Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Excavations to Resume at Kh. el-Maqatir (Ai?)

Excavations are set to resume at Khirbet el-Maqatir, a small site about half a mile (1 km) west of et-Tell, the scholarly choice for biblical Ai.  Bryant Wood led excavations at Maqatir from 1995 to 2000, when the second Intifada interrupted the work.  Wood has published in Israel Exploration Journal his view that Maqatir is the best candidate for the Late Bronze city of Ai.  More information about the excavation, including a solicitation for volunteers, is online at the website of the Associates for Biblical Research.

I wrote an article about ten years ago (Bible and Spade 12/3 [1999], p. 91ff) in which I showed that local tradition located Ai at Maqatir, not et-Tell.  Unfortunately Calloway (and every other scholar I’ve read) ignored this rather important piece of data reported by Edward Robinson (1841).  No kidding.



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