I went to an archaeology seminar at Biola over the weekend. After 16 hours of lecture, I definitely feel more literate about the subject. The most helpful thing we did was go over all of those confusing eras - Bronze Age IA and Iron Age IIB. What the heck is all that? Well, now I have a handy, dandy chart that spells it all out for me.
The biggest thing I came away with from the weekend was an overwhelming sense of how deep the intersection is between the Bible and archaeology. It is far more than I realized. Moreover, I don't see how anyone who objectively looks at the evidence can say that Judaism or Christianity borrowed its concept of God from other religions. That statement represents such a superficial understanding of the evidence that it's almost comical. (It would be comical if so many people weren't so deceived by it.) But the Jewish view of God and the views of the surrounding cultures were as different as night and day, and this point comes out in the kinds of artifacts the cultures left behind.
While we're on the subject of archaeology, Todd Bolen posted some thoughts about what he thinks is a "remarkable discovery" of undisturbed archaeological material from the Temple Mount. The Israeli Antiquities Authority has dated the area to the Old Testament times, including the First Temple period (1000-586 B.C.).
News article in Hareetz (Israeli newspaper): Archaeologists find link to 1st temple in controversial J'lem dig
News article in Jerusalem Post (Israeli newspaper): Link to First Temple found
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (has pictures): Archaeological remains dated to the First Temple Period discovered on the Temple Mount
So what's the big deal? Because apparently no undisturbed layers from any period have been excavated on the Temple Mount, ever. This is because Muslims control the site and they prohibit excavation. (I won't go into the [ir]rationality behind that decision.) It will be interesting to watch and see if this site turns up anything new.
Anyways, I find this sort of thing just fascinating.