Top 20 Biblical Archaeology Events and Discoveries of 2012

Jezreel Valley Regional Project

I hope that everyone in the Biblical archaeology community enjoyed the holidays and is having a wonderful start to the new year. I wanted to take the time to look back at some of the biggest Biblical archaeology news stories, events and discoveries of 2012. I’ve put together links to 20 stand-out Biblical archaeology moments in 2012, and I would love to hear which discoveries intrigued you most, and what you’d like to hear more about in 2013. So please, share your ideas in the comments section below!
-Noah Wiener
BAS Web Editor

**The stories below are listed in no particular order and all are available for free in Bible History Daily**

VERDICT: NOT GUILTY: Two Remaining Defendants Cleared of Forgery Charges After 5-year Trial

A Samson Mosaic from Huqoq: An Inside Look at Discovering Ancient Synagogues with Jodi Magness

Scorched Wheat May Provide Answers on the Destruction of Canaanite Tel Hazor

City of David Archaeologists Unearth Late Bronze Age Egyptian Scarab

First Temple Period ‘Matanyahu’ Seal Discovered in Jerusalem

Book of Nehemiah Found Among the Scrolls:Scroll scholars find first fragment of Nehemiah

Archaeologists Discover “New” Ancient Language from the Eighth-Century B.C.E.

Bilingual Boundary Stone Discovered at Tel Gezer

History of Bethlehem Documented by First Temple Period Bulla from the City of David

Yeshiva University Project Shines a Colorful Digital Light on the Arch of Titus

Fatimid Treasure Discovered at Crusader-Era Apollonia-Arsuf

Tel Aviv University Scholars Discuss Jewelry Discovery at Megiddo

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Controversy: See A “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” on a Coptic Papyrus and Is the Harvard Theological Review a Coward or Did Dr. Karen King Do Something Wrong?

Evidence of Cultic Activity in Judah Discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa

Ancient Reservoir Provided Water for First Temple Period Jerusalem

Archaeologists Reveal a Desecrated Iron Age Temple at Beth-Shemesh

First Temple Period Ritual Structure Discovered Near Jerusalem

Bountiful Hoard Discovered Near Kiryat Gat: Gold, Silver and Jewelry Hidden During the Bar Kokhba Revolt

Sifting Project Reveals First Temple Bulla

Archaeologists Expose Israel’s Largest Hellenistic Harbor

Looking back, 2012 was a fascinating year for our field, and I’m very happy to have shared it with the BAS community! As a BAS editor, I was most struck by these stories in particular, but there were many other great discoveries over the past year. I’d like to share a few more reflections on 2012. Todd Bolen, a Biblical archaeologist and photographer who writes for the wonderful BiblePlaces blog, also shared his top stories from 2012 on the BiblePlaces site. Archaeological scholar, architect and artist Leen Ritmeyer looks back at 2012 to assess the First Temple period water cistern and Matanyahu seal as his two stand-out discoveries of the year.

We at BAS would love to hear which discoveries in 2012 were the most interesting to our readers, and what you are looking forward to in 2013. Share your comments below!

Update: Check out the top archaeological discoveries in 2013, 2014 and 2015.


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  • Nancy says

    I love this site and find it a great resource for research. This was a great article.

  • Nicole says

    Thanks for clarifying Noah. But since you made an error about the year, maybe this year you can have the top 21 stories. Simcha’s blog is pretty good too (, especially his recent exchanges with Prof. Amos Kloner. Two weeks ago Kloner delivered a paper on the Talpiot tomb which was explored by the robotic camera. In the paper, Kloner tried to minimize the discovery. For his part, Simcha raised some very important issues which are also echoed by Prof. Tabor, namely, why did Kloner misreport the location of the tomb, the number of ossuaries in it, the number of inscriptions in it, and the number of people buried there? The story is getting more and more interesting. I think you’ll have lots of opportunities to add this discovery to your top discoveries in the coming years.

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