Current Events

Keep up to date on the latest developments in the world of Biblical Archaeology and related apologetic topics. In this section, you will find links to news reports, articles and staff commentary on the most recent discoveries, reports, and controversies in Biblical Archaeology. Enjoy!

Note: The views and comments made in materials from sources outside of the Associates for Biblical Research are not necessarily those of ABR. Such materials are included only insofar as they relate to the subject of archaeology and related apologetic subjects, and are provided for your information only.

9 New Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Discovered posted by ABR Staff

For more, visit (off-site links):

Times of Israel


Construction Ready to Begin on Life Sized Noah's Ark posted by ABR Staff

Visit Ark Encounter for more information (off-site link).

New Study Confirms Carthaginian Child Sacrifice posted by Henry B. Smith Jr. MA

"...[W]hen you pull together all the evidence – archaeological, epigraphic and literary – it is overwhelming and, we believe, conclusive: they did kill their children, and on the evidence of the inscriptions, not just as an offering for future favours but fulfilling a promise that had already been made," argues Josephine Quinn, ancient history lecturer at Oxford University. Quinn and her colleagues published the results of their study in their article, "Phoenician Bones of Contention" in Antiquity, volume 87. (off-site link).

For more on this story, see (off-site links):

The Guardian

Archaeology and the Arts

University of Oxford

Watch this preview of the ABR DVD: Canaanite Child Sacrifice and Modern Day Abortion, available in the ABR bookstore.

Major Artifact Confirms Biblical Account posted by ABR Staff

Major Artifact Confirms Biblical Account

ABR has been conducting excavations in Israel since 1995 at Khirbet el-Maqatir (9 miles north of Jerusalem), which meets the biblical requirements to be identified as the fortress of Ai conquered by the Israelites as recorded in Joshua 7-8.

Copyright 2013, Associates for Biblical Research. may not be reproduced anywhere, in any format, without the express written permission of the Associates for Biblical Research. Photo by Mike Luddeni.

Pottery excavated at the site indicates the fortress was in use in the Late Bronze period, circa 1500-1400 BC. The scarab is a rare type that was made in the early 18th dynasty, ca. 1485-1418 BC. This is a significant discovery since it provides an independent date for the fortress apart from pottery. According to the Bible, the Israelites left Egypt in 1446 BC and entered Canaan in 1406 BC. The scarab substantiates the historical accuracy of the narratives found in Joshua.

The Egyptian scarab from Khirbet el-Maqatir will be on display in the Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University from January 22 to December 20, 2014.

For more information, please contact:

Henry B. Smith Jr.

Associates for Biblical Research

Director of Development

Contact Page

Download Press Release

Download Museum Exhibit Flyer

Media Photo File (off site link)

Watch video footage of the Discovery of the Scarab at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Hear Dr. Scott Stripling talk about the Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit at Houston Baptist University.



Press Release Maqatir Scarab Museum-1a.pdf (406.69 kb)

rev 1-10(2) full page HBU Exhibit_red crackle.pdf (1.34 mb)

Press Release Maqatir Scarab Museum-Press Conf FINAL.pdf (411.72 kb)

13th Dynasty Tomb of King Sobekhotep Found In Egypt posted by ABR Staff

The tomb discovered by the Pennsylvania University mission working south of Abydos, Sohag. The first lead to this discovery was when the huge quartzite sarcophagi of 60 tons was found in 2013. Then, parts of tablet were found depicting the name of the King and show him sitting on his throne.

For more see (off-site link): Luxor Times

Biblical Tarshish Located in Sardinia? posted by Henry B. Smith Jr. MA

Tarshish, which means “to smelt,” was a source not only of silver, but also other refined metals such as iron, tin and lead (Ezekiel 27:12). Recent lead isotope ore provenance analyses of silver found at Akko, Dor, Ein Hogez and Tell Keisan in southern Phoenicia, indicate that Biblical Tarshish was located on the island of Sardinia.

For more, see (off-site link): Silver at Tarshish

Your Year End Gift to ABR 2013 posted by Scott Lanser MA

Make a Gift to Associates for Biblical Research Today

Partner with us to promote the authority of the Bible and to help equip this generation of students and seekers with powerful biblical and apologetic research.  Support us as we provide critical scholarly resources for Pastors, Professors, and Bible students of all ages.

