The following articles are provided here on the ABR website as background material for further study and research in the Search for Joshua's Ai.
Slide Show in PDF of evidence pertaining to Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel and Joshua 7-8. October 2012.
The Search for Joshua's Ai: Dr. Bryant Wood published this extensive and technical research article on the history, geography and archaeology surrounding the narratives found in Joshua 7-8. Level: Technical
Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir: 1995 to 2000 and 2009 to 2011: A Border Fortress in the Highlands of Canaan and a Proposed New Location for the Ai of Joshua 7–8 : by Dr. Bryant Wood. A more technical summary of the evidence uncovered at Khirbet el-Maqatir. Level: Semi-Technical
The Search for Joshua's Ai at Khirbet el-Maqatir 2011: Gary Byers details the discoveries from the 2011 excavation season, which included a 1st century AD house and a variety of coins. Of particular interest is the continued excavation of the Byzantine Monastery on the summit. Level: Layman
Digging Up Joshua's Ai: The 2009-2010 Seasons at Khirbet el-Maqatir: by Dr. Bryant Wood. This article summarizes the discoveries from the 2009 and 2010 excavation seasons. Level: Layman
Researching Ai: by Dr. Bryant Wood. After the Israelites defeated Jericho in the southern Jordan Valley, they then attacked the fortress of Ai in the highlands (Jos 7–8). Both of these sites have produced archaeological findings that have seemed to be in conflict with the Bible. But is the problem with the Bible or with the interpretations of the archaeologists? Level: Layman
Location of Biblical Bethel and Ai Reconsidered: by Dr. David Livingston. For over a century most scholars have been agreed that the village of Beitin, north of Jerusalem, is the site of biblical Bethel. A large quantity of literature has been published based on this assumption. With such careful and painstaking work, much of it basic to an understanding of Palestinian archaeology and history, it hardly seems possible that Beitin may not actually be Bethel after all... Level: Technical
Further Considerations on the Location of Bethel at El-Bireh: by Dr. David Livingston. The correct locations for both biblical Bethel and its twin city of Ai are crucial for chronology, topography, and geography. The latter is related to the correct location of the border between Ephraim and Judah, as well as the locations of many biblical towns in southern Ephraim and Benjamin. Dr. David Livingston presents here additional evidence that the generally accepted sites for both Bethel and Ai are incorrect... Level: Technical
Locating Biblical Bethel: by Dr. David Livingston. Most scholars today locate Old Testament Bethel at the Arab village of Beitin about 11 mi north of Jerusalem. An examination of the evidence, however, indicates that this identification in incorrect. Finding Ai has been a major focus of ABR’s research work... Level: Layman
Traditional Site of Bethel Questioned: by Dr. David Livingston. Unfortunately, Dr. Rainey has presented little for the Beitin = Bethel case that has not already been considered. He has ably restated traditional opinions regarding the location. In spite of the evidence we present in our first article, he obviously concludes we are wrong. However, we urge the reader to look carefully at all the evidence, and lack of it, and decide for himself on the basis of evidence, not votes... Level: Semi-Technical
The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory: by Dr. Bryant Wood. The 13th century exodus-conquest theory was formulated by William F. Albright in the 1930s, based largely on Palestinian archaeological evidence, and promoted by him throughout his career. In spite of the fact that the theory runs counter to Scripture, a number of evangelicals continue to hold to this view... Level: Semi-Technical
The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier: by Dr. Bryant Wood. The date of the Biblical Exodus-Conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judges 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho, Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir) and Hazor... Level: Semi-Technical
Beth Aven: A Scholarly Conundrum: by Dr. Bryant Wood. The location of Beth Aven is important to ABR research because it was situated adjacent to Ai: “Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel” (Jos 7:2). Ai, Beth Aven, and Bethel were a triad of settlements in close proximity to one another. Any serious candidate for Joshua’s Ai, then, must have a candidate for Beth Aven near by. Scholars have been unable to come up with a viable site for Beth Aven. The reason is clear... Level: Layman
Israel's Origins: by Dr. David Livingston. For some time now many archaeologists, based on certain interpretations of the available evidence, have become convinced that there was no violent military assault on the land by Israel. They believe the entire account is myth... Level: Layman
"The Cites are Great and Walled Up to Heaven": by Col. David G. Hansen, Ph.D. The books of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua describe Canaanite cities as fortified and walled (e.g., Nu 13:28, Dt 1:28, 3:5, 28:52; Jos 2:15, 6:5, 6:20, 7:5, 8:29, etc.). In fact, the Hebrew word most often translated as “city” in English Bibles (1099 times in the Old Testament), always refers to a permanent settlement surrounded by a wall. The Old Testament made a distinction between a fortified place and unfortified, dependent towns and/or villages. Level: Layman
From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus-Judges Period: by Dr. Bryant Wood. Attempts to correlate the findings of archaeology with the biblical record for the period under review have seemingly met with insurmountable obstacles. Much of the scholarly community today has despaired of making any valid connections and has dismissed biblical history prior to the kingdom period as nothing more than myth and legend... Level: Semi-Technical
Recent Research on the Date and Setting of the Exodus: by Dr. Bryant Wood. Critics say the lack of any reference to this event in the records of ancient Egypt is proof that the Exodus never happened. We should not expect to find such written records, however, because of the lack of historical records of any kind from Rameses and the Egyptian penchant for keeping negative events from their history by not recording them. An Asiatic settlement at the site of Rameses from the time of Joseph and records of Asiatic slaves from the period of the sojourn provide indirect evidence that the Israelites were in Egypt. A royal residence from the time of Moses fitting the Biblical description has now been found at Rameses... Level: Layman
ABR Director of Development Henry Smith explains the work at Khirbet el-Maqatir in this TV interview. (Time: 13:45 to 21:45)
Further Bibliographical Information:
Wood, Bryant G.
Bimson, John J., and Livingston, David
- 1987 Redating the Exodus. Biblical Archaeological Review 13/5: 41-53, 66-68.
The Battle Continues: Won't You Join Us?
Discovery of lost fortress of Ai, Oct 2012.pdf (11.67 mb)