Guest / Limited Access /

The late Ron Wyatt, a self-styled amateur archaeologist, claimed to have found Noah's Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, and the original stones of the Ten Commandments. Indiana Jones should have been so lucky. However, none of Wyatt's discoveries were ever independently verified.

A number of explorers have laid claim to discