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Meet the Dig Staff

Dr. Scott Stripling is the Director of Excavations at Ancient Shiloh. Previously Stripling directed the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 2013-2017, served as Field Supervisor of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in from 2005 to 2010, and as a supervisor of the Jerusalem Temple Mount Salvage Project in Jerusalem. His academic affiliation is with The Bible Seminary in Katy (Houston), Texas where he serves as the provost and professor of Biblical Archaeology and Church History. A popular speaker and author of The Trowel and the Truth, Somebody Call 9:11, and numerous other publications and documentaries, Stripling has served on a variety of Boards, including the Near East Archaeological Society. He and his wife, Janet, have four children and two grandchildren. For more information go to www.scottstripling.net.

 

 

Mr. Gary Byers serves as Assistant Director and Senior Archaeologist of the Shiloh Excavations, Israel. He is also the Assistant Director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, Jordan (since 2005). Gary previously worked at Khirbet el-Maqatir (1995-2014), Khirbet Nisya (1993-1994) and Tel Miqne/Ekron (1984) in Israel. Currently he is serving as the Dean of the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University and sits on the Board of Directors of the Near East Archaeological Society.

 

 

 

Ms. Abigail Leavitt serves as objects registrar at the Shiloh Excavations. Abigail has been involved with archaeology since 2007, working at several archaeological projects including The Temple Mount Salvage Operation, Khirbet el Maqatir, Mount Zion and Tel Shiloh. She served as square supervisor and objects registrar on the Khirbet el Maqatir excavation, and as assistant registrar on the Mount Zion excavation. Abigail has co-authored two articles on the subject of Judean Pillar Figurines. ‘A Headless Judean Pillar Figurine From Tel el-Ful’ was published in in the Near Eastern Archaeology Society Bulletin, and ‘The Mystery of the Headless Statue’ was published in Bible and Spade magazine. Abigail has also co-authored an online article entitled ‘ABR Researches Jerusalem Tombs for the Shroud of Turin Project’ published on the ABR website. Abigail hails from Lewiston, Idaho, but is currently residing in Texas, where she is currently a student at The Bible Seminary.

 

 

Mr. Henry B. Smith Jr. is the Administrative Director of the Shiloh Excavations. He served as the Director of Development for ABR from 2005 through the Fall 2015. He presently works for ABR as a researcher, as the AD for the Shiloh Dig, and as the co-host of ABR's television program, Digging for Truth. Born and raised in northwestern NJ, he earned a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers in 1992. In 2015, Henry graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary with an M.A.R., emphasizing apologetics and Biblical languages. He has published dozens of articles on the ABR website, including: Canaanite Child Sacrifice, Abortion and the Bible and Cosmic Death from Adam's Fall: An Exegesis of Romans 8:19-23a. Henry served as a volunteer at the Hazor excavations in 2007, and was the host of both the ABR Biblical Egypt Study Tour in 2008 and ABR's Israel Tour in 2010. He was a square supervisor at the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations in 2012 and 2013, and at Shiloh in 2017 and 2018. He is presently heading up the The Genesis 5 and 11 Genealogy and Chronology Research Project for ABR, authoring: Primeval Chronology Restored, The Case for the Septuagint's Chronology in Genesis 5 and 11, and On the Authenticity of Kainan, Son of Arpachshad 

Mrs. Suzanne Lattimer serves as Administrative Director at Shiloh during the excavation season. Searching for the X on the ground has been a life-long passion and a driving goal. In search for her buried treasures, she attended Bryan College in Dayton, TN and received her B.A. in Bible and Piano Performance, with a minor in Koine Greek. She then went on to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois and received her M.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Semitic Languages. Suzanne was a lowly peon in ABR's excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, fulfilling her parent’s request to try archaeology before paying for a degree. With degree in hand, she served as a square supervisor (affectionally known as a slave driver) from 2010 through 2013, and as a Field Archaeologist from 2014 through the inaugural season at Shiloh. She has also dug at Tel Dor, Israel in 2004, and in the Great Smoky Mountains with the National Park Service in 2001. She is on the Board of Directors for the Near East Archaeological Society and has served as its treasurer since 2011. In the off season, Suzanne holds down the home front for her husband serving in the Navy, homeschools their daughter, sings in the church choir, and tackles home projects that seem to never end. She has written articles for children in Bible and Spade, and has spoken to many children and adult Sunday School classes about the importance of archaeology.

