The Israelites Worshipped Other Gods??? Really?

It probably isn't much of a surprise to you or me, but the archaeological record shows an Israel that wasn't exactly up to par when it came to worship. Not too surprisingly, there are quite a few "less conservative" scholars who try to make this into a big deal. In his book, _Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?_ (, Bill Dever describes an Israel that didn't leave Egypt in an Exodus but who were just normal Canaanites who wanted a change. A part of his evidence for this was the very wide acceptance of Canaanite worship practices. In fact, here in this book and in another one (_Did God Have a Wife?_ []), Dever talks quite a bit a

How Old Are You?

This is a dear friend Audrey. She is 83 years young, and she has been digging for I don't know how long. Audrey is my inspiration. In 2009, I was standing next to her (looking the opposite direction) when she was bitten by a camel on her arm. One of the teeth went clean to the bone. She let out a little squeal, and I turned to see what was wrong. There she was standing there a little shaky and she said that she had gotten bit by the camel ... I was shocked, until I saw the blood pouring down her little arm. Surprisingly, she had just broken her foot in Israel a short time before that and had a cast on her foot for a while early in the season. What did she do afterward? Well, the very next ye


It isn't every day that we find things with writing, but when we do, we get quite excited. Back in 2009, a friend of mine (Erica, pictured here covered in dirt [she is going to kill me for posting this, lol]) found a very small, clay bulla, what most people call a "seal." The difference is that the seal is the object used to make the impression in the clay - the bulla. As you can see in the picture, she is extremely happy (this was her last day in the field, as she was heading home soon!). Why do we get excited? Well, the writing on the bulla can tell us a whole lot. Writing is how we corroborate what we find in the dirt. Whether the writing comes in the form of bullae, ostraca (pottery with

Hey now ... those are men's clothes!

I wrote a paper ( not too long ago about a Super Bowel advertisement attempting to convince men to "wear the pants" once again (it was a Docker's ad). This was one of those highly controversial but at the same time not too controversial advertisements that turned a lot of heads. What were they trying to say? Was Docker's trying to convince the world that only men should wear pants, that pants are somehow inherently masculine? Well, no, actually they were just selling pants, but this does raise an issue. What is gender distinct clothing? Did you know that Deuteronomy 22:5 commands that we dress like our own sex and not like the other? Well, however that plays out (read my

Translation of the gods

I mentioned before the "translation" of the gods in the ancient world, but I never really explained what that was. The idea is that all over the ancient world, one culture would translate another culture's deities into their own deities. The Egyptians would make a treaty with Hatti, and in the treaty would call on both sides' gods to make the pact (they believed in both sets of gods), and often they would compare their gods (Shemesh the God of the sun is the same as Re in Egypt). Many of these local deities represented international ideas, and therefore when those people clashed with other cultures, they would note that the other culture also worshipped the same kind of deity ... who is obvi

Daily Life

People don't often think of life in ancient times. How did they live? How did they manage? How do we manage? lol. Life, in general, was tough. What you see here is a grinding stone and hand grinder. This one has been worn almost all the way through. We walked onto a Bronze Age (prehistory) site in Cyprus to explore a bit, and I found about eight or nine of these. It was quite interesting, really. What would you do with these once they were "finished"? Well, I found two set as seats on a bench against the wall of a house. Several were also used to repair walls. A friend of mine, Bill Weir (PhD [ABD] from University of Cincinnati) is writing his dissertation on common uses of pottery beyond th

Making the leap

Every once in a while it is fun to just let yourself go ... in this case, I am jumping off a cliff (that's the Mediterranean Sea in the background). No, I was not jumping into the sea fully clothed, but I did walk into the sea fully clothed (boots and all) just for the fun of it ... but I need to get back to the story. A lot of people are interested in archaeology, and in my case Biblical archaeology, but they don't have how to get started. For me, it started when I was still an undergraduate. I fell in love with the history of the Bible (the culture of that time was like a puzzle to me, and I wanted to solve it). Right before I graduated, I spent a tour of duty in Iraq in combat. While ther


Well, to be a little more patriotic today, I am uploading a picture of the grill we used while I was stationed in the Anbar province of Iraq. Isn't she a beauty? One of the guys in my platoon would make deals with people from some of the smaller Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) around the province, and we would trade whatever we had on our base for things like lobster tail and steaks (the smaller FOBs got great meals like this as a way to equal out the fact that they didn't have some of the luxuries that larger bases had). ... Yes, it was just like M.A.S.H. We had quite a few barbecues here. To the right is a kind of gazebo that we built, and behind is our horse shoe pit. We had plans to build

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