'This is Not Mythology': Archaeologists Dig Up the Bible at Ancient City of Shiloh
- You're looking at theheart of biblical Israel,
along the route known asthe Way of the Patriarchs.
This is ancient Shiloh, theplace where the Bible says
Joshua divided the promisedland between the 12 tribes,
and where the tabernacle of the Lord stood
for more than 300 years.
- Welcome to ancient Shiloh.
This is the first capitalof ancient Israel,
and it's a sacred spotbecause the mishkan was here,
the tabernacle, where peoplecame to connect with God.
- [Chris] Scott Striplingdirects the excavation here,
and along with dozens of volunteers,
they're digging into history.
- We're dealing with realpeople, real places, real events.
This is not mythology.
The coins that we excavated today,
we're talking aboutcoins of Herod the Great,
Pontius Pilate, Festus,Felix, Agrippa the First,
Agrippa the Second, the Bibletalks about these people.
We've got the image right there.
- [Chris] That imageincludes a fortified wall
built by the Canaanites.
They're finding a treasuretrove of artifacts,
including coins and 2,000pieces of pottery a day.
- Now, this one was from yesterday.
It's been washed already,so you see the same form
right out of the ground and yesterday,
and these are those handlesfrom the stone vessels.
Remember, Jesus' first miracle at Cana,
there were stone jars full of water.
That's that ritual purityculture of the first century.
- [Chris] An archeologistlooks at these shards
as a fine timepiece.
- Just like your greatgrandmother's pottery
is different from your potterythat you're using today,
and once we learn thepottery, then we can use it
as our primary means of dating.
- [Chris] Stripling saysliterally digging into the Bible
can change your life.
- You can read the Bible,you can walk the Bible,
but the ultimate is to dig the Bible.
You know, when we actuallyget into the soil,
like these students from Lee University,
they're literally, it'sunder their fingernails
and in their nose andtheir mouth and their ears,
and they're exposing this ancient culture.
It becomes one with you.
It's sort of like we came out of the soil,
and as we dig into the soil,
we connect with God andwith each other, I think,
in a very important way.
- I love getting my hands dirty.
I love digging in the dirt.
It's my favorite thing.
- [Chris] People fromall ages man the dig,
with the main drivers beingstudents like Abigail.
- It's tiring and exhausting,but it's really rewarding.
It's exciting to find ancient things,
things that have been laying in the dirt,
just waiting for usfor thousands of years.
- [Chris] She says the Biblecomes alive in the dirt.
- I read the Bible totallydifferently than I did
before I came here, andwhen I read the Bible,
I know the places, I know what's going on,
I understand it more deeply,
especially where previousarcheologists have claimed that
the archeology disproves the Bible,
but when we dig here, wefind that everything matches.
You read it in the Bible,you dig in the dirt,
and there it is.
- Archeology doesn't set outto prove or disprove the Bible.
What we wanna do is toeliminate the biblical text,
the background of the text,
so to set it in a real-world culture,
to what we call verisimilitude,
so we get an ancient literary description.
Now we have a materialculture that matches that.
Chris, you're sitting whereSamuel and Eli and Hannah,
these people that we have read about,
they came just like us, needing answers,
needing to connect withGod, needing forgiveness.
- [Chris] He says they dig into the past
and find lessons for the present.
- One of the faith lessons for us
is that God is the potterand we're the clay,
and even if our lives arebroken like these vessels are,
God told Jeremiah, afterhe told him to go to Shiloh
and see what he had done,
He told him to go to the potter's house
and look at a flawed vessel
and see how the potterputs it back on the wheel
and works out the imperfections,so my faith lesson is this,
that, yes, we're imperfect,but if we'll allow God,
He wants to put us on his potter's wheel
and he wants to make us a vessel of honor.
- [Chris] Stripling often cites Psalm 102,
that says O Zion, yourservants take delight
in its stones and favor its dust.
- Ultimately, Chris, if the Bible is true,
the the God of the Bible hasa moral claim on our lives,
and as we establish theveracity of the biblical text,
I hope that every watchingwill just think about that,
that God loves us and he hasa moral claim on our lives.
- [Chris] Chris Mitchell, CBN News,
Shiloh, biblical Sumeria.