The year 2018 was an extraordinarily rich one for biblical archaeology, in both the Jewish and Christian worlds, and for pagans too. More evidence was found in support of the veracity of at least some biblical narratives, such as Joshua's conquest; and at the other end of the rainbow, some pretensions were pricked, for instance that the ancient Israelites scorned the idolatrous likes of golden calves.
Even mice get their moment in the sun, with the new theory that these tiny rodents were the ones who defeated the terrifying Assyrian emperor Sennacherib, who rolled over the Levant, only to stop at Jerusalem, spare the wily King Hezekiah and vanish. The face is Jesus was very, very belatedly noticed on the ruins of an ancient church in the Negev and moving onto Iceland, as people do, the origins of Christianity are found in lava. Read on for some of the best archaeological discoveries of the year!
Israel is famously the place where the three great monotheist religions arose – but the truth about our forefathers is that they didn't seem to have scorned idol gods quite as assiduously as we might like to think.
Ground zero in the Galilee? Scrambling to save the last unexcavated biblical town from dirt bikers, archaeologists have found layers going back more than 4,000 years, since before Joshua's time – and hope to find destruction layers supporting the historicity of the biblical account.
The terrible forces of Assyria had surrounded Jerusalem and threatened to slaughter its people and kill the rebel king Hezekiah. Suddenly, they vanished. Could rodents have been responsible for Sennacherib sparing Jerusalem?
Fire and brimstone. Say no more.
There is no evidence whatsoever of the Exodus from Egypt, but possibly, archaeologists have identified where the ancient Israelites crossed from the barren desert into the fertile land of Canaan.
No, skeletons of giant people have not been found. That is a hoax. But the circumstantial evidence that Goliath may have been a man, not a myth, is compelling.
Christian archaeology in 2018
One of the earliest drawings of Jesus has been identified in the ruins of an ancient church in the Negev desert, and he doesn't look particularly Western.
All Paul meant is that early Christians living under pagan regimes should render unto Caesar rather than kick up a fuss and get killed, not that families should be rent asunder at the American border
Mysterious grave found at Hippos isn't marked and no "Saint of Sussita" is known of, but the stone tomb has all the hallmarks of adoration for a beatified person
Fire and brimstone, plus lava. Evidently the pagan gods were out to lunch and for the terrified Vikings, more help was in order.
Not big pigeons, mark you – those were eaten.
Naturally, he did what anybody would do after making a rare archaeological discovery: he uploaded a picture of it to Facebook.