Your end-of-year gift can help Associates for Biblical Research continue to promote the authority of the Bible and to show the world that the Bible is entirely trustworthy. Of greatest concern for all of us is the current crisis with our 12 to 24 year olds who are having their faith stolen from them through the lies of atheists and those consumed with drowning out the gospel in our culture. We are losing our students, but with your help we will turn the tide. Young people need clear answers and straight-forward information that will contradict and correct the uninformed opinions of social media and popular culture. In a generation of slogans and bumper-sticker propaganda we must promote the truth with honest, clear statements and then back them up with solid, sound research.  Your gift is an investment in our future and in the ministry of ABR.

Consider how your generous support will expand our efforts to impact lives:

· ABR’s Youth Faith-Builder Curriculum is moving forward. Your gifts will help us create a much needed biblical archaeological curriculum that can be used in church ministries, Christian schools, and for home-school students

· The dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir needs your continued support.  Extraordinary recent discoveries at the excavation have shown the critical importance of our efforts there. Remember the exponential impact of establishing the location of biblical Ai, as students can be shown clearly that historical accounts in the Old Testament are true and they can trust the Bible! Consider the impact for Pastors as they can teach the account of Joshua and the Conquest with evidence that will strengthen their preaching to those who are seekers.

· Your gifts will help us do a redesign of our website which reaches 60,000 people each month. The hundreds of articles available to seekers and scholars promote the authority of the Bible and strengthen the faith of God’s people.

·  Your sacrificial giving provides resources to grow the ABR staff and meet the needs of those doing original research that supports the authority of Scripture. ABR is a team of missionary scholars and researchers all committed to the truth of God’s word to the glory God!



Did You Know? Tax-Free IRA Rollover Extended!

As part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 individuals aged 70 ½ or older may make tax-free transfers up to $100,000 from an IRA to Associates for Biblical Research for the 2013 tax year.

Thank you for partnering with ABR! Thank you for your generosity!

Gifts to Associates for Biblical Research for the 2013 tax year may be made until December 31, 2013

Support ABR Through an IRA Distribution posted by ABR Staff

A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) is an otherwise taxable distribution from an IRA (other than an ongoing SEP or SIMPLE IRA) owned by an individual who is age 70½ or over that is paid directly from the IRA to a qualified charity.


An IRA owner can exclude from gross income up to $100,000 of a QCD made for a year, and a QCD can be used to satisfy any IRA required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year. Also, the amount of a QCD excluded from gross income is not taken into account in determining any deduction for charitable contributions.


This Act authorizes an individual with a traditional IRA and who has attained the age of 70½, or older, to satisfy their required minimum distribution for 2013 by having their IRA trustee issue a check directly to a qualified charitable organization from their IRA. Such a distribution does not increase your taxable income as a normal distribution would nor can it be taken as a charitable deduction against your taxable income. The advantage is that the amount can be included in your required minimum distribution.


Should you wish to contribute to A.B.R. in this manner, Associates For Biblical Research is recognized by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(3)c charitable organization. Just indicate to us that the amount is a direct distribution from your IRA account.


For further information check the IRS website enter QCD in the search box or speak with your tax advisor. Please feel free to contact ABR Executive Director, Scott Lanser at


Joshua's Ai Exhibit At Houston Baptist University posted by ABR Staff

If it is indeed true that a picture is worth a thousand words, the ABR Khirbet el-Maqatir exhibit at Houston Baptist University (HBU), will be loudly proclaiming the reliability of the biblical text.


Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site will be a year-long exhibit of 42 artifacts from excavations in Israel at Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the site of ancient Ai from Joshua 7-8.  The Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria has approved the loan of these artifacts for exhibit at the Houston Baptist University’s Dunham Bible Museum from January 21-December 19, 2014.  In conjunction with the exhibit, a symposium will be held on February 8th, focusing on the role of archaeology in understanding ancient history and biblical studies as well, including critical reflection on the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir and what light they shed on the ancient biblical world. Starting from Genesis 12-13 and moving forward in time toward Maqatir's magnificent monastery, 4,000 years of history will be on display. Special attention will be given to the Late Bronze Age fortress (the Ai of Joshua 7-8) and the Early Roman/New Testament village (perhaps Ephraim of John 11:54). 


