The Top 5 in the Last 5

I’ve been asked what the top 5 archaeological discoveries related to the biblical record have been discovered in the last 5 years. I’m not really sure where to start in formulating a list except from my memory. So I’ll start a list here and welcome suggestions for additional items.

Pool of Siloam

James Ossuary (forgery?)

Jehoash Inscription (forgery?)

Tel Zayit 10th c. abecedary

“Goliath” inscription from Gath

Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulets – new inscription

Palace of David (?)

10th century remains in Edom

9th century seals from City of David (not announced as far as I know)

Noah’s Ark (3 or 4 times!)

A few notes:

1. This list is in no particular order.

2. The experts that I trust have not been convinced that the James Ossuary and Jehoash Inscription are forgeries. Some experts that I decidedly do not trust are convinced that they are forgeries. I have
included them on this list until there is greater agreement on the matter.

3. I am not claiming that these items mean everything that has been attributed to them by various writers. I am also reserving judgment about the identification of the “palace of David,” but include it here because it seems, in any case, to be a significant building in OT Jerusalem.

4. The Noah’s Ark thing is a joke. (Here’s an easy way to know if something is a genuine hoax: if it has the names of Ron Wyatt or Robert Cornuke attached to it.)


4 thoughts on “The Top 5 in the Last 5

  1. The article about Edom in this issue of BAR is great! Interesting how an overlooked bit of archaeology shakes the “minimalist” view. I wonder how they will try to spin it this time. 🙂
    Haven’t heard about a few of the others! I shall investigate your links as soon as I post this comment! Thanks Todd.

  2. “All successive alphabets in the ancient world (including non-Semitic ones, such as Greek) derived from the alphabet seen in the Tel Zayit Inscription. In fact, the letters of the very words that you are reading right now descended directly from the letters seen on the stone from Tel Zayit!”
    Seems a pretty bold asserition! What are your thoughts on this?

  3. Agreed with your choices; I am curious though about your automatic eschewing of Bob Cornuke — extreme reticence for such claims I understand, and acknowledging Wyatt as a charlatan or deluded-individual, absolutely yes. But Cornuke, untrained adventurer and opportunist that he is, has nevertheless tried to distance himself from his earlier acquaintances, and he has made some discoveries that are mildly interesting, if incorrect (e.g. Jebel el Lawz = Mt. Sinai). Should we automatically brand his claims a hoax? For instance, the latest “Noah’s Ark” (which, by the way, Cornuke has been careful to avoid identifying as the ark) on Takht-e-Soleyman is intriguing, if for no other reason than there is reported evidence of pilgrimage to the site (sherd scatter in vicinity) and an old tradition claiming that the ark came to rest somewhere on the Soleyman massif. In my thinking, of course we be sceptical and thoroughly rigorous with the evidence, but shouldn’t we at least wait until that is actually done by outside experts in geology and archaeology before passing judgment just because it was Cornuke who happened to find it?

  4. Psychobob – I think it’s pretty commonly agreed that the Greek alphabet derived from the Semitic one. And our alphabet comes from the Greek. So while a dramatic assertion, I don’t think it’s inaccurate.

    Anonymous – I think that we essentially agree on how to consider evidence. But as for “automatic eschewing” of Cornuke, I think that there is a point at which you lose credibility. In the field of medical research, few will ever trust Hwang Woo Suk again because of how he has treated evidence. The history of the researcher does indeed taint the findings. Unless Cornuke has repented of his former ways (and a dramatic, well-publicized searching of the ark does not suggest that he has), I’m not going to trust what he says. That doesn’t mean I can’t ever be convinced otherwise by the evidence.

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