After some years away from the site, the Associates for Biblical Research have recently returned to excavating Khirbet el-Maqatir, a candidate for the city of Ai destroyed by Joshua.
The location of Joshua’s Ai has been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Israel. Scholars have concluded that the location of Joshua’s Ai is at et-Tell. They have also used this conclusion to discredit the Biblical account of Joshua 7-8 because there is no evidence of occupation at et-Tell during the time of Joshua. We believe they are incorrect, not the Bible.
Since 1995, under the direction of ABR Director of Research Bryant G. Wood (PhD, University of Toronto), ABR research and excavation has uncovered important archaeological finds at Khirbet el-Maqatir, just .6 miles (1 km) west of et-Tell. The discoveries include a city gate and wall system, large amounts of pottery from the time of Joshua, evidence of destruction by fire, ancient coins, a house dating to the first century AD, and a Byzantine monastery. This area is located about 9 miles due north of Jerusalem, near the modern villages of Beitin and Deir Dibwan.
I’ve worked at the Maqatir excavation for a number of seasons and I would offer three reasons for you to seriously consider joining the team this year.
1. The opportunity to be part of a dig which has the potential of revolutionizing our archaeological understanding of Joshua’s Conquest.
2. The opportunity to work and live alongside committed Bible believers, including first-class scholars such as Bryant Wood and Eugene Merrill.
3. The opportunity to learn about biblical archaeology and Joshua’s conquest through evening lectures.
In addition, the team is based at the beautiful Yad HaShmonah, a guest house in the Judean hills overlooking the coastal plain. Because this excavation runs for two weeks, you are not required to make a longer commitment of three to six weeks as at other digs.
More information about the site, its potential significance, and volunteering this summer is available at maqatir.org.