2012 Ai Expedition Over!

At our final debriefing last Friday evening, Dig Director Dr. Bryant Wood noted that this was probably the most productive season in our 10-year excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir (KeM) in relation to illuminating all 4 occupation periods at our site. 

While week 1 was great, good things continued to happen in week 2.  The report on our first week’s 24 excavated coins came back and there were 2 minted by each of these 3 Roman governors mentioned in the New Testament: Pontius Pilate under Emperor Tiberius (Mt 27), Antonius Felix under Claudius (Acts 24) and Festus under Nero (Acts 25).  There was also 1 King Herod Agrippa coin (Mt 26). 

This week, we found another 28 coins, most apparently kept in a couple of glass bottles inside our 1st century house. 

While we were not able to be totally certain about the wall line found last week beneath that house, it does appear to be the eastern extension of the city of Ai captured by Joshua 1,400 years earlier. 

We also found the 3rd arch in the Byzantine church of our monastery.  It may be a new transitional form – which is a big deal in archaeology. 
I began excavating the wall lines of 1 or 2 Israelite houses from the time of the Judges.  This is a big deal for me because these are the houses about which I wrote my thesis back in the 90’s.  Now, I can find out if I knew what I was talking about!

Additionally, archaeological architect Leen Ritmeyer and geologist David McQueen joined us this week and both offered wonderful insights into the nature of finds on our site. 

I have never left KeM so excited and encouraged – can’t wait till next year.

One year at a time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director