About Robert Cargill

Robert Cargill

Dr. Robert R. Cargill teaches classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa and American Mensa. He was Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review (biblicalarchaeology.org) 2018-2021—an internationally acclaimed magazine that unearths the archaeological world of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. A Biblical studies scholar and Classicist, Dr. Cargill is also an archaeologist, author, and digital humanist. His latest book is The Cities that Built the Bible (HarperOne, 2016), and he has also authored a 3D, virtual reality reconstruction of the archaeological remains of Qumran, near to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, entitled Qumran through (Real) Time (Gorgias Press, 2009). Dr. Cargill’s work focuses on Second Temple Jewish literature and archaeology from the Persian period to the rise of early Christianity. His research includes the study of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, literary criticism of the Bible and the Pseudepigrapha, and the ancient Near East. He has hosted documentaries and television shows and appeared on ABC, CNN, Discovery, History, and Nat Geo. He is well known for his widely-read blog (robertcargill.com). Dr. Cargill also belongs to the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and American Mensa.

Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
Actual Fake News: Archaeology in the Public Media

It seems almost daily we are inundated with sensational claims pertaining to archaeology and ancient history, only a handful of which actually turn out to be true. These claims aren’t just made on blogs and obscure “news” sites; many of them reach the headlines of reputable news sources. But how is one to know which ones are real and which ones are fake? In this lecture, Dr. Robert Cargill explains why different people make bogus archaeological claims, why news organizations publish them, and how to tell which ones are authentic, scholarly claims.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIX, November 18 – 20, 2016
CNN’s Finding Jesus – Season 2: A Preview of the Issues

In the Spring of 2017, CNN will air Season 2 of its hit series Finding Jesus. Several well-known archaeologists and Biblical scholars— including many Bible and Archaeology Fest presenters—consulted on and appear in the series. In this talk, University of Iowa professor of Classics and Religious Studies, Robert Cargill, discusses his involvement in the series, and gives us a preview of the episodes on Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, and the birthplace and childhood home of Jesus, and discusses some of the issues that will be raised in each episode.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVII, November 21 – 23, 2014
A Deluge of Flood Stories: Flood Mythology, the Bible, and Aronofsky’s Noah

This presentation examines the origins of the biblical flood story, the character of Noah, and the legends of the Nephilim and giants passed down through Jewish literary tradition. The presentation compares these to Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 film Noah, highlighting points of congruence and departure in the film adaptation.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22 – 24, 2013
The Preliminary Results from the First Two Seasons at Tel Azekah

This presentation discusses the preliminary results from the first two seasons of the new excavations at Tel Azekah, located in the Elah Valley in the Shephelah, west of Jerusalem. The presentation highlights the University of Iowa’s 3D, virtual reality reconstruction of Tel Azekah, offering an overview of the region, the tel as well as the excavated areas, and examines the benefit of digitally modeling archaeological finds as they are excavated.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18-20, 2011
No, No You Didn’t Find That: The Importance of Scholarly Refutation in An Era of Social Media

This lecture examines several false, sensational archaeological claims related to the Bible made by amateurs and the media over the past few years and refutes them. The lecture then argues why scholars must engage in organized, public refutation of sensational Biblical archaeological claims, and how a knowledge of and presence within popular social media outlets like Facebook and blogs can help curtail the sensationalism that continues to plague the field of Biblical archaeology.