Dr. Mark Wilson is the founder and director of the Asia Minor Research Center in Antalya, Turkey, a country in which he and his wife Dindy have lived since 2004. He received a D.Litt. et Phil. from the University of South Africa (Pretoria) where he serves as a Research Fellow in Biblical Archaeology. He is also Associate Professor Extraordinary of New Testament at Stellenbosch University. Mark regularly leads study trips for BAS to Turkey, Greece, Malta, and Italy. He also blogs periodically for Bible History Daily. He is the author and editor of numerous books, articles, and reviews including Biblical Turkey: A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor. Mark is a member of numerous academic societies including the Society for New Testament Studies, Society of Biblical Literature, and ASOR. His research interests include ancient Jewish communities, Roman roads, and Biblical routes in the eastern Mediterranean. Mark often travels with Dindy to archaeological sites; they have four adult children, four grandsons, and four granddaughters.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIV, October 16 – 17, 2021
Philip and the Nubian Eunuch: Archaeology and Geography of their Meeting in Acts 8
Philip received an angelic command to travel from Jerusalem to Gaza. Some geographical and archaeological dimensions of that journey will be investigated using clues in the text. After Betogabris, Philip met a man from Africa riding in a carriage, not a chariot, as it traversed the smooth desert road. Bible translations call him the Ethiopian eunuch; however, he was really from Nubia, ancient Cush. As the only unnamed major character in Acts, his identity as the treasurer of the Kandake dynasty is shrouded in mystery. This kingdom and its capital at Meroe will be explored along with the Jewish communities that lived in the Upper Nile valley in the first century BCE-CE. Knowing this historical background may indicate the eunuch’s ethnicity and religious identity. Acts chapter 8 ends at a pool at Wadi el-Hesi, the likely site of the eunuch’s baptism before Philip was snatched by the Spirit to Azotus.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XXII, November 22 – 24, 2019
And Then We Came to Rome: With Paul on the Appian Way
On his captivity journey that closes the book of Acts, Paul lands in Italy at the port of Puteoli. Under armed guard he walks first to Capua where his party connects with the Via Appia. The presentation will discuss the historical significance of this “queen of Roman roads.” Archaeological sites, road sections, and monuments along the way, particularly the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns mentioned in Acts 28:15, are discussed.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XXI, November 16 – 18, 2018
The Elusive Archaeological Quest to Find Derbe: Where Did Paul Really Go?
Paul visited the Lycaonian site of Derbe during his three journeys in Asia Minor. But when travelers in the early nineteenth century attempted to find the site, its localization proved elusive. In the 1880s the archaeologists Sterrett and Ramsay announced that the site of Derbe had finally been determined. However, over half a century later and some thirty miles away two inscriptions came to light that mentioned Derbe. Suddenly the assured results of a previous generation were called into question, and articles and maps mentioning Derbe had to be changed. But has the site of Derbe finally been settled or is it still elusive? This presentation will seek to answer that question.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
Paul, Galatia, and the Letter to the Galatians
Two inscriptions found in Perga provide fresh insight regarding the Roman provincial organization of central Asia Minor in the mid-first century CE. We will first explore the boundaries of the province of Galatia when Paul first journeyed there. Did he establish other churches in Galatia during this visit? The related question of whether any Jewish communities existed in Pamphylia will also be addressed. Finally, in light of this new understanding of Galatia, what are its implications concerning the audience of Paul’s letter to the Galatians?
