Biblical Archaeology


Samuel and the Tabernacle

Samuel and the Tabernacle

The tabernacle was a portable structure that had every sign of being a temporary structure. Constructed as a semi-permanent tent, it had walls made of wooden panels set in metal sockets. The whole was covered with several layers of material (linen, woven goat hair, and leather). The tabernacle was surrounded by posts, between which were hung linen curtains. The entire structure could be taken apart for transportation, and it was moved with the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness. When the land was initially subdued, Joshua and the Israelites met at......


Did Jesus Have an Ossuary?

Did Jesus Have an Ossuary?

Jewish burials in the first century AD in the area of Jerusalem followed a regular pattern. The tomb itself was dug as a cave in the rock. The typical tomb included a small room that had one or more benches located around it, each about 5 or 6 feet long, as well as smaller cavities or niches that were dug into the walls. When a person was buried, they were brought into the tomb and laid on one of the benches (blue in the diagram above). The tomb was then sealed for......


A Rolling Stone

A Rolling Stone

The Gospel accounts tell that a large stone was used to block the entrance to Jesus’ tomb (Matt 27:60). Many modern artists incorrectly depict that stone as a massive 5-6′ stone disk. Archaeology tells a different story, and one that fits better with the Gospel accounts. Archaeologists have excavated hundreds of rock-hewn burial caves around Jerusalem from the time of Jesus. Three different types of tomb closures have been found: swinging stone doors, large circular disks, and heavy square blocking stones. The first two types, swinging stone doors and large circular disks,......


Where was Jesus' Tomb?

Where was Jesus’ Tomb?

Christian tourists who visit Jerusalem nearly always want to see the tomb of Jesus. There are two locations that they most often visit. Is either more likely to be the actual tomb of Jesus than the other? History and archaeology give a clear answer. The so-called “Garden Tomb” is located north of the Old City of Jerusalem. It provides a serene, outdoor garden setting that allow the visitor to contemplate the resurrection in a pleasant setting. For that reason it is worth visiting. However, it is not the tomb of Jesus. The......


Crucifixion in Antiquity

Crucifixion in Antiquity

The practice of crucifixion is known from as early as the 5th century in Greece.  Herodotus mentions the crucifixion of a captured Persian general at the hands of the Athenians in 479 BC. Numerous other historical examples are known, including the following: Alexander the Great crucified 2,000 survivors of his siege of Tyre. Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judea from 103 to 76 BC, crucified 800 rebels, said to be Pharisees, in the middle of Jerusalem. In Hannibal’s day, crucifixion was an established mode of execution which could even be imposed on generals......