Bible History Daily’s Year In Review
What were the top ten biblical archaeology stories of 2022? As the year winds down, we look back at the top ten stories published on Bible History Daily in 2022. From the 200th anniversary of the deciphering of the Rosette Stone to the first decoding of Linear Elamite, this year provided us with some incredible archaeological news. The articles below are not listed or ranked in any particular order.
The Rosetta Stone: Key to Egyptian Hieroglyphs: September 2022 marked the 200th anniversary of Jean-François Champollion’s deciphering of the Rosetta Stone’s Egyptian hieroglyphic script and the language behind it. The ability to read ancient Egyptian texts unlocked a wealth of textual and historical sources related to the Bible, including the famed Merneptah Stele, which furnished the earliest mention of a people called Israel, and numerous other accounts that linked Egyptian and biblical history.
What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls?: Speaking of anniversaries, 2022 marked the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century. In the decades following their discovery, teams of scholars pieced the scrolls together to reconstruct an amazing library of early Jewish texts dating from the third century BCE to the first century CE. We also have a great free eBook about the Dead Sea Scrolls.
An Early Israelite Curse Inscription from Mt. Ebal?: One of the more fascinating stories of the year was the announcement of a sensational new inscription from Mt. Ebal in the West Bank. Researchers claim that the inscription is the earliest Hebrew text that also contains the earliest reference to the god Yahweh in ancient Israel. Questions abound, however, and some scholars have expressed serious doubts about the team’s sensational claims.
The Changing Nile and How the Pyramids Were Built: Could the question of how the ancient Egyptians transported the material needed to construct the pyramids finally be answered? A paper published in 2022 proposes to have done just that, by demonstrating that a long dried-up branch of the Nile River once ran much closer to the site than it does today.
Drought Reveals 3,400-Year-Old Lost City: On the topic of dried-up waterways, a large drought across Iraq provided archaeologists with a rare opportunity to excavate a city that had been lost for more than three millennia. The city is believed to be ancient Zakhiku, an important trade center of the Bronze Age Mitannian kingdom.
Oldest Canaanite Sentence Found: This past year also provided us with the oldest alphabetic sentence ever discovered. The inscription, carved into an ivory comb, dates to around 1700 BCE, only a century after most scholars believe the alphabet was invented. Written in an archaic Proto-Canaanite script, the inscription sheds new light on the early development of the alphabet and the daily life of the important Canaanite city of Lachish.
The Earliest Evidence of Christianity in Arabia?: In 2022, we learned about ancient rock art and inscriptions in the Arabian Peninsula, some of which bear crosses and express Christian prayers. Some of the inscriptions predate the birth of Islam and provide some of the earliest evidence for the spread of Christianity across the region.
Who Were the Philistines and Where Did They Come From?: In the Bible, the Philistines are perhaps best known as the archenemy of the Israelites, but they were so much more than that. Take a look at the archaeological, biblical, and even modern genetic evidence for who they were and where they came from.
Linear Elamite Deciphered!: Despite the progress made in deciphering ancient scripts over the past two centuries, a few remain tantalizingly out of reach, including the ancient Iranian script, Linear Elamite. Or is it? According to new research, this 4,000-year-old script, which recorded the language of Elam, has finally been almost completely deciphered.
The Ancient Altar from Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre: During building renovations in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, archaeologists came across a stunning discovery, a large section from the church’s original altar. The excavators believe that the stone slab once adorned the 12th-century high altar from one of Christianity’s holiest sites.
Choosing the top ten biblical archaeology stories of 2022 was really tough, so tough that we decided to list one more story that could also have easily made the list!
Striking Discovery Sheds Light on Neolithic People: While excavating ancient Neolithic hunting traps in Jordan’s southeastern desert near, a team of French and Jordanian archaeologists made a unique discovery that sheds new light on daily life and belief in the prehistoric Levant.
So, what archaeological news do you think was the most impactful in 2022? Leave a comment to let us know, and if you are looking for your own chance to excavate history, be sure to check out our Find a Dig page to learn how you can get involved.
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