Mr. Michael Luddeni has graciously served the ministry of ABR for over 25 years. An avid lover of archaeology and the Bible, Mike served as the Dig photographer at Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations from 1995 to 2016. He also served at the ABR excavations at Khirbet Nisya under the direction of ABR founder, Dr. David Livingston. Mike also works as the photographer at the excavations at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan. Mike has traveled extensively through Europe and the Middle East photographing ancient sites and museum objects and artifacts of the Biblical world. He formerly served on the ABR Board of Directors and has archived thousands of pictures for the ABR ministry, volunteering as the photo and graphics editor for ABR's flagship publication, Bible and Spade magazine.

 

 

Dr. Mark Hassler serves as director of publications and field archaeologist for the Shiloh excavations. He worked at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 2013 to 2016. Dr. Hassler is associate professor of Old Testament and director of the ThM program at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary. He is the editor of the Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin (NEASB), a peer-reviewed journal established in 1958. Mark earned his graduate degrees at The Master’s Seminary (PhD, Old Testament; ThM, Old Testament; and MDiv). In 2020 he will complete the editorial training program at the University of Chicago with a specialization in developmental editing. Previously, Dr. Hassler taught at The Master’s Seminary and Capital Seminary and Graduate School. He is the first vice president of the Evangelical Theological Society's eastern region, and he serves on the board of directors for the Near East Archaeological Society.

 

 

Dr. Brian Peterson- worked at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 2010-2016, and presently serves as a Field Archaeologist at Shiloh. His passion is marrying the truth of the Word with historical records and archaeology. In 2003, he completed a Master of Theological Studies from Beeson Divinity School and in 2004 completed his second master’s degree, a MAOT, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Brian graduated in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from the University of Toronto. Since then Brian has taught classes at the Gambia Theological Institute in the Gambia, West Africa as well as spending a year (2010) as an Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada. In the summer of 2011, Brian joined the faculty of Lee University in Cleveland, TN as a part of the School of Religion in the Theology Department where he presently teaches a variety of Old Testament classes and Introductory Hebrew. Brian has published several articles and essays. His dissertation has been published by Wipf and Stock in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series entitled “Ezekiel in Context: Ezekiel’s Message Understood in its Historical Setting of Covenant Curses and Ancient Near Eastern Mythological Motifs." Brian has also published two books with Fortress Press, "The Authors of the Deuteronomistic History" and, "John's Use of Ezekiel: Understanding the Unique Perspective of the Fourth Gospel." He has also written What Was the Sin of Sodom? and Voice, Word, and Spirit: A Pentecostal Survey of the Old Testament.

Dr. Don McNeeley is the Director of Information Technology for the Shiloh excavations, and served in that same role at the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations starting in January 2014. He is a faculty member at Tidewater Bible College in Virginia Beach, VA, where he also serves as its president. Don has earned two Master's degrees (Logistics Management & Biblical Theology), as well as a Doctorate in Biblical Studies with an emphasis on the integration of anthropological concepts with Scripture. He participated in seven dig seasons at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Don has presented several articles at the Near East Archaeological Society annual meeting, the most recent was The Falasha of Ethiopia and the Essene Community: Are they Related? and currently serves as the society’s website and office administrator, and is the program chair for its annual meeting. Additionally, Don has held several biblical archaeology conferences in Virginia Beach and has provided presentations on archaeology to various churches and other organizations.

 

 

Dr. Boyd Seevers joined the Khirbet el-Maqatir team in January 2015, serving as a Square Supervisor. Boyd also supervised the Iron Age I excavations and publications, serving in that same capacity at Shiloh. He works as Professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul and has authored three books including Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies. He has also written more than one hundred articles and chapters for numerous historical and theological books and journals. Prior to teaching he lived in Israel for eight years. Boyd serve four years on the Board of Directors of Jerusalem University College where he did a year of graduate study that included archaeological courses taught by Drs. Amihai Mazar, Gabriel Barkay, and Ronnie Reich, all distinguished Israeli archaeologists. Boyd has excavated for parts of four seasons at Bethsaida, as well as at Tiberias and Har Tuv. Degrees: B.A. in Biblical Studies, Wheaton College; Th.M. in Old Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Old Testament, Trinity International University.

