About Rachel Hallote

Rachel Hallote

Rachel Hallote is an archaeologist and Professor of History at Purchase College SUNY. She is the author of several books and numerous articles about biblical archaeology, and the history of archaeology, including Bible, Map and Spade: The American Palestine Exploration Society, Frederick Jones Bliss and the Forgotten Story of Early American Biblical Archaeology (2006), and The Photographs of the American Palestine Exploration Society (2012). Her research revolves around the history of the discipline, especially focusing on the British and American archaeologists who excavated in Ottoman-controlled Palestine in the 19th century. In 2014, she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, and in 2017 she received the ASOR Membership Service Award for her continued involvement in ASOR. She has worked at numerous archaeological sites in Israel, including Tell Miqne and Megiddo.


Presenter at

St. Olaf College Summer Seminar, July 19 – 25, 2020

From Treasure Hunting to Excavation: Why Dig up the Land of the Bible?
With Professor Rachel Hallote as your guide, explore how the discipline of biblical archaeology evolved over time. It was born slowly and in a less-than-scholarly fashion, with gold seekers and incorrect ideas about archaeological finds. See the missteps that happened along the path from treasure-hunting to true archaeology.

The Not-So-Innocents abroad: How American Scholars Shaped the Discipline of Biblical Archaeology
Delve into the reasons for American interest in the land of the Bible and learn about the influence of American explorers and scholars on early biblical archaeology. By the early 20th century, the American archaeological presence in Ottoman Palestine via expeditions and the establishment of organizations rivaled that of France and England.

Politics and Archaeology: An Introduction.
Trace the use of archaeology to promote political agendas through both correct and incorrect interpretations of archaeological remains. This started with Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in the late 18th century and continues to modern times, such as the case of Masada in Israel.

Digging in Jerusalem: Why is it so Controversial?
Archaeology is something of a national pastime in Israel, and archaeological sites are among the most popular tourist attractions in the country. But archaeological discoveries—or lack thereof—can become contentious. Explore the problems stemming from excavating near holy sites and investigate how recent excavations in Jerusalem and throughout Israel shed light on the biblical kingdom of David and Solomon.

Did the Exodus Really Happen?
The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is one of the most contested narratives of the Bible. For a century, scholarship has endeavored to show that there is no evidence for this event in Egyptian historical texts or in the archaeology of Egypt or Canaan. This first of two talks refutes this view by showing that the core of the Exodus narrative reflects accurate history.

From Egypt to Israel (Location, Location, Location!)
Continue to explore the historicity of the Exodus narrative by reexamining issues either dismissed or neglected by modern scholarship. These include whether the “mixed multitude” of Hebrews actually exited Egypt as described in the Bible, Pharaoh Merneptah’s relationship to the peoples who lived in Canaan, and the origins and identity of the one God that the Israelites started to worship.

Was King Ahab really so bad? The 9th Century in History and Archaeology
Discover whether archaeological materials and non-biblical inscriptions from the ninth century B.C.E. confirm the biblical narrative or tell a different story. Look at three ninth-century inscriptions—the Kurkh Stele, the Mesha Stele, and the Tel Dan Stele. Compare the history they describe to the biblical accounts of the reigns of kings Omri and Ahab and to the archaeology of ninth-century Israel.

Women in the Biblical World
Learn about women’s pivotal role in ancient times by looking at the biblical texts and archaeological evidence of the Israelite household. Despite limitations placed on women in biblical narratives and laws, their participation in communal life helped shape Israelite and Judahite society.

Between Israel and Mesopotamia: Archaeology, Art and Myth
Discuss the similarities and differences between ancient Mesopotamia and the biblical world of ancient Israel, drawing on the story of Noah and other flood accounts. After 200 years of scholarship, learn why biblical Israel can take its rightful place of importance within the ancient Near East.

Where’d That Artifact Come From?
Uncover how museums acquire their artifacts and the impact of repatriating them. Perhaps the best-known repatriation request is Greece’s petition for the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles (sometimes called the Elgin Marbles). Learn about five significant artifacts, which have not been repatriated, but which might be in the future.