I went to Gezer today. I was at Gezer last month and it looked pretty much the same as it has for the last 15 years. Overgrown. Devoid of tourists. Overgrown. Lacking signs or a good access road. But today was different.

The first surprise was the signs. There was a sign at every archaeological area plus one.

The signs, for the most part, were very good. They’re all in three languages, attractive, and generally accurate. The text wasn’t written by a clerk in an office but by an archaeologist.

This sign, however, I cannot figure out. (The apparent error is repeated in the Hebrew text, so it’s not just an inadvertent typo.)

The next surprise was the state of the major archaeological discoveries. All were cleared of their overgrowth. What a difference that makes! Take a look at the Solomonic gate.

Of course, that should be “Solomon’s Gate” according to the official sign. The quotes are important. 

And in spite of what the excavating archaeologists have said, the gate is only “probably” dated to the 10th century. Is such a nod to Finkelstein and his sliver of scholarship really necessary here?

The reason for the beautiful state of things is two-fold. First, the Israel Parks Authority decided to take action and make some improvements, including clearing trails and erecting signs. Second, new excavations are underway at Gezer for the first time in 20 years. Led by Dr. Steven Ortiz and Sam Wolff, the team of 60 has made huge progress in the last month in excavating the casemate wall west of the Solomonic Gate (no quotes). That in addition to their work in clearing the weeds away from the sites.

It’s an impressive operation.

There’s a consortium of about six schools that have students and faculty participating. My bet: next year there are more.

And why not? It’s a perfect site to dig: tons of textual history associated with it, prominent in the Bible, close to Jerusalem, excellent housing facilities, first-rate excavators, and staffed by wonderful people.

Back to the site itself. The watersystem (Middle Bronze?) will soon be open to the public, with a staircase now being installed.

What’s lacking? A decent road to get there. You can drive a car, but to get a bus driver to agree is not easy. And if it has rained in the last 10 days, forget it. And the Late Bronze tombs are still overgrown, filled with junk, and hard to find.

But with all of this, who can complain?

Want more? Take a look at the Gezer Excavations Project website, one supervisor’s blog of the excavations or the BiblePlaces Gezer page, which has even more links to Gezer-related sites.


A friend wrote and asked what my top 3, 5 or 10 discoveries in the British Museum would be. The first thing is to realize that any reduction to such a number is going to eliminate a lot of major finds. 

But there’s also the realization that a person has only so much time and so many brain cells. So here’s my top 15. I can’t reduce it any further than this. The list is in roughly chronological order. Some are more closely related to the Bible than others.

1. Epic of Gilgamesh

2. Amarna Letters

3. Kurkh Stela of Shalmaneser III

4. Black Obelisk

5. Samaria Ivories

6. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib)

7. Lachish Siege Reliefs

8. Shebna Inscription

9. Babylonian Chronicle for 605-594

10. Lachish Letters

11. Cyrus Cylinder

12. Temple of Artemis column

13. Elgin Marbles

14. Rosetta Stone

15. Politarch Inscription

Lachish Siege Reliefs Room

If you want to suggest an addition, please also suggest one of the above to remove.

In any case, if you’re planning a visit, the book that you must get is by Peter Masters, entitled Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum. It used to be hard to find, though I now see it listed for sale at Amazon and here and here.

Does anyone offer a B.A. in the British Museum? That’s not overreaching, in my opinion. Especially given what other college programs exist these days.