Mr. Steven Rudd is the Logisitics Coordinator at Shiloh, and served as a Square Supervisor and worked at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 2011 to 2016. Steve also served as the dig photographer at Maqatir during winter seasons. He is part of the active Noah's ark excavation team and has twice worked at the summit (2012, 2013). Past excavations include a variety of "day digs" in Jerusalem including the pool of Siloam, Hezekiah's wall, David's Palace, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and Joshua's altar on Mt. Ebal. A native Canadian who has served as the full-time minister of the Hamilton Church of Christ for over 30 years, Steve is keen to participate first hand at digging up Bible stories as evidence that scripture is an accurate record of true world history.

 

 

Dr. K. Lynn Lewis is the Director of Photography at Shiloh, and the Producer of Shiloh Network News. Lynn is a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse professional background in business, education, and ministry. Currently serving as President of The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas, he began his professional career as a hydrologist and dam engineer, transitioned into full-time ministry as a Senior Pastor for nearly a decade, and then founded the media communications company, InspireUSA, Inc. in 1997. He also served as Director of Institutional Advancement at a large private K-12 Christian school, as Board President and CEO of a pregnancy care center, on the board of a Christian academy, as Founding Executive Board member of an adventure ministry, as Board Chair of a counseling center, and on the Executive Board of the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation. He served as a short-term missionary in Bolivia, Haiti, India, and Korea. Author of Boss Like God: A Blueprint for Elite Workplace Performance, the Meat and Potatoes for the Soul series (2013, 2015), fiction novel Plight (2010, 2015), children’s book and audiobook The Little Giraffe (2010), and dissertation Christian Communication in the Twenty-first Century: Patterns and Principles Relative to the Effective Use of Internet-based Communications (2002), his productions and publications include numerous articles, the cable TV show “Trinity Today” (1993-97), The Raider (2005-11) and The Sentinel (2012-present) magazines, musical Any Day (2011), cantata Surely This Man Is the Son of God (1992), and songs, web sites, and videos (including the recent Shiloh series, “What A Dig Needs,” “What A Dig Does,” and “What A Dig Means.”)

 

Dr. Leen Ritmeyer – Architect Even casual followers of Biblical Archaeology have probably heard of Leen Ritmeyer. Leen has served as conservator or architect at dozens of excavations in Israel “from Dan to Beersheva,” including sites as prominent as Arad, Bet Shean, Ashdod, and Banias. Leen’s most important contribution, and that which brought him worldwide acclaim, was in Jerusalem where he worked with renowned archaeologists Benjamin Mazar (Temple Mount) and Naaman Avigad (Jewish Quarter). Other Jerusalem projects included the Byzantine Cardo and the Herodian/Roman villas. While responsible for numerous publications, his opus magnum was The Quest (2006). This comprehensive history of the Temple Mount has become standard required reading for all archaeologists and archaeological students. In 1983, Leen and his wife Kathleen founded Ritmeyer Architectural Design, an archaeological architecture firm providing expertise on numerous and varied projects. Leen currently serves on the editorial board of Biblical Archaeology Review and on the archaeology faculty of the Cardiff University; he has provided all of the excellent architectural renderings for Khirbet el-Maqatir, and will do the same at Shiloh.

Dr. Yoav Farhi- Numismatics. Yoav completed his PhD in Archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is widely recognized as one of the top numismatists in Israel; he has worked at numerous sites in Israel including Khirbet Qeiyafa, Modi’in, and Ramat Rahel. Prominent archaeologists Yoram Tsafrir, Lea Di Segni, and Eilat Mazar have all employed Yoav as a research assistant. Yoav assisted the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation in the identification and recovery of coins and other metal objects as well as providing numismatic reports for the vast number of coins excavated at Maqatir. In 2012 Yoav, in collaboration with Catherine Lorber, published a rare Ptolemaic coin from Maqatir in the American Journal of Numismatics and has published dozens of other articles over the past decade. Yoav’s role on the professional staff is critical since coins play an important role in the dating of various archaeological strata and establishing the history of the site.

 

 

Frankie Snyder has volunteered with ABR at Khirbet el-Maqatir and Shiloh since meeting the group at the Temple Mount Sifting Project (now, the Archaeological Experience at Emek Tzurim) in 2008. Her 12 years of archaeological wet-sifting experience have given her wide-ranging expertise in the identification of small finds. Frankie moved to Israel in 2007 with plans to retire. Retirement never happened. Her volunteering at the Sifting Project turned into a paying job, then a full-time career. With a BS in mathematics from Virginia Tech, an MA in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Boston, and a lifelong love of rocks, she launched a “niche” career in analyzing King Herod’s ornate opus sectile floors created from polished multicolored stone tiles cut in a variety of geometric shapes. She assisted in reconstructing an opus sectile floor for the 2013-2014 exhibit at the Israel Museum, Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey. She has worked with Herodian-era opus sectile tiles from Banias, Caesarea, Cypros, Herodium, Jericho, Machaerus, Masada, Tiberias, the City of David and Temple Mount; Byzantine-era tiles from several sites in Israel; Crusader-era tiles from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; and discovered that an opus sectile floor in the Dome of the Rock is actually a Crusader-era floor. Her publications can be found on Academia.edu.

