2019 Biblical Archeology Discoveries
Every year researchers, professors, archeologists, clergy, students and normal people who are just interested (or want an Indiana Jones style adventure) flock to Israel to take place in the greatest treasure hunt of all time… the hunt for a major discovery in Biblical archeology. Every year, treasure is found.
While Israel is definitely the site of the location of the the events of the Bible, evidence is still always exciting to find. With a country like Israel, evidence is just beneath the surface, but that surface may have a high rise or parking lot on top of it. Great care is taken by the Israel Antiquities Authority to make sure that every building site is checked for historical artifacts, but it is still difficult to dig every square inch of the country. It is impossible to know just what may be below your feet wherever you are!
This year’s finds were anything but disappointing, and all continued to prove that the Bible is a historical document. Enjoy these amazing discoveries of 2019, and we can’t wait to see what will be discovered in 2020!
Shiloh Alter Horn
Shiloh is one of the most prolific sites of Biblical Archeology and 2019 was yet another momentous season. While many interesting jars were found and other items, one in particular was significant. They believe they may have found the horn of an alter.
The Bible speaks of the horns of the alter in 1 Kings 2:28,
“When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns of the altar” (1 Kings 2:28).
While some argue against the find, it does have credence.
The site of the feeding of 5,000 has been believed to have happened at Tabgha, the site of the Church of Multiplication. A new find in Hippos digs have put that in question. The remains of a 1500 year old church the was burned to the ground during the 7th century have revealed an amazingly preserved mosaic on it’s floor that appears to depict the miracle of the loaves and fish in detail. This has many wondering if this site was actually closer to the site of the actual miracle. Perhaps further digs in the area will tell us in the future!
Servant’s Seal of Natan-Melech
While this find was technically discovered in October 2018, it was not announced until the spring of 2019 after testing and other authentication process had taken place. This seal was found in a parking lot dig in the City of David. This small seal looks insignificant in pile of rocks, but if you look at it closer, you will see it has Hebrew writing on it. The name written on it was Natan-Melech, who is also names in 2 Kings as an official in the court of King Josiah. This seal has been tested and dates back to the time of King Josiah. A truly amazing find to be holding something unseen since the days of the 1st Temple.
Discovery of Emmaus
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appeared after his resurrection in the town of Emmaus. The problem is, nobody knew where this town was. Many towns have disappeared in the span of history, but many wanted to know where this town was. Now it is believed that they have possibly located this important town, and by accident. A dig taking place in Kiriath-Jearim concerning the Maccabean revolt led the researchers to stumble across evidence that dated later than the revolt and before long it became evident that maybe this was more of a significant find than previously thought. With a town where Jesus appeared that has been untouched for thousands of years, there is no telling what can be discovered.
The town of Ziklag is known as a town in 1 Samuel 27 where David hid from King Saul. It is a city that’s location has been unknown until now. While they have not found the “smoking gun” all evidence points to them finally locating the 3200 year old site. Be looking for this site to be added to tour itineraries in the coming decade.
Church of the Apostles
Legend has said that there was a church built 1400 years ago over the traditional home of brothers Andrew and Peter, the disciples of Christ, but no one knew where this church was. A team from Israel and the United States has been digging on an archeological site for more than 4 years and they now believe they are in the ancient fishing village that was known as Bethsaida and then Julias under Roman rule, although another site also is believed to be Bethsaida. A newly found Byzantine era church has given them reason to believe they are correct. This church was spoken of by an 8th century Pilgrim who described the church and it’s belief to be built on the brothers’ home. The mosaic floor of the “Church of the Apostles” was just uncovered this past summer, giving them what they feel is the proof that they are correct.
While Israeli paratroopers were training, they ran across something that joined them with those that went nearly 3,000 years before them, a military watchtower from the reign of King Hezekiah. They, under the supervision of the Antiquities Authority, excavated the site. It had a clear view of Ashkelon, a town that while now is near the Gaza strip was at the time a Philistine stronghold. “The connection to the land, and the fact that there were Jewish fighters [here] in the past, gave me a sense of purpose.” -Second Lieutenant Roi Ofir, Paratroopers Brigade Reconnaissance Battalion.
These of course are just some of the exciting finds in Israel and throughout the Holy Land in the past year. We can’t wait to add some of these sites to our Christian Holy Land Tours in the years to come and it just another reminder that everyone has something new to see and learn in this wonderful Promised Land. May 2020 bring even greater discoveries!