Biblical archaeology, once dedicated mainly to validating scripture, has taken a more fact-driven form, though sometimes archaeologists tap writings of faith to explain finds, such as in the case of the putative Bethsaida.
But sometimes the finds indicate just how much of what we assumed we got wrong, like when we learned about the rise of female deacons at a major basilica in Ashkelon.
Among the most intriguing discoveries in Christian archaeology in Israel in 2021, we find:
A family built a home 1,500 years ago, repurposing an extraordinary dedication stone, which read: to “Christ born of Mary” from the “miserable Thomas.” And this was found how? When building a road, of course.
This is not just a Byzantine wine factory. This was the Byzantine wine factory.
Mais oui, the Byzantine Church may not have been as male-dominated as is assumed.
Jerusalem is all the rage and has been for centuries, millennia, but the fact is, the Byzantines were in greater Tel Aviv as well, not that anybody had looked there before.
Moving on to the Middle Ages, we know there were Crusades devoted to the recapture of the Holy Land from the Muslims. Yet not one Crusader army camp had ever been found – and then at one key spot, an Israeli researcher noticed an odd abundance of horseshoe nails.
And it came to pass that the Mamluks rained down ballista balls on the Crusader castle with a view of the Mediterranean Sea at Arsuf, and one of them had a message on board.
A sword found a couple of hundred meters off the Israeli coast didn’t swim there on its own, and the Muslims didn’t sail to the Holy Land.
And when the story is done, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will arrive, thundering on their divine steeds over the hills – presumably in the Galilee – and maybe at this spot. Unless Israel destroys it first.