Fishes mosaic found in Lod
Early Christian symbols found in 1,700-year-old house with mosaics in Lod Reuters

Top Biblical Archaeology Stories of 2018

Who exactly did ancient Jews really worship, and what did Jesus really look like? Find out in the top Haaretz biblical and Christian archaeology stories of 2018



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.

Nelson Glueck / School of Biblical Archaeology

>> Read more: Editor's Picks: Archaeological Wonders of 2018

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!

Israelites in Biblical Dan Worshipped Idols – and Yahweh Too

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.

Universal History Archive / REX

Archaeologists Seek Signs of Joshua's Conquest in Last Unexplored Biblical City

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.

How Mice May Have Saved Jerusalem 2,700 Years Ago

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?

Jewish God Yahweh Originated in Canaanite Vulcan, Says New Theory

Fire and brimstone. Say no more.

Is This Where the Israelites Camped on Their Way to Canaan 3,200 Years Ago?

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.

Huge if True: The Archaeological Case for Goliath

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

'Suddenly I Saw Eyes': Jesus’ Face Discovered in Ancient Israeli Desert Church

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.

Holy Land Byzantines Predated Jeff Sessions' Abuse of Apostle Paul's Epistle by 1,500 Years

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

Tomb of Unknown Saint Found in Israel

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

Vikings see lava, and the light

Fire and brimstone, plus lava. Evidently the pagan gods were out to lunch and for the terrified Vikings, more help was in order.

Byzantine Secret of Surviving in the Negev: Midget Pigeons

Not big pigeons, mark you – those were eaten.

Israeli Gardener Born on Christmas Day Finds 700-year-old Ring With Image of St. Nicholas

Naturally, he did what anybody would do after making a rare archaeological discovery: he uploaded a picture of it to Facebook.

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