The Major Archaeology Finds, sites and artifacts of 2017-2018. A few are more well-recognized than others, but all are centered in the Middle East. These finds agree with Biblical scripture and provide further insight into ancient Middle East history.
Dead Sea Scrolls
For a little background, the Dead Sea Scrolls consist of fragments from 900 manuscripts found in 12 caves near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. They contain some of the earliest known copies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as, extra documents. These documents include calendars, hymns, community rules, and apocryphal (non-canonical) texts. The Biblical text proves the accuracy of our current Bible.
First Mention of the Nation of Israel
Another important biblical find in 2017 is the Merneptah Stele. It is an inscribed stone slab, also called the Israel Stele. Archeologists discovered it in Luxor Egypt. It contains the earliest mention of the name "Israel." Engraved around 1207 B.C. It includes a list of places in the eastern Mediterranean that the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah claims to have conquered. The pharaoh claimed that "Israel is laid waste, his seed is no more." Obviously, the Israelites were not wiped out and it is also obvious that they inhabited the current region of Israel. The Conquest of Canaan by Joshua was from B.C. 1487 to 1493. So, Israel was mentioned by this Egyptian Pharaoh almost 300 years before the conquest of Canaan.
Excavation of Herodium
Archeologists uncover another important site – Herodium, a palace built for King Herod from 23 to 15 B.C. King Herod was a king appointed by Rome to rule Judea. He was an Edomite, not an Israelite. Herod was vilified in the New Testament due to the Biblical account of the attempted murder of Jesus just after he was born. King Herod or Herod the Great was succeeded by his son Herod Antipas. It is currently unclear which of these Herod’s ordered the death of baby Jesus and all male children under 2 years of age. Jesus escaped with his parents into Egypt, the rest of the baby boys, unfortunately, did not.
Earliest known mention of the City Jerusalem
Another famous site is the Temple Mount known as Haram esh-Sharif in Arabic. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Its religious importance along with the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict means that little archaeology work has been done there lately. But they continue to find interesting stuff. Finds like the inscription on a pillar of an ancient potter’s village, near the western edge of the modern city of Jerusalem. In 2018 an inscription was found that includes the word, “Yerushalayim,” the name of Jerusalem written in Hebrew, from 100 B.C.
Major Archaeology Finds like Pilate’s Signet Ring
Yet another find is the name Pilate. Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator who interrogated Jesus and then ordered him crucified, has turned up for the second time in the archaeological record. The first time his name and title were found engraved in a stone discovered in 1961. In late 2018, scientists announced a seal ring excavated in the late 1960s at Herodium, the palace I just mentioned earlier. This ring carried the inscription “of Pilates.”
The inscription on the badly corroded ring was in storage. Now, finally, read using advanced photographic techniques. The copper alloy ring was probably not lavish enough to have actually been worn by Pilate. It was likely worn by someone who was authorized to act on Pilate's authority. A trusted servant who would use the seal to create official communications.
These discoveries, relatively insignificant individually, join with many other discoveries over the decades to give us confidence in the historical details contained in the Bible.
Discoveries like the previously hidden text on fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is now readable, revealing a possible undiscovered scroll. The discoveries came from a new infrared analysis of the artifacts, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in an announcement made on May 2018.
The newly discovered writing came from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which are in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Local Bedouins and archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s in caves near Qumran in the West Bank. A location near the northern edge of the Dead Sea. Excavations in the following decades turned up tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments that were dated to 2,000 years ago, according to IAA.
Some of the more interesting fragments include the following:
A fragment from the Temple Scroll, which gives instructions on how to conduct services in the temple. Scholars have debated whether there are two or three copies of the Temple Scroll from Cave 11. This discovery suggests that there are, indeed, three copies.
Another fragment from the Great Psalms Scroll contains part of the beginning of Psalm 147:1, and the end of the verse is preserved in a larger fragment from the same cave. Another fragment has letters written in paleo-Hebrew, an ancient Hebrew script. This fragment could not be attributed to any known manuscripts and could belong to an unknown manuscript.
Upholding Scriptural Truth
Major Archaeology Finds and bunches of new discoveries from recent digs. As well as, other discoveries from old digs that are newly revealed through modern technology. We live in an amazing world, created by God. A world where modern discoveries uphold Biblical scripture.
Geggel, Laura. "Hidden Text Found on 'Blank' Dead Sea Scrolls." Live Science. Last modified May 3, 2018. https://www.livescience.com/62467-hidden-text-dead-sea-scrolls.html.
Govier, Gordon. "Biblical Archaeology's Top 10 Discoveries of 2018." News & Reporting. Last modified December 27, 2018. https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/december/biblical-archaeology-top-10-discoveries-2018-israel.html.
Jarus, Oewn. "Biblical Archaeology: The Study of Biblical Sites & Artifacts." Live Science. Last modified February 22, 2019. https://www.livescience.com/64838-biblical-archaeology.html.