Orna Cohen – Conservationist In 1986, Orna Cohen became famous around the world for her skill in rescuing and preserving a first century fishing boat found in the shallow waters near Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee. This boat is now commonly referred to a the “Jesus Boat” or the “Galilee Boat.” Orna has worked as the conservator on dozens of excavations throughout Israel, including the past two summers at Huquq with Jodi Magness. There she has overseen the excavation and conservation of the now famous Samson mosaics in a fifth century Synagogue. Orna is also overseeing the conservation of the Late Bronze Age palace at Hazor and played a critical role in establishing the authenticity of the James Ossuary. She used state of the art technology to clean the hundreds of coins coming from Khirbet el-Maqatir, and will do the same at Shiloh. Orna is widely seen as one of the top conservationists in the world.

 

 

Peretz ReuvenSmall Finds and Late Period Ceramics Peretz has served on Eilat Mazar’s staff in the City of David and the areas south and west of the Temple Mount. He has worked as a ceramic typologist for several excavations in Israel, including Hippos/Susita, Givati (parking lot just south of the Temple Mount), and the Temple Mount Salvage Operation. Peretz is an expert in small finds and ceramics from the Roman to Islamic periods. His article on the beams from the Al Aqsa Mosque (some were probably originally used in the first and second temples) was featured in the summer 2013 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review.Peretz is responsible for preparing the pottery plates for publication from Maqatir for the Late Hellenistic, Early Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras. See Peretz in this video on the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

 

 

Ms. Ellen Jackson- Shiloh Metal Detectorist. Ellen serves with Wycliffe Bible Translators as the Language and Culture Learning Coordinator for SIL International based in Dallas, Texas. Ellen has an MA in linguistics from UCLA and lived in Cameroon, Africa more than 20 years. Now as an international coordinator, she visits other organizations offering Biblical training in Israel. She took up metal detecting as a hobby in 2010. Recognizing the value of metal detecting for archaeology, Ellen volunteered at Khirbet el-Maqatir in 2013 and has participated ever since, helping to recover more than 1400 coins and other metal artifacts. She says: “God weaves our lives together in amazing ways, and you never know where you’ll end up using the different skills and interests He has given you over the years.”

 

 

 

Mr. Greg Gulbrandsen is the Wet Sifting Supervisor at the Shiloh Excavations as well as the Conservation & Restoration Supervisor during the Shiloh post-dig operations. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Greg spent his freshman college year in Oslo, Norway and then finished his undergraduate degree in English Literature at Wagner College in Richmond, New York. After two years in the Navy, Greg went back to school and received his certification in engineering. Greg spent the next twenty years working as an engineer at high-tech companies including Nicolet, Wavetek, and Rockland. In 1990, Greg decided to become an educator. After getting his teaching certification and a Masters in Communication from the State University of New York, Greg taught high school for six years and then was asked to become the Director of the Media Center at SUNY New Paltz. Greg retired from SUNY in 2003 and moved to Bend, OR to be with his immediate family. Since then, Greg has become involved in Apologetics (Apologetics4You.com) and now spends most of his time writing, taking photographs, and producing videos. Greg also teaches at various congregations on the West Coast (Islam, archaeology, and apologetics). In the past, Greg participated in many Israeli digs including: the Temple Mount (Wet Sifting), Hazor, Gezer, Ir David, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Ai, and Rujm el Hiri. He also traveled and studied in Egypt, Morocco, Andalusian Spain, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Greg published a number of articles including “Parables from the Arab House (Teibeh)”, “Is the Temple Mount Really Jewish”, and “Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” His photograph of the Merneptah Stele was featured in the 2016 publication, “Pharaoh in Canaan” by the Israel Museum. Greg serves the ministry of ABR by promoting ABR at Christian conferences. He is also the photo-video drone operator for the Shiloh Excavation. He has been an ABR Associate since April, 2011.

