Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Avoiding "Junk" Archaeology - Update

Follow up to my post from a couple weeks ago:

UPDATE (5/7/2008): Christianity Today just posted another article on this same theme. "Finders of the Lost Ark? Why some amateurs are stirring up dust and little else," by Gordon Govier

The article's lead is interesting because it mentions Ron Wyatt, who is frequently still quoted by some young-earth creationists as a credible source.
The late Ron Wyatt, a self-styled amateur archaeologist, claimed to have found Noah's Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, and the original stones of the Ten Commandments. Indiana Jones should have been so lucky. However, none of Wyatt's discoveries were ever independently verified. more...

To their credit, Answers in Genesis has distanced itself from Wyatt's findings. But I bring this to your attention because Wyatt's name still floats around the homeschool community as a good source for biblical archaeology.

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Original Post:

I am taking an Old Testament archaeology course this spring and my eight year old is completely fascinated with it. Right about now, I feel like I am up to my neck in stones and bones!

My daughter's fascination with biblical archaeology has been particularly sparked by the television show, Digging for the Truth. Although this is a fairly responsible show (at least for the first two seasons), a lot of other shows about archaeology on the History Channel are frequently based on "junk" science. With that in mind, I thought it would be good to have a discussion with my daughter about this. So we listened to a short podcast about it this morning: "Pseudo-archaeologists and the lost Arks" with professor Eric Cline, author of the book, From Eden to Exile. It's only 15 minutes and very helpful.

On the other hand, if you're looking for some resources based on sound archaeology from a Christian perspective, here is a great place to start! This is an article from a few years back that appeared in Christianity Today:

"Biblical Archaeology's Dusty Little Secret: The James bone box controversy reveals the politics beneath the science," by Gordon Govier (posted 10/01/2003).

And to follow this up, here are a bunch of great links to more articles on the Christianity Today web site from Gordon Govier, CT's archaeology correspondent.

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