Biblical Shiloh is situated alongside the path referred to as the Way of the Patriarchs in Samaria, the heart of Ancient Israel.
In the Bible, Shiloh is the location where Joshua allocated the Promised Land to the 12 tribes of Israel. For greater than 300 years, the Tabernacle of the Lord remained at this site. Dr. Scott Stripling, along with numerous volunteers, is currently conducting excavations at this important Biblical place.
During a recent insightful interview with CBN News, Dr. Stripling revealed, “We’re dealing with real people, real places, real events. This is not mythology. The coins that we excavated today – we’re talking about coins of Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Thestos, Felix, Agrippa the First, Agrippa the Second. The Bible talks about these people. We’ve got the image right here.”
The group is exploring a fortified wall constructed by the Canaanites. Each day, they discover numerous artifacts at this site. Their finds include ancient coins and an estimated 2,000 pieces of pottery.
Referring to a discovery, Dr. Stripling told CBN News, “Now, this one was from yesterday. It’s been washed already so you see the same form right out of the ground in yesterday and those are those handles from the stone vessels. Remember, Jesus’ first miracle in Cana? There were stone jars full of water. That’s that ritual purity culture of the first century.”
Dr. Stripling views his painstaking undertakings as life altering. He stated, “You can read the Bible, you can walk the Bible, but the ultimate is to dig the Bible…You know, when we actually get into the swill, like these students from Lea University. They’re literally – it’s under their fingernails and in their nose and in their mouth and their ears and they’re exposing this ancient culture. It becomes one with you. It’s sort of like we came out of the soil and as we dig into the soil, we connect with God and with each other, I think, in a very important way.”
Regarding his mission, Dr. Stripling told CBN News, “Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible. What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude.”
While digging in to the past, the archeologist feels they discover valuable lessons for today. He remarked, “One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay. And even if our lives are broken like these vessels are, God told Jeremiah after He had told him to go to Shiloh and see what He had done, He told him to go to the potter’s house and look at a flawed vessel and see how the potter puts it back on the wheel and works out the imperfections.”
To expound upon his point, Dr. Stripling went on to add, “So my faith lesson is this: Yes we’re imperfect, but if we will allow God, He wants to put us [on] His potter’s wheel and make us a vessel of honor.”
While Dr. Stripling’s team is comprised of people of all ages, several students are in the group. Abigail Leavitt, a University of Pikesville student, revealed to CBN News, “I love getting my hands dirty. I love digging in the dirt. It’s my favorite thing.” Leavitt also stated, “It’s tiring and exhausting, but it’s really rewarding. It’s exciting to find ancient things – things that have been just waiting for us for thousands of years.”
While she’s digging, Leavitt feels the Bible comes alive. The University of Pikesville student remarked, “I read the Bible totally differently than I did before I came here, and I can see when I read the Bible I know the places, I know what’s going on. I understand it more deeply, especially where previous archaeologists have claimed the archaeology disproves the Bible. But when we dig here, we find that everything matches. You read it in the Bible. You dig in the dirt and there it is.”
~ 1776 Christian