About Steven Ortiz

Steven Ortiz

Steven Ortiz is the director of the newly established Lanier Center for Archaeology at Lipscomb University where he is also a professor of archaeology and biblical studies. He was the director of the former Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he was instrumental in establishing a new academic program in Archaeology and Biblical Studies where Southwestern currently has over 40 MA and PhD students in archaeology. He is the principal investigator of the Tel Gezer Excavation Project and is the co-director at Tel Burna (Biblical Libnah). He received his doctorate from the University of Arizona. He received an MA in near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Arizona, an MA in Bible History from Jerusalem University College, and a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles. He has over 35 years of archaeological experience in Israel. He has been a senior staff member at Tel Zeitah, Ekron, Jerusalem-Ketef Hinnom, Tell el-Hamma, and Lachish. He is co-author (with Sy Gitin and Trude Dothan) of the forthcoming excavation report in the Tel Miqne-Ekron Series, Excavations 1994-1996, Fields IVNE/NW and VSE/SW: The Iron Age II, Late Philistine Temple Complex. Ortiz’s research and publications focus on the archaeology of David and Solomon, Iron Age I and II transition, and the border relations between Judah and Philistia. He has served or currently holds leadership positions in several scholarly and academic associations. Dr. Ortiz was recently the Ernest S. Frerichs Annual Professor at the Albright Institute. He grew up in East Los Angeles and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. He is married to Beth, and has two children: Rebecca and Nathaniel.

Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXVI, November 17 – 19, 2023
Searching for Solomon’s City: Recent Excavations at Tel Gezer

This will be an illustrated lecture on the recent excavations and discoveries at Tel Gezer. Tel Gezer has been at the heart of the archaeology of Solomon. Debates concerning the nature of the Israelite Monarchy have become invigorated due to recent archaeological discoveries and proposals. Tel Gezer is located on the border between the Israelites and Philistines. It is strategically located at an important crossroad guarding the pass from the coast up to Jerusalem. The ancient city is mentioned in several Egyptian and Assyrian texts. Gezer is mentioned in the biblical account of Solomon’s fortifications (1 Kings 9:15). It was continuously occupied from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period. Although previous excavations have revealed much of Gezer’s history, there are still many questions left unanswered. A new team has been excavating the site for a decade (2006 to 2017). This lecture will present the latest discoveries at this biblical city: focusing on the transition from a Canaanite City to an administrative center.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XXIII, October 24 – 25, 2020
The Political Expansion of the United Monarchy based on Recent Archaeological Research

This presentation will coalesce recent archaeological research in the south with a re-reading of the biblical text to demonstrate that the northern Shephelah was a key region in the expansion of Judah toward the coastal plain during the Iron Age IIA (e.g. 10th century BCE). There will be a focus on the recent excavations of Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Gezer, as well as recent research trends in the transition between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age I. This paper will review debates regarding state development and the rise of Judah, recent trends in the Late Bronze Age-Iron Age I transition, and archaeological research in the Shephelah. Concurrent with these discussions will be an overview of the Philistine expansion and the Canaanite Enclave Theory. It will be shown that several biblical accounts (e.g. David and Goliath, Battle at Baal-Perazim, and Solomon’s fortifications) reflect a planned westward expansion as recent excavations in the archaeological record are demonstrating.