Meet the Dig Staff

Dr. Scott Stripling became the Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations on January 1, 2014. He serves as an Adjunct Professor at Houston Baptist University (Bible) and The Bible Seminary (Church History). Scott has earned two Master's degrees (English & Biblical Literature) as well as a D.Min., with an emphasis in Ancient Near Eastern archaeology. He pastored for two decades and has written and spoken publicly on a variety of ministry, archaeology, education, and public policy issues. Previously, he worked as a Field Supervisor at the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan and for two seasons as a supervisor at the Temple Mount Salvage Operation in Jerusalem. Articles recently published include: Have We Walked in the Footsteps of Jesus? Exciting New Possibilities at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Biblical Site on the Benjamin–Ephraim Border, Those Indefatigable Byzantines, Maqatir Monastery Money, Livias: A Lost City, Is Tall el-Hammam on the Madaba Map? Scott's book, The Trowel and the Truth, has been adopted as an archaeology textbook by several Universities.

Dr. Bryant G. Wood is the Archaeological Director Emeritus of the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations and presently serves as the Dig's ceramic typologist. He founded the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations in 1995 and directed the Dig through 2013. He earned a M.A. degree in Biblical History from the University of Michigan in 1974, and a Ph.D. degree in Syro-Palestinian archaeology from the University of Toronto in 1985. In 1989–90, Dr. Wood was visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. In addition, he has served as adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA; Evangelical School of Theology, Myerstown PA; Faith Theological Seminary, Los Angeles; Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA; and Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto. Dr. Wood’s extensive archaeological field work includes serving as co-director of a survey of three reservoir areas in northern Jordan, 1978; area supervisor for the Wadi Tumilat Project excavation at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt, 1979, 1981, and 1983; volunteer at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev excavation at Haruvit in the northern Sinai, 1981; member of the Wadi Tumilat Project survey of the Wadi Tumilat, Egypt, 1983; field archaeologist for the Associates for Biblical Research excavation at Khirbet Nisya, Israel, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994; and Director of the Kh. el-Maqatir excavation, Israel, 1995–present. Wood is a specialist in Canaanite pottery of the Late Bronze Age. He is author of The Sociology of Pottery in Ancient Palestine: The Ceramic Industry and the Diffusion of Ceramic Style in the Bronze and Iron Ages (1990), as well as numerous articles on archaeological subjects published in various academic journals. Dr. Wood received international media attention for his research on ancient Jericho that demonstrated the historicity of the Biblical account of the capture of the city by the Israelites. Dr. Wood has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Endowment for Biblical Research to carry on his archaeological research. He is a member of the Near East Archaeological Society and a Fellow of the Institute for Biblical Research. He is currently Director of Research with ABR and senior editor of Bible and Spade magazine.

Mrs. Suzanne Lattimer serves as a Field Archaeologist at Khirbet el-Maqatir. She attended Bryan College in Dayton, TN and received her B.A. in Bible and Piano Performance, with a minor in Koine Greek. She went on to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois and received her M.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Semitic Languages. While at TEDS, she studied under James Hoffimeier, Kenneth Kitchen, and K. Lawson Younger Jr. Suzanne participated in ABR's excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, and served as a square supervisor in 2010, 11 and 12. She has also dug at Tel Dor in Israel, in the Great Smoky Mountains with the National Park Service, and interned at the ABR office. She has written articles for children in Bible and Spade, and has spoken to many children and adult Sunday School classes about the importance of archaeology.

Mr. Michael Luddeni NAPP, has graciously served the ministry of ABR for over 20 years. An avid lover of archaeology and the Bible, Mike has served as the Dig photographer at Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations since 1995. He also served at the ABR excavations at Khirbet Nisya under the direction of ABR founder, Dr. David Livingston. Mike also works as the photographer at the excavations at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan. Mike has traveled extensively through Europe and the Middle East photographing ancient sites and museum objects and artifacts of the Biblical world. He formerly served on the ABR Board of Directors and has archived thousands of pictures for the ABR ministry, volunteering as the photo and graphics editor for ABR's flagship publication, Bible and Spade magazine.

Dr. Brian Peterson has worked at Khirbet el-Maqatir since 2010, and presently serves as a Field Archaeologist. His passion is marrying the truth of the Word with historical records and archaeology. In 2003, he completed a Master of Theological Studies from Beeson Divinity School and in 2004 completed his second master’s degree, a MAOT, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Brian graduated in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from the University of Toronto. Since then Brian has taught classes at the Gambia Theological Institute in the Gambia, West Africa as well as spending a year (2010) as an Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada. In the summer of 2011, Brian joined the faculty of Lee University in Cleveland, TN as a part of the School of Religion in the Theology Department where he presently teaches a variety of Old Testament classes and Introductory Hebrew. Brian has published several articles and essays. His dissertation has been published by Wipf and Stock in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series entitled "Ezekiel in Context: Ezekiel’s Message Understood in its Historical Setting of Covenant Curses and Ancient Near Eastern Mythological Motifs." Brian also has a book forthcoming in 2014 with Fortress Press entitled, "The Authors of the Deuteronomistic History."

