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Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible

A Basic Guide

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An introduction to archaeology and the methods archaeologists use to reconstruct the history of ancient Israel.

Many people today are familiar with archaeolognical undertakings in the land of the Bible and the fascinating objects that have been discovered. However, the process of archaeology is generally not well understood. How do excavators know where to dig? How do they identify what they've found? John Currid provides many answers in this basic guide to Palestinian archaeology.

Currid, a field archaeologist and Old Testament scholar, surveys the history of archaeological work in the Holy Land and the development of excavation methodology. He highlights pioneering individuals and their contributions, and explains the purposes of topographical survey, site identification, digging techniques, and find analysis. Utilizing the book's practical outline of archaeological investigation, the final chapter describes the site identification, history of excavation, and finds at et-Tell (Bethsaida).

Complete with color photographs, line drawings, and sidebars, Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible offers a concise introduction to Palestinian archaeology useful for college classes, study groups, and excavation teams.


"Currid's volume is a useful introduction to archaeology--its history, vocabulary, and methods--for the beginner. The systematic unveiling of these themes provides a 'stratigraphy' for study that many students and lay persons will find fascinating. In addition, the short bibliographies add substance to the work, allowing readers to take the additional step of further study. Such aids to first-time student excavators have often taken the form of xeroxed handouts. Currid has provided them with an easy reference work that they can read on the plane to Israel and pull out during the excavation to explain what is happening around them."--Victor H. Matthews, Southwest Missouri State University

"At last, a book on the basics of Palestinian archaeology! John Currid's much-needed text fills a significant gap in the currently available literature in the field. Archaeology in the Land of the Bible is an excellent introduction that will be of great assistance to the beginning student as well as to the interested layperson."--Bryant G. Wood, Associates for Biblical Research

"Professor Currid has written an excellent manual for the history and practice of archaeological excavation in the Middle East, systematically outlined with considerable bibliographical documentation. I recommend the work as supplementary reading for courses requiring a knowledge of the history and methodology of ancient Near Eastern archaeology. I plan to use it as a supplementary text in my classes, both on the introductory and advanced levels."--John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School

"In this brief study, Currid sketches the birth and development of archaeological method and answers many of the basic questions having to do with field work. The book should be a 'must read' for anyone interested in volunteering to participate on a dig in Palestine. The bibliographies concluding each chapter will greatly help the reader who wishes to know more."--Alfred J. Hoerth

The Author

  1. John D. Currid

    John D. Currid

    John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations and is author of several books and commentaries.

    Continue reading about John D. Currid


"Currid's basic points are well illustrated with specific examples. The text is very clear and readable. Key definitions are clearly highlighted. . . . It would be most useful as the textbook for a unit on archaeology in a Bible survey course, as a basic introduction for people going on an archaeological excavation for the first time, or for anyone interested in learning the basics about biblical archaeology."--John F. Brug, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly

"John Currid has written an excellent little book that describes the key philosophy, methods, and uses of archaeology in the land of Israel. Much of what Dr. Currid says relates more broadly to archaeology in general, especially in the ancient Near East."--Sharing the Practice