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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 year she went to the field again. And she went every year until I saw her this year, and I'm sure she will keep going in the future.

She is holding what looks like a weight for a fishing net (the hole is more to one side and it is unlike a loom weight). Audrey found this as we were digging in a huge pile of rocks (that someone else had dumped about 20 years ago). This is a good reminder that excavations don't always catch everything. This little weight is an important find, but the guy who dug 20 years ago just threw it out, probably never seeing it.

A bit later in the season, another friend of mine Dr. Randy Younker was dumping a wheel barrow of dirt that the workers had filled. As he dumped it, something caught his eye. He searched back through the dirt and found a complete 1st century oil lamp! Again, something was almost lost.

The problem with archaeology is that it is a destructive sport. When we excavate, we destroy everything we find. If we don't keep great records, then what we have done is simply devastated the earth so that no one will ever know what happened.

A lot of people ask me what I think about treasure hunters like those who search for Noah's Ark or the "real" Mt. Sinai. I typically have the same response each time: I don't think about them, lol. One of the reasons that I dislike these treasure hunters is that whatever they find, they simply rip it out of the ground and destroy any scientific value that it might have had. They don't keep records; they don't take soil samples; they don't take proper photographs; they don't take location readings; they don't do anything that would actually help our cause.

In addition, they make serious and unfounded claims that can be easily debunked. Unfortunately, many Christians simply believe what the treasure hunters say because they have made a really nice video about the "finds." This makes Christians look bad to the world around us.

I highly suggest looking into some real archaeological organizations like some of the academic organizations (Andrews University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, etc.) and even some church focused organizations (like Associates for Biblical Research [] of which I am a part). These places can lead you into many years of study without making the rest of the church look like nut cases!

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