Archaeology through Caleb's Eyes

Student/interns in Israel December 05, 2013

To me, archaeology has always been somewhat distant and confusing. It fills the pages of dusty books and the conversations of people who don’t get out enough, Mr. Indiana Jones excepted. HOWEVER, this semester at BII my preconceptions – misconceptions really – have been shattered and replaced with knowledge and experience that is real, practical and relevant.

Reading has its place, but for someone like me, “hands-on” can’t be beat. For two days in September and two days in October, our team was able to participate in active excavations. Ancient Tiberia is on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and was first established in the days of Yeshua. So far it has yielded a Byzantine-period church and a Late Roman-Byzantine bathhouse and mosque dated by experts to the Early Islamic Period. Arriving just before sunrise, we were introduced to the modern terminology and techniques of a dig, putting them into practice simultaneously. Potsherds were plentiful and exhilarating in catching your eye for the first time. Using ceramic typology, architectural remains and various small finds, archaeologists have been piecing together the long history of this religious location for years (just last week we observed this academic process at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). It’s a balance of intellect, creative thinking and hard work: as hot and dusty as it became those around us were more enthusiastic than I would have imagined because they love of history.

But it occurred to me that for believers, Israel’s ancient places are so much more than just history. As we learned in class, archaeology can illustrate, illuminate, supplement and authenticate the Bible, giving invaluable context. That’s why it should interest believers including myself! After walking through Old and New Testament sites – Evangelical Triangle, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Ashkelon, etc. – how I see the Word of God will never be the same.

by Caleb, BII student/intern

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