I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for letting me be apart of this wonderful association and field excavation staff that I honestly consider to be my second family. I am so blessed to have had such wonderful people working with me and not only continuously teaching me, but treating me like a colleague and fellow lover of what it is that everyone in ABR does. -Cassie
Well organized, Christ honoring! -David
I can't say enough good about ABR! As a single woman on a dig in a foreign land, I was a little concerned about personal safety. However, during my entire stay I felt perfectly safe, and knew that ABR had my back. -Jenny
I enjoyed the experience very much and am promoting it to people. -Lars
The fellowship was rich and the sweet spirit that we had prayed for was evident. -Nancy
Hard work. Loved every minute. I couldn't wait to get my hands in the dirtwhere Joshua may have walked. Everyone seemed to have a love for the Word. Lively discussions with fellow volunteers and scholars alike were a highlight for me. We don't have to agree on all things to feel comeraderie -Larry
The Bible really comes alive when you stand where it all happened. -Lorne
It was the trip of a lifetime for me, and will always treasure the memories. Staff friendly, and welcoming, helpful. Sharing in the work was exactly what I wanted and thoroughly enjoyed everything. Would love to do this again! Thank you to everyone! -Elizabeth
Pleasure to meet so many great and interesting people. -David
“The best in the business! I learned so much on-site during the dig and in the classroom.” -Sherry 2015
“Participating in the dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir was a truly special opportunity for my wife and me. I was excited to engage in the work of archaeology at a site that holds such significance regarding the confirmation of the biblical record over and against the consensus of critical scholarship. Digging in Israel and learning from respected archaeologists was an experience we found to be well worth the monetary and physical investment. But not only was it great to work on an active dig site, the added benefit of personal conversations with the ABR staff, evening lectures, and opportunities to tour other sites in Israel made for a truly unforgettable experience.” -Steve L. 2013
“I was pleased with how professional and talented the leaders were. Working with them was an enjoyable experience. They took time to demonstrate exactly what I needed to do to be productive... It was the best summer camp I've ever been to. The work I performed gave me great satisfaction. The wonderful friends I made were a real bonus. I really don't know how to improve the experience, other than having more Magnum ice cream bars.” -Dale 2015
Scholarship Winner Discusses Dig At Khirbet el-Maqatir
A Diary of the 2011 Excavation Season by Don McNeeley
Dig Diary from Khirbet el-Maqatir: Winter 2012 by Dee Alberty
“This trip was a dream come true!” -David M.
“Our bus passes through the Israeli checkpoint before dawn, filled with the sounds of a spoken bible passage, prayer, and song. Arriving at the base of Khirbet el-Maqatir, we climb to the dig site and pause at the top, enthralled again by the view of Jerusalem. Reflecting on the terrain and Joshua's strategy to capture Ai, the ruins underneath me transform: the ancient gate looms tall and impenetrable, and the sling stones are freshly chiseled – held in the strong hands of a warrior who used them 3500 years ago. Hoisting a pick, I'm eager for another day of digging and fellowship with my team.” -Vanessa 2010
“Going on a dig was a far-fetched dream for two years before my husband and I were able to do it. In my two weeks, I found not only lots of pottery, but also a coin! It was really exciting. Further, by literally getting my hands dirty in the past, the Bible became alive. I could see how Joshua and the Israelites would be able to take Ai. I felt connected not only to the land of Israel, but also the reality of the Bible. It only made me appreciate the Bible and its reliability more and more.” -Christine 2010
“This was my second dig at Khirbet el Maqatir and I was anxious to see what had been found in the years since 1998. For a while I was lost because the site seemed different. It was more overgrown with thornsbushes, we approached the site from a different direction and there were more Arab houses than before. It was seeing Jerusalem in the distance that helped me get my bearings. I eventually found the wall that I helped uncover twelve years ago. It was wonderful to be in Israel digging up the past. Working in a square with other diggers is fun as you meet funny, friendly, Christian people who make the whole adventure very enjoyable as you share experiences with them. Other people found exciting things while I found a lot of bedrock but that didn’t matter. I am convinced that Dr. Wood is right and this is Joshua’s Ai as it fits the Bible’s description so very well. It was hard work with early hours and hard manual labour (for someone my age and I lost about 15lbs) but the satisfaction of knowing that you were helping to demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible made it all worthwhile.” -Bob 2010
