The Value and Limitations of Archaeology (Part 3)

(The Covenant & the Cross #8)

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Deuteronomy 11:18-19 which reads: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from A.W. Tozer. He said: “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

Today, we are going to continue our overview of some topics that will help us as we study the Bible throughout future episodes.

Our topic for today is titled: “The Value and Limitations of Archaeology (Part 3)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Michael A. Harbin.

Today, let’s consider The Problem of Limited Excavation

Very often after a city was destroyed, a new one would be built on the ruins. Without bulldozers to remove the debris, the people merely leveled the old site and built new buildings. Sometimes they used stone from the previous city. Sometimes they dug through foundations. After a period of years, the cycle would repeat itself, and gradually an artificial hill or mound would rise up.

Today, there are thousands of these mounds (called tels) waiting to be excavated. It is estimated that there are over 450 in modern Israel alone. Politics, weather, funding, and restrictions on the number of people involved serve to limit the number of sites to work on. Then the question arises, Which of these tels are really important? Archaeologists often do not know until they start work.

Archaeologists most often use trench or square methods that effectively reveal only part of the site. Usually, even after years of digging, less than 10 percent of a city has been excavated. While this method is the most practical, archaeologists do risk missing valuable data in the part that is still buried. Thus, the data that they have been able to recover is but a small part of what is there.

On our next broadcast, we will continue looking at “The Value and Limitations of Archaeology.”


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