Biblical Archaeology Methods
Sorry, there isn't a lot here right now. It will take a little while to write all this good stuff, but stay tuned! In the meantime, wear your hard hat - this section is under construction.
What is Biblical Archaeology?
In the archaeology community, the term "Biblical Archaeology" has received a lot of criticism. The "correct" term is usually Near Eastern Archaeology or Syro-Palestinian Archaeology. Even though the word Biblical is dropped from the name, it isn't exactly an attempt to get rid of the Bible. It is an attempt to keep the focus on all archaeological periods. Why? Once a site is excavated, it cannot be re-excavated. If the non-Biblical periods are ignored, they are gone forever. But, there is more to this debate than this. Stay tuned for more information on the debate.
Why does this site use the term Biblical Archaeology? In part, because the author of this site likes the term even if it isn't in vogue! But the main reason is because Biblical Archaeology is more descriptive of this site's focus. It is geared toward Biblical sites and time periods. And since this site is more concerned with the interpretation of archaeological data than the excavation itself, it can afford to ignore non-Biblical stuff. If you would like, you can get more information on Dig the Bible's Focus and Approach.
Many people associate archaeologists with Indiana Jones. However, in the movies, Indy was more of a treasure hunter than an archaeologist. And treasure hunters are not too popular in archaeology circles.
Excavation (digging up sites) is one of the more exciting things an archaeologist does. But, an archaeologist also has to publish his findings and do research so he can properly interpret what he finds. He also has to be very careful in the methods he uses to excavate an area. Everything has to be meticulously documented and systematically excavated. A site cannot be re-excavated, so it has to be done right the first time.
PSST! Want to know a secret? If an archaeologist doesn't know what an excavated item was used for, he will probably tell you it had some kind of religious significance (hey, it's a pretty safe answer that is hard to dispute). So, if an archaeologist tells you that, be wary of his explanation (GRIN).
What Methods Does Archaeology Use?
Sorry, but this section will have to wait. For more information, you can locate the Dig the Bible Echo. Digger Doyle regularly posts messages there on this subject and will eventually compile some for this section.
If you are in the mood for some technical stuff:
The Restoration and Conservation of Ancient Copper Coins by Doyle Lynch.
This is a paper I presented in fulfillment of my senior research project for my BA in Archaeology at Baylor University. The project ended up spanning two semesters and another year of fun work even after I graduated. These findings were presented in part at the Southwest Region ASOR meetings in 1991 and 1992. The paper has been slightly modified for use on the web and I have included some photographs of restored coins. Dr. Alton Hassell is still having research conducted on the methodologies and is planning on publishing the material when completed.