Saturday, October 09, 2010

Harding Excavations at Beth Shemesh

Last night I was talking with a friend about how to choose a good summer excavation for his college students.  I suggested three main criteria: (1) a site with historic significance and well-preserved remains; (2) an excavation group that fits the character of his own; (3) a program with evening lectures and weekend trips.

These three factors are all present in this report of Harding University’s successful summer excavations at Beth Shemesh.  From the Christian Chronicle:

For more than a decade, Dale Manor, professor of archaeology and Bible at Harding University, has taken history buffs and aspiring archaeologists on summer excavation trips to Tel Beth-Shemesh, Israel.

The groups that Manor usually takes on the four-week digs consist mostly of archaeology students and faculty from secular universities.

“I had never been on a project where the majority of the people were even religious,” Manor said.

But that changed this past summer.

All 14 participants in Manor’s most recent trip were members of Churches of Christ.

“Through the years, a number of folks had indicated interest in coming to excavate, and I pressed them into making a decision,” Manor said of his fellow Christians. 

Beth-Shemesh, about 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem, is where the Philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel, as recorded in I Samuel 6. It’s also the site of some of Samson’s activities during the time of the Judges.

Manor said excavations at Beth-Shemesh since 1990 have uncovered an underground water reservoir and the largest iron workshop found in the Middle East, both dating around the 10th Century B.C.

The story continues here.

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