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIX, November 18 – 20, 2016
On the Road Again: Geoarchaeology and Paul’s Anatolian Journeys
The routes that Paul used for his ministry journeys in Asia Minor continue to be debated by scholars. In this lecture we will look at computer modeling techniques that archaeologists use to predict paths and roads in antiquity. Applying these techniques to Paul’s journeys, we will attempt to clarify which ancient roads Paul might have traveled on to preach the gospel. These techniques will also provide fresh insights regarding the time and distance required for traveling among the Greek and Roman cities of Paul’s day.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVIII, November 20 – November 22, 2015
Two Inscriptions and a Text: With Paul in Aegean Turkey
In the excavations at Metropolis north of Ephesus, Turkish archaeologists uncovered two altars dedicated to Caesar that attribute a rare epithet to him. Paul uses the same word about Jesus in Roman 3:25. We will explore whether this is a new Pauline example of anti-imperial rhetoric. Acts 20:15 records that Paul on his return to Judea stopped “opposite Chios.” A possible solution for this geographical conundrum will be proposed that localizes another biblical site in Turkey. The literary genre of periplus will also be reviewed as it relates to Luke’s description of this sea journey and the exact timetable given for it.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVII, November 21 – 23, 2014
Into the Wild Blue Yonder: The Archaeological World of Paul’s Second Anatolian Journey
The book of Acts uses only three verses (16:6–9) to record 500 miles of travel at the beginning of Paul’s second journey. It is clear that northwestern Anatolia was the “Wild Blue Yonder” for Luke, the traditional author, who generally gives more detailed geographical data. The route for this journey on the maps in Bible atlases varies greatly, with most ignoring the region’s geographical, topographical, and hodological landscape. Field studies in 2013 brought fresh insights into a probable route as we attempted to localize the few geographical clues found in the text. Northwestern Turkey today is a rich archaeological region, yet remains a “Wild Blue Yonder” for most visitors. The presentation will look at the remains of its material culture that Paul might have seen as he passed through Phyrgia and Mysia in the province of Asia.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22 – 24, 2013
Magic, Mark, and Malaria: Paul’s Arrival in Pamphylia
The second stage of Paul’s first missionary journey is shrouded in mystery and conjecture. Is it a coincidence that Sergius Paulus’s home was Pisidian Antioch? Is there any archaeological evidence for their point of landing since Perga is an inland city? Did Paul contract malaria in Pamphylia after his arrival? And why did John Mark return to Jerusalem at this time? By reading between Luke’s lines using the archaeology and history of this Mediterranean region, this presentation addresses these intriguing questions.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16 – 18, 2012
Bible Atlases: Can We Trust Them?
More than a dozen atlases of the Bible have been published in the past three years. Their presentation of the biblical sites and events is presumed to be based on solid archaeological and geographical research. But are they? In this session we will look at four test cases—two from the Jewish Scriptures and two from the New Testament—and see how they are presented in these important reference tools. We will examine the evidence used to make editorial decisions. And we will see if the atlases’ cartographers are using accurate data on their maps.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18 – 20, 2011
Who’s Buried in Philip’s Tomb?
Questions and controversy continue to swirl around the recent discovery of Philip’s tomb in Hierapolis, Turkey. Was this Philip the evangelist or Philip the apostle? Why didn’t the magnificent martyrium built for Philip in the fifth century and excavated in recent years contain his tomb? And what evidence led project director Francesco D’Andria and his Italian archaeological team to conclusively identify this new tomb structure as Philip’s? This presentation will examine these and other issues surrounding one of this year’s most exciting archaeological discoveries.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19 – 21, 2010
Jews in Asia Minor: The Archaeological Evidence
Much literary evidence exists for the presence of Jews in Asia Minor. The Hebrew Bible, the Deuterocanonicals, the New Testament, and Josephus all speak about these communities. However, archaeological evidence has been sparse and scattered among various excavations in Turkey. In this session, we will examine the evidence so far for the Jewish presence in Asia Minor. We will also look at synagogues that have been discovered, particularly the new synagogue at Andriake. The Biblical Archaeology Society has sponsored two seasons of work at the synagogue at Priene, and this presentation will share the most recent discoveries and research to come out of this unique excavation.
Legendary Turkey: In the Footsteps of Paul, September 20 – October 2, 2010
Bible & Archaeology Fest XII, November 20 – 22, 2009
In the Footsteps of Paul in Asia Minor: Are there Still Roman Roads to Follow?
Many visitors travel to Asia Minor each year to tour in the “Footsteps of Paul.” While they may see many cities in which Paul ministered, most never see any ancient roads upon which Paul would have walked. Instead they are able to travel along Turkey’s highways in air-conditioned buses and stay each night in comfortable hotels. Many ancient roads, especially from the Roman period, still exist in Turkey; some of these Paul undoubtedly traveled upon. In this presentation we will look at the evidence for these roads, some of which are disappearing in the face of development. We will focus especially on new research related to the route of Paul’s first journey along the Via Sebaste from Perga to Pisidian Antioch.
In the Footsteps of Paul in Turkey, September 21 – October 3, 2009