700
years makes this an amazing place. A must see if
you are in Jerusalem.” Marty
Hezekiah's tunnel
The most uplifting experience you'll go on in your life
time! Moshe
Even kids like it this was written by a 13 year old.…
Amazing! Went with a group...We had so much fun!!
We sang all the way. It was so cool to be in a place that
was so old. You should not go if you are claustrophobic
in the slightest bit!! It is very small in some areas and
the water is a little chilly! I WOULD DEFINITLY
Here’s some pics and diagrams of Hezekiah’s tunnel…
Hezekiah's tunnel
Hezekiah's tunnel
Gihon spring
Hezekiah's tunnel
Pool of Siloam
Hezekiah's tunnel
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Hezekiah's tunnel
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Hezekiah's tunnel
When you get about half way through the tunnel there is a copy
of an ancient inscription that is found there. It says…
“When the tunnel was driven through. And this was the way
in which it was cut through: With axe, each man toward his
fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut
through, there was heard the voice of a man calling to his
fellows, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right and
on the left. And when the tunnel was driven through, the
quarrymen hewed the rock, each man toward his fellow, axe
against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward
the reservoir for 1200 cubits, and the height of the rock
above the heads of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.”
Hezekiah's tunnel
Let’s watch a clip on Hezekiah's
Hezekiah's tunnel
Again, there’s a lot of
tunnels below
Let’s look at a quick
clip of one of these
tunnels that was
found in 2007.
Hezekiah's tunnel
Why do we need to
know about all these
Because if you don’t
know where these
tunnels are you may
start a dig and then
fall through!
Hezekiah's tunnel
1. So now you know
some of the
differences between
paleontology and
Hezekiah's tunnel
2. You know there’s various
kinds of archeology.
3. You know the difference
between the “pit” and
“tunnel” methods.
4. You know who was
Captain Charles Warren
and what effect he had
on Biblical Archeology.
5. You know what
Hezekiah's tunnel is.