Mr. Tim Lopez is a Square Supervisor at Shiloh. Born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Spanish father, Tim lived in both countries during several periods of his life. With a passion for archaeology from boyhood, Tim attended Uppsala University in Sweden, where he received his B.A. in Ancient History, with minors in ancient and modern Hebrew. In 2009, he completed his M.A. in Classical Archaeology at the Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain. His archaeological experience includes excavations in Sweden with the Dalarnas Museum, the Greek/Roman city of Empùries (Spain), and the ancient city of Oxyrrhynchus in Egypt. During an eight year hiatus from archaeology, Tim worked in a translation agency in Barcelona (Spain) for 5 years, and served as youth pastor in Falun (Sweden) for 2 years. Tim joined the ABR team for the inaugural excavation at Shiloh in 2017, serving as an Assistant Square Supervisor.

 

 

Dr. Kevin Larsen is a square supervisor at Shiloh, since 2018. He began working with ABR in the summer of 2015 at Kh. el-Maqatir as a volunteer. That same summer he worked with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon. He returned to Maqatir in 2016 as an assistant square supervisor and served in the same capacity at Shiloh in 2017. Kevin has earned degrees from Nebraska Christian College (B.A. in Pastoral Ministry); Cincinnati Christian University (M.A. in Biblical Studies [New Testament] and M.Div. [Theology]); and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. His primary avenue of ministry is working for Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City, NC, where he serves as the vice president for academic affairs and professor of New Testament. Kevin is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and the Catholic Biblical Association. Since 2005 he has been a consulting editor for the Stone-Campbell Journal. He has had articles published in such journals as the Christian Standard, Trinity Journal, Restoration Quarterly, and Currents in Biblical Research. In similar fashion he has had numerous book reviews published in various academic journals. His dissertation was published by the University Press of America. Kevin contributes to the local church by regularly supply-preaching and leading workshops and seminars for local congregations.

Dr. Liora Freud is project coordinator at the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University. She is the registrar and pottery expert of the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition, directed by Prof. Oded Lipschits, Prof. Manfred Oeming and Prof. Yuval Gadot and is currently coordinating the publication of the finds from the renewed excavations at Ramat Rahel (2005–2010). Her Ph.D. dissertation, titled “Judahite Pottery in the Transitional Phase between the Iron Age and the Persian Period: Jerusalem and Environs”, focused on Babylonian period pottery. She started her speciality in ancient pottery, mainly of the Iron Age, while working for many years with the late Prof. Itzhak Beit-Arieh, and she participated in the publications of many sites in the Beer-Sheba Valley. She takes part in the pottery reading of Tel Shiloh and provides a ceramic report for each season on the earlier pottery at the site, from the Middle Bronze Age till The Persian Period.

Dr. Mark Jenkins is a Professor of Old Testament, Biblical Hebrew, and Archaeology at Evangel University in Springfield, MO, which is also his Alma Mater where he earned a BA in Biblical Studies. He also earned a Master of Divinity and PhD in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. It was there that Mark found his passion for archaeology under the leadership of Dr. George Kelm, co-director of excavations at Tell Batash. Besides Evangel University, Mark has taught at institutions such as the University of Louisiana Lafayette, and Central Bible College in Springfield, MO. He has presented scholarly papers at local, regional, and national conferences such as the American Schools of Oriental Research, and the Society for Biblical Literature. He has also recently published an article in Bible and Spade entitled “Iron Age Silos and the Story of Gideon.” Mark has participated at excavations at Tell Malhata and El-Araj, and has served as a staff member at Tell es-Safi (Gath, 2010-2017) and Tell Shiloh (2018).

 

Mrs. Gayle Byers serves as the Ceramic Registrar of the Shiloh Excavations. She has also excavated at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel (1999) and Tall el-Hammam, Jordan (since 2005). A registered nurse, she also doubles as the Shiloh Excavation nurse.

Ms. Leah Tramer serves as the Pottery Restorer for the Shiloh Dig. The work of the archaeologist doesn’t end when the dig is over. The real work comes once the finds have been transferred back to the lab for analysis. Ms. Leah Tramer, who holds a degree in archaeology and fine art, brings back to life these ancient artifacts by meticulously putting together the shards to form full relics. Using techniques and skills that she has acquired working with various Israeli universities and the Israeli Antiquity Authority, Leah sorts through shards of all sizes and is able to bring a shattered piece of history back to life. Leah has worked on several restoration projects for the Institute of Archaeology at Ariel University. Leah also teaches pottery with an emphasis on the Guanche techniques from the Canary Islands.

 

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ABRT 28 | 8/1/2019