Archaeological Finds at Shiloh Foster Faith in Bible

By Allegra Thatcher Published on July 16, 2018

The places and names of the Bible often seem ancient and un-pronouncable to modern readers of the sacred text. But what if those names and locations weren’t so remote? What if they became part of an every day reality?

The Associates for Biblical Research is conducting an archaeological dig in Shiloh, Israel, hoping to do just that.

Led by Dr. Scott Stripling, the group trains anyone who wishes to participate in unearthing biblical history. The dig began in 2017, and it seeks to show that Old Testament claims are historically accurate. Their efforts are already paying off.

According to CBN News, the team finds approximately 2,000 pieces of pottery a day, as well as coins and other artifacts from Biblical and Roman times. Pottery is an excellent way of dating a time period, said Stripling, so the team can tell what era they are literally unearthing.

“We’re dealing with real people, real places, real events,” he continued. “This is not mythology. The coins that we excavated today — we’re talking about coins of Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Thestos, Felix, Agrippa the First, Agrippa the Second.”

The mission is a “quest to marry” faith and reason by tying physical evidence with the Christian beliefs of the diggers, said The Times of Israel.

Many of the diggers are university students with a passion for archaeology and their faith. “It’s exciting to find ancient things — things that have been just waiting for us for thousands of years,” said Abigail Leavitt, a student at the University of Pikesville.

“Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible,” Stripling went on. “What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude.”

So far, the materials they have found match the descriptions of the ancient texts.

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The team takes a different approach than the leader of the site’s last excavation in 1981-84. Professor Israel Finkelstein, an Israeli archaeologist from Tel Aviv University, also leads expeditions to discover the truth of ancient Israel. One recent example is “Reconstructing Ancient Israel: The Exact and Life Sciences Perspective,” in 2009-2014.

But while Finkelstein seeks to learn something about the time period from the Bible, he does not expect the biblical text to be accurate in all its details. Haartez reports that the professor’s sees the “stories about the conquest of the Land of Israel … are part of an ideological — religious and political — manifesto, a master stroke by a creative copywriter.”

Stripling and his team, however, believe that the pieces they find can help reveal the historical authenticity of biblical texts.

One example, according to Ritmeyer Archaeological Design, is the 2017 discoveries that suggest that inhabitants of Shiloh left the city in haste. This fits with the account of the Philistine raid on Shiloh, accompanied by fire.

The team posts weekly reports on the digs, by which its members hope to share their experience of unearthing the truth beneath Shiloh, and the truth of the biblical witness.

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