(January 8, 2024) Dear Friends of the Shiloh Excavations,
The Shiloh Dig Staff of ABR continues to closely monitor the situation in Israel as we approach the 2024 excavation season at Shiloh. As of now, the season remains on schedule. We presently plan to make a final decision about the 2024 season on or before March 18, 2024. This allows for the possibility of a cease fire, a calmer political climate, and the (re)opening our Dig headquarters at the Ritz Hotel in Jerusalem. Many factors are in play, but we trust in God’s sovereignty.
New volunteers are welcome to register, but we ask that no payments be made until after March 18. We will post a note and email regarding deposits and payments going forward. All volunteers will be required to sign a liability waiver that addresses the current circumstances in Israel. We also recommend delaying the purchase of plane tickets until we make an official announcement.
We ask that you join us in prayer as we navigate the situation in Israel and discern the Lord’s will in this highly complex matter.
With thanks in Christ Jesus, Henry B. Smith Jr., on behalf of the Shiloh Dig Staff
Ancient Shiloh was first established in the Middle Bronze (MB) II period, around 1700 B.C. It was expanded in MB III, around 1600 B.C. and was continuously occupied until the middle of Iron Age I (around 1070 B.C.) when the Philistines destroyed it (See I Samuel 4). It was rebuilt in Iron II (980-587 B.C.) and was occupied through Early Roman times. The Byzantines and Crusaders also built structures there. Most importantly, it was the center of Israelite worship for at least 300 years. The tabernacle was erected at Shiloh and may have been later replaced by a more permanent structure. The city is in the territory of Ephraim, Joshua’s tribe.
History of Excavations
Shiloh was excavated for three seasons by a Danish team between 1926 and 1932 and again in 1963. Israel Finkelstein worked the site from 1981-84. Although a minimalist, Finkelstein confirmed the presence of “proto-Israelites” from the time of the Conquest through the period of the Judges. A very large deposit of burned cultic bones was uncovered, confirming a sacrificial system. Like at Maqatir, the Israelites built their houses against the MB wall. After Finkelstein, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria (KAMAT) renewed sporadic excavations at Shiloh in 1988. To date, ancient gates have not yet been found, but there was a glacis (fortification slope) and fortified wall that surrounded the site, which no doubt will eventually lead to the gate(s).
Associates for Biblical Research has been excavating at Shiloh since 2017.
2013 Roundup of Significant New Discoveries "These buildings were destroyed in a fierce conflagration. Burnt floors were found all over. Collapsed burnt bricks accumulated on these floors to a height of more than three feet. Some of the bricks had been baked by the blaze that had raged here. Roof collapse was discernible in many places. All this dramatic evidence of fire must be associated with the destruction of Shiloh by the Philistines after they defeated the Israelites near Ebenezer in the mid-11th century B.C. Jeremiah knew what he was talking about when he later threatened the people with destruction like Shiloh’s."
Livyatan-ben-Aryeh, Reut, and Hananya Hizmi. “The Excavations at the Northern Platform of Tel Shiloh the 2012-2013 Seasons [Translated from Hebrew].” Edited by D. Scott Stripling and David E. Graves. Translated by Hillel Richman. Judea and Samarea Studies 23 (2014): 113–30.
From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period Fall of Shiloh (l Sam. 1-4). Significant architecture from the Iron Age I, the time of Eli, has been excavated at Khirbet Seilun, ancient Shiloh, 17 km south of Shechem. All traces of Iron Age and earlier occupation on the summit of the site unfortunately were removed by later building activity. On the slopes, however, enough material from the Iron Age I period has been found to determine that the settlement at that time was 2 1/2 to 3 acres in size.
The Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) is conducting the Excavations at Biblical Shiloh for which we are seeking help and partnerships from other evangelical institutions and individuals. Because of limited resources, ABR cannot effectively complete this project by itself. Therefore, educational institutions, churches, Christian ministries, corporations and private individuals are invited to participate in the endeavor.
ABR is forming a consortium of interested parties to carry out the excavation. ABR will supply the professional expertise, organization, and leadership for the project while consortium members will be called upon to provide manpower and funding. In conjunction with the Shiloh Dig, optional touring of major Biblical and archaeological sites in Israel is offered.
As part of its mission to train others in the field archaeology, ABR conducts a Field School as an integral part of the tour and excavation. ABR recognizes that the level of funding available from prospective members of the consortium varies. Therefore, several levels of participation, with a sliding scale of benefits, have been established. Membership in the consortium is on a yearly basis.
All consortium members receive the following benefits:
A unique opportunity to participate in what may be one of the most important discoveries in Biblical archaeology in defense of the Scriptures.
Recognition in the publication of the excavation results.
Copies of all publications pertaining to the excavation.
Participation in the ABR Field School. The Field School consists of evening lectures by the core staff on places visited while touring, archaeological methodology, pottery typology, and lectures related to Shiloh.
Member schools are encouraged to offer credit to students taking part in the program.
A faculty member who participates in the excavation on a regular basis is given the opportunity to be trained as a Square Supervisor. The faculty member is then assigned his/her own square to excavate, along with students from the faculty member’s institution.
Authorization to publicize participation in the excavation.
Levels of consortium membership, with corresponding benefits:
Consortium Patron— Supports the project with an annual gift of $6,000.00 or more. Qualifies for the “Five for One” faculty participation plan for an unlimited number of faculty members. For each five students from the faculty members’ institution participating in the program at full cost for a minimum of two weeks, one faculty member’s room and board will be covered.
Consortium Sponsor— Supports the project with an annual gift of $3,000.00. Qualifies for the “Five for One” faculty participation plan for two faculty members. For each five students from the faculty members’ institution participating in the program at full cost for a minimum of two weeks, 50 % of a faculty member’s room and board will be covered, up to a total of two faculty members.
Consortium Member—Supports the project with an annual gift of $1,000.00. Groups and individuals who become Consortium Members will be recognized in pertinent ABR publications.
Our consortium package allows for these different levels of participation, depending upon the interests and objectives of your institution. Levels of participation can be customized to fit the unique circumstances of your school. This project is being conducted with the highest level of academic rigor, and most importantly, with fidelity to the Scriptures as the inerrant and authoritative Word of God.
ABR fulfills its mission through memberships and generous donations from supporters.
Join us in our mission! No matter what your level of interest, from keeping abreast of the fascinating research that comes out of the field work, to actively participating in an archaeological dig, you can become an integral part of our ministry.