Over the millennia, the human footprint on the earth has many layers, and archaeology fascinatingly uncovers them, bringing to the surface artifacts long buried.  Each artifact is a piece of the story of an earlier time and civilization.  The exhibit and symposium focusing on excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir connect us with people across two millennia who lived between 3500 and 1500 years ago, helping us understand humankind across the ages.


Topics addressed include the epic struggles during the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Roman occupation of Judea, the Jewish revolt resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and the establishment of the Church in the early Christian era.  Archaeology’s role in interpreting the Bible and Israel’s early history will also be addressed.


Three scholars will organize the exhibit (Dr. Scott Stripling, Dr. Diana Severance, Dr. Bryant Wood).  Four scholars will be the lecturers and facilitators at the symposium (Drs. Bryant Wood, Eugene Merrill, Leen Ritmeyer and Scott Stripling).


Visitors to the exhibits and audience at the symposium will gain a renewed appreciation for the changing evidences of mankind’s civilization and culture across the centuries.  Their examination of archaeological and historical evidence will develop critical thinking skills.  They will also better be able to assess the historicity of the Bible, the foundational text for Western civilization.


Hear Dr. Scott Stripling talk about the Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit at Houston Baptist University and the Symposium on February 8, 2014.



Symposium and Conference: February 8, 2014


Throughout 2014, the Dunham Bible Museum will be hosting the special exhibit Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site.  Over 40 objects from the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the site of the biblical Ai, will be brought from Israel to HBU just for this exhibit.  In conjunction with the exhibit, the Dunham Bible Museum will host an Archaeological Conference on February 8, 2014.  The conference will be in the Belin Chapel of the HBU’s Morris Cultural Arts Center.  The Dunham Bible Museum is nearby and will be open throughout the Conference.  The following are confirmed speakers and topics:


Dr. Eugene H. Merrill


Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the author of over 10 books.  He was an Associate Editor of the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, a translator of the New King James Version and the New Living Translation, and an editor of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Dr. Merrill is a Square Supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir.


                          Dr. Leen Ritmeyer


Founder of Ritmeyer Archaeological Design, which offers “consultancy on archaeological background and illustration to groups as diverse as Hollywood movie companies, National Geographic, the ESV Study Bible and the new GLO Bible study computer program.” Ritmeyer is architect for the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations, the premier archaeological architect for Jerusalem, and numerous other archaeological sites. 




                          Dr. Scott Stripling


Chair of Humanities and Foreign Languages at Wharton County Junior College. He is director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation, and has supervised excavations at Tall el-Hammam in Jordan and the Temple Mount Salvage Project in Jerusalem.



                          Dr. Bryant Wood


Director of Research with the Associates for Biblical Research, consulting editor for Bible and Spade, and ceramic typologist of the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir.  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.


Saturday, February 8, 2014


9 am – Dr. Bryant Wood, “ Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Border Fortress in the Highlands of Canaan and a Proposed New Location for the Ai of Joshua 7-8”


10:15 – Dr. Eugene Merrill, “Ai and Old Testament Chronology: Who Cares?”


11:30-1:00 Lunch Break


1 pm - Dr. Scott Stripling, “Ritual Purity at Khirbet el-Maqatir’s First Century Village and the First Jewish Revolt Against Rome”


2:15 – Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, “Does the Byzantine Church at Maqatir reflect the sacred architecture of the Temple in Jerusalem?


3:30 – Closing panel discussion


Cost for the conference is $25, which includes lunch on Saturday.  There is no fee for Houston Baptist University faculty, staff, and students, but they MUST register for the conference and purchase meal tickets if eating at the conference.  Registration is available online on the HBU Website or by mail, with registration mailed to:

Dunham Bible Museum

Houston Baptist University

7502 Fondren Road

Houston, Texas 77074 

The deadline for registration is February 1, 2014. 


For more information contact:

Dr. Diana Severance at 281-649-3287 or


James Ossuary Returned to Oded Golan posted by Henry B. Smith Jr. MA

The bone box, or ossuary, inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” marking the culmination of a ten-year unsuccessful effort by the Israel Antiquities Authority to prove the inscription is a forgery, has been returned to its owner. For more, see: Biblical Archaeology Review (off site link).

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