Mrs. Sandy Souza lives in Concord, California, and works in the Pathology Department at the local hospital as a medical transcriptionist. She has dug 8 seasons at Khirbet Nisya and 9 seasons at Khirbet el-Maqatir and worn many hats for ABR. She also dug with the ABR group at Hazor in 2004, traveled to Egypt in 2005 for the Biblical Egypt Tour, and attended one session working on the Temple Mount Project in 2008. Sandy has coordinated and supervised object registration at both Khirbet Nisya and Khirbet el-Maqatir. Sandy gladly instructs and trains others in this vital and important function. The most rewarding comment to Sandy from these diggers has been: "I wish I had learned this on the first day of the dig because it has made both the digging process and everything to do with the pottery more interesting, interrelated with the digging, and concatenated." Sandy attends New Life church in Alamo where she serves on the Women's Missions Committee.

Mr. Henry B. Smith Jr. is the Administrative Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations. He served as the Director of Development for ABR from October 2004 through Fall 2015, and presently works part-time for ABR. Born and raised in northwestern New Jersey, he graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University in 1992. He earned an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis on Apologetics from Trinity Seminary in Indiana, graduating with high honors in 2005. In December 2014, Henry completed his M.A.R. at Westminster Theological Seminary, emphasizing apologetics and Biblical languages. He is an adjunct professor for the School of Online Biblical Apologetics for the Institute for Creation Research. Henry served as a volunteer at the Hazor excavations in 2007, was the host of the ABR Biblical Egypt Study Tour in 2008, the host of ABR's Israel Tour in 2010, and is a square supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Dr. Louis T. Klauder Jr. has degrees in physics from Princeton Univ. and the Univ. of California at Berkeley. Most of his career has been in physics, in computer programming, and in railroad track geometry engineering. He became interested in the archaeological work being carried out by ABR as a result of attending a 2007 lecture by Dr. Bryant Wood on the excavations at Khirbet el Maqatir. Dr. Klauder first participated in the excavation in May/June 2009. After that season, Dr. Klauder began assisting Dr. Wood with preparation of digital image files portraying the more significant pottery finds in the style and format commonly used for publication of archaeological pottery. He participated in the Spring 2011 and 2012 seasons at Khirbet el Maqatir as pottery registrar, spending most of the time processing pottery and recording the critical details (shape, diameter, color, hardness, roughness, surface treatment, inclusions, etc.) needed for publication of each significant sherd. Between digs Dr. Klauder continues to assist in creating digital pottery drawings to help prepare for publication of the archaeology of the site.

Ms. Abigail Leavitt participates in the Khirbet el Maqatir excavations as a square supervisor and objects registrar. Her first experience with archaeology was in 2007 at the Temple Mount Salvage Operation. She returned to the Temple Mount Salvage Operation with ABR for a two week season in 2008, then joined the Khirbet el Maqatir excavations as a volunteer in 2010. Abigail participates in both the summer and winter digs at Khirbet el-Maqatir and has served as a square supervisor since 2012, and as an objects registrar since 2011. In 2014, she participated as a staff member at the Mount Zion excavations in Jerusalem. Abigail hails from Lewiston, Idaho, where she works as a receptionist between dig seasons.

Mr. Don McNeeley became the Director of Information Technology for Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations in January 2014. He is a faculty member at Tidewater Bible College in Virginia Beach, VA, where he also serves as its president. Don has earned two Master's degrees (Logistics Management & Biblical Theology) as well as a Doctorate in Biblical Studies with an emphasis on the integration of anthropological concepts with the scripture. He has participated in three dig seasons at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Don has presented several articles at the Near East Archaeological Society annual meeting, the most recent was The Falasha of Ethiopia and the Essene Community: Are they related? and currently serves as the society’s website administrator and program chair for its annual meeting. Additionally, Don has held several biblical archaeology conferences in Virginia Beach and has provided presentations on archaeology to various churches and other organizations.

Mr. Steven Rudd serves as a Square Supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir and has been part of the dig team since 2011. Steve also serves as the dig photographer at Maqatir during winter seasons. He is part of the active Noah's ark excavation team and has twice worked at the summit (2012, 2013) with plans to return in the 2014. Past excavations include a variety of "day digs" in Jerusalem including the pool of Siloam, Hezekiah's wall, David's Palace, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and Joshua's altar on Mt. Ebal. A native Canadian who has served as the full-time minister of the Hamilton Church of Christ for over 30 years, Steve is keen to participate first hand at digging up Bible stories as evidence that scripture is an accurate record of true world history.