“As a professor, I had a three week break between the end of my spring semester and the beginning of the summer semester. As fate would have it, the excavation dates at Khirbet el-Maqatir fit perfectly in that time frame. I supervised the excavation of two squares that were artifact rich. The stratigraphy was Byzantine, Hasmonean, and Late Bronze. There was a great spirit among the volunteers; all knew that we were “digging the Bible.”” -Scott
“Three weeks participation with the ABR’s “dig” at Khirbet el-Maqatir left me with a kaleidoscope of first-time memories: excitement to be in Israel, early morning sunrises, military checkpoints, driving through the West Bank, carrying supplies up (and down) the hill, setting up shade tents, digging in dirt (and rocks), learning “on-site,” new friendships, hard work (and blisters), laughter, team work and camaraderie, excitement over “treasures” discovered, midday Islamic calls to prayer, pottery “readings,” weekend sightseeing, and fun! Most importantly, however, I had the privilege of participating with the ABR team in seeking to demonstrate the historical reliability of God’s Word.” -Debbie 2010
“My time at Khirbet el-Maqatir last spring was both challenging and eye-opening. I learned more about archaeology in my two weeks of digging than I did in my thirteen years of schooling. As an educator, no class that I have taken throughout my time in seminary and university has changed the way I teach the Old Testament as did my hands-on “class” at Khirbet el-Maqatir with men like Dr. Bryant Wood, Gary Byers, Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Eugene Merrill (among others). It truly was an enjoyable experience—so much so, I plan on returning this spring.” -Brian 2010
“The Dig was unbelievable. I was mostly excited about the learning aspect and the perfect balance between the lectures and the hands on experience.” -Kevin
“Very good project. Good group of people.” -Lou
“The Biblical teaching from the staff was sound doctrine, and very edifying.” -Abigail
“The staff was amazingly knowledgable...I loved all the lectures.” -Steve
“We will be praying for the team going this year and remembering what an incredible year we had at last year’s dig (2011).” -Jan
“I will do my best to promote Biblical Archaeology and ABR wherever I am invited to speak or teach.” -Art
“[The Dig] was sooo worth it! It was the best vacation I ever had...” -Jackie
“The ABR staff was excellent, very genuine, kind, informative and knowledgable.” -Roy (2010)
Archaeological Claims about Shiloh
Israeli Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein excavated at Shiloh and has made several claims that are not in accord with the biblical narrative. ABR's excavations at Shiloh will seek to explore those claims, which include:
1. Finkelstein claims that the cultic center had to be on the top of the tell because this was the Canaanite tradition. In his view, if there were Israelites at Shiloh, they did not arrive until the 13th century B.C. or later. Biblical chronology based on 1 Kings 6:1 and other texts places the Conquest at the end of the 15th century BC. The ABR excavation at Shiloh has the potential to evaluate these arguments. For example, if remains of the tabernacle and associated buildings are found in a clear Late Bronze (LB) [1485-1173 B.C.] context, it would be an obvious synchronism between the archaeological data and the biblical text.
2. Finkelstein did not excavate the summit of the tel because he presupposed that there was only shallow soil above bedrock. However, there is a large building on the summit, possibly from the Crusader era, that may protect and preserve remains from the tabernacle or its associated buildings. The ABR excavation looks to excavate this building down to bedrock in order to explore this possibility.
3. Finkelstein asserts that the massive LB bone deposit in Area D was entirely from the site's Canaanite's inhabitants. In this, he presupposes a late date for the Conquest (around 1230 B.C.). According to 1 Kings 6:1, Judges 11:26, and Joshua 18:1, the Israelites arrived at Shiloh about 1400 B.C. They immediately erected the tabernacle in order to practice the biblical sacrificial system. The bones in the deposit are almost entirely from animals prescribed for Israelite sacrifice. The ABR excavation at Shiloh will reexamine the evidence from the bone deposit and see how it compares to the biblical text.
4. In public lectures, Finkelstein has made statements which differ his own Final Publication at Shiloh. He now seeks to minimize the Iron II (980-587 B.C.) or 1st Temple Period occupation at Shiloh. This contradicts 1 Kings 11:29 and 14:2-4, and Jeremiah 7:12-14, 29:6-9, and 41:5. The ABR excavation at Shiloh has the potential to reveal Iron II remains, illustrating the reliability of the biblical text during this era.
Why not Join ABR as a volunteer to help evaluate these assertions and experience Israel like never before? »
Possible Tabernacle Locations.