The Battle Continues: Won't You Join Us?

A Diary of the 2011 Excavation Season by Don McNeeley

Dig Diary from Khirbet el-Maqatir: Winter 2012 by Dee Alberty

"This trip was a dream come true!" -David M.

"Our bus passes through the Israeli checkpoint before dawn, filled with the sounds of a spoken bible passage, prayer, and song. Arriving at the base of Khirbet el-Maqatir, we climb to the dig site and pause at the top, enthralled again by the view of Jerusalem. Reflecting on the terrain and Joshua's strategy to capture Ai, the ruins underneath me transform: the ancient gate looms tall and impenetrable, and the sling stones are freshly chiseled – held in the strong hands of a warrior who used them 3500 years ago. Hoisting a pick, I'm eager for another day of digging and fellowship with my team." -Vanessa

"Going on a dig was a far-fetched dream for two years before my husband and I were able to do it. In my two weeks, I found not only lots of pottery, but also a coin! It was really exciting. Further, by literally getting my hands dirty in the past, the Bible became alive. I could see how Joshua and the Israelites would be able to take Ai. I felt connected not only to the land of Israel, but also the reality of the Bible. It only made me appreciate the Bible and its reliability more and more." -Christine

"This was my second dig at Khirbet el Maqatir and I was anxious to see what had been found in the years since 1998. For a while I was lost because the site seemed different. It was more overgrown with thornsbushes, we approached the site from a different direction and there were more Arab houses than before. It was seeing Jerusalem in the distance that helped me get my bearings. I eventually found the wall that I helped uncover twelve years ago. It was wonderful to be in Israel digging up the past. Working in a square with other diggers is fun as you meet funny, friendly, Christian people who make the whole adventure very enjoyable as you share experiences with them. Other people found exciting things while I found a lot of bedrock but that didn’t matter. I am convinced that Dr. Wood is right and this is Joshua’s Ai as it fits the Bible’s description so very well. It was hard work with early hours and hard manual labour (for someone my age and I lost about 15lbs) but the satisfaction of knowing that you were helping to demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible made it all worthwhile." -Bob

"As a professor, I had a three week break between the end of my spring semester and the beginning of the summer semester. As fate would have it, the excavation dates at Khirbet el-Maqatir fit perfectly in that time frame. I supervised the excavation of two squares that were artifact rich. The stratigraphy was Byzantine, Hasmonean, and Late Bronze. There was a great spirit among the volunteers; all knew that we were “digging the Bible.”" -Scott

"Three weeks participation with the ABR’s “dig” at Khirbet el-Maqatir left me with a kaleidoscope of first-time memories: excitement to be in Israel, early morning sunrises, military checkpoints, driving through the West Bank, carrying supplies up (and down) the hill, setting up shade tents, digging in dirt (and rocks), learning “on-site,” new friendships, hard work (and blisters), laughter, team work and camaraderie, excitement over “treasures” discovered, midday Islamic calls to prayer, pottery “readings,” weekend sightseeing, and fun! Most importantly, however, I had the privilege of participating with the ABR team in seeking to demonstrate the historical reliability of God’s Word." -Debbie

"My time at Khirbet el-Maqatir last spring was both challenging and eye-opening. I learned more about archaeology in my two weeks of digging than I did in my thirteen years of schooling. As an educator, no class that I have taken throughout my time in seminary and university has changed the way I teach the Old Testament as did my hands-on “class” at Khirbet el-Maqatir with men like Dr. Bryant Wood, Gary Byers, Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Eugene Merrill (among others). It truly was an enjoyable experience—so much so, I plan on returning this spring. "-Brian

"The Dig was unbelievable. I was mostly excited about the learning aspect and the perfect balance between the lectures and the hands on experience". --Kevin

"Very good project. Good group of people." - Lou

"The Biblical teaching from the staff was sound doctrine, and very edifying." -Abigail

"The staff was amazingly knowledgable...I loved all the lectures." ---Steve

"We will be praying for the team going this year and remembering what an incredible year we had at last year’s dig (2011)." - Jan

"I will do my best to promote Biblical Archaeology and ABR wherever I am invited to speak or teach." - Art

"[The Dig] was sooo worth it! It was the best vacation I ever had..." - Jackie

"The ABR staff was excellent, very genuine, kind, informative and knowledgable." - Roy

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

ABR Security Statement

ABR is closely monitoring the violence in Israel and the Palestinian controlled territories. While the violence is often contained in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip and the coastal region of Israel, it has now spilled over into East Jerusalem and the West Bank where the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation is located. Americans and other westerners are almost never the focus of violence, which is expressed between Israelis and Palestinians. Our dig is in Area C, or the disputed territories; therefore, the Israeli military maintains a tight control there, including a guard tower that overlooks our site. In addition, we have armed security guards on our site while we are excavating. We have never needed the guards or felt in any way at risk. The Israeli Antiquities Authority will not allow us to excavate if there is any risk involved. There is no indication that they are concerned. We are confident that the 2016 excavation will be uninterrupted and safe. If the situation changes, we will take appropriate steps. Please join us in praying for peace in the land of the Bible.

Associates for Biblical Research
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