Dr. Mark A. Hassler is a Square Supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Mark serves as Associate Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary. He has worked as a Faculty Associate in Old Testament Studies at The Master's Seminary, and as an Adjunct Professor of Bible and Theology at Capital Seminary and Graduate School. Mark received his academic training at The Master's Seminary (M.Div., Th.M. in Old Testament, Th.D. in Old Testament) and the Montana Bible College (B.A. in Pastoral Ministry). He remains active in the publication of scholarly and church-related materials. Prior to serving as a professor, Mark worked as a fly-fishing guide near Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Dr. Boyd Seevers joined the Maqatir team in January 2015. He serves as a Square Supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir and supervises the Iron Age I excavations and publications. He works as Professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul and has authored three books including Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies. He has also written more than one hundred articles and chapters for numerous historical and theological books and journals. Prior to teaching he lived in Israel for eight years. Boyd currently serves on the Board of Directors of Jerusalem University College where he did a year of graduate study that included archaeological courses taught by Drs. Amihai Mazar, Gabriel Barkay, and Ronnie Reich, all distinguished Israeli archaeologists. Boyd has excavated for parts of four seasons at Bethsaida, as well as at Tiberias and Har Tuv. Degrees: B.A. in Biblical Studies, Wheaton College; Th.M. in Old Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Old Testament, Trinity International University.

Ms. Ellen Jackson- Metal Detectorist Ellen serves with Wycliffe Bible Translators as the Language and Culture Learning Coordinator for SIL International based in Dallas, Texas. Ellen has an MA in linguistics from UCLA and lived in Cameroon, Africa more than 20 years, translating the New Testament into the Tikar language. Now as an administrator she has become a liaison with the Home for Bible Translators in Jerusalem and visits Israel twice a year. She took up metal detecting as a hobby in 2010. Recognizing the value of metal detecting for archaeology, Ellen volunteered at Khirbet el Maqatir in 2013 and has participated in five digs since, helping to recover hundreds of coins and other metal artifacts. She says: "God weaves our lives together in amazing ways, and you never know how He will end up using the different skills and interests He has given you over the years."

Orna Cohen – Conservationist In 1986, Orna Cohen became famous around the world for her skill in rescuing and preserving a first century fishing boat found in the shallow waters near Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee. This boat is now commonly referred to a the "Jesus Boat" or the "Galilee Boat."" Orna has worked as the conservator on dozens of excavations throughout Israel, including the past two summers at Huquq with Jodi Magness. There she has overseen the excavation and conservation of the now famous Samson mosaics in a fifth century Synagogue. Orna is also overseeing the conservation of the Late Bronze Age palace at Hazor and played a critical role in establishing the authenticity of the James Ossuary. She uses state of the art technology to clean the hundreds of coins coming from Khirbet el-Maqatir. Orna is widely seen as one of the top conservationists in the world.

Dr. Leen Ritmeyer – Architect Even casual followers of Biblical Archaeology have probably heard of Leen Ritmeyer. Leen has served as conservator or architect at dozens of excavations in Israel "from Dan to Beersheva," including sites as prominent as Arad, Bet Shean, Ashdod, and Banias. Leen' most important contribution, and that which brought him worldwide acclaim, was in Jerusalem where he worked with renowned archaeologists Benjamin Mazar (Temple Mount) and Naaman Avigad (Jewish Quarter). Other Jerusalem projects included the Byzantine Cardo and the Herodian/Roman villas. While responsible for numerous publications, his opus magnum was The Quest (2006). This comprehensive history of the Temple Mount has become standard required reading for all archaeologists and archaeological students. In 1983, Leen and his wife Kathleen founded Ritmeyer Architectural Design, an archaeological architecture firm providing expertise on numerous and varied projects. Leen currently serves on the editorial board of Biblical Archaeology Review and on the archaeology faculty of the Cardiff University; he provides all of the excellent architectural renderings for Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Peretz Reuven – Small Finds and Late Period Ceramics Peretz has served on Eilat Mazar’s staff in the City of David and the areas south and west of the Temple Mount. He has worked as a ceramic typologist for several excavations in Israel, including Hippos/Susita, Givati (parking lot just south of the Temple Mount), and the Temple Mount Salvage Operation. Peretz is an expert in small finds and ceramics from the Roman to Islamic periods. His article on the beams from the Al Aqsa Mosque (some were probably originally used in the first and second temples) was featured in the summer 2013 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review.Peretz is responsible for preparing the pottery plates for publication from Maqatir for the Late Hellenistic, Early Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.

Yoav Farhi- Numismatics. Yoav recently completed his PhD in Archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is widely recognized as one of the top numismatists in Israel; he has worked at numerous sites in Israel including Khirbet Qeiyafa, Modi’in, and Ramat Rahel. Prominent archaeologists Yoram Tsafrir, Lea Di Segni, and Eilat Mazar have all employed Yoav as a research assistant. Yoav assists the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation in the identification and recovery of coins and other metal objects as well as providing numismatic reports for the vast number of coins excavated at Maqatir. Yoav recently stated, "I have never seen so many coins recovered from one site in such a short period of time." In 2012 Yoav, in collaboration with Catherine Lorber, published a rare Ptolemaic coin from Maqatir in the American Journal of Numismatics and has published dozens of other articles over the past decade. Yoav’s role on the professional staff is critical since coins play an important role in the dating of various archaeological strata and establishing the history of the site.

ABR Security Statement

ABR closely monitors the security situation in Israel and the Palestinian controlled territories. If there is reason for concern, we will take appropriate steps, including cancelling the winter dig. This is unlikely to occur. If it did, the ABR group would work on dig related projects at our headquarters and tour at strategic sites of interest.

Associates for Biblical Research
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  • Phone: +1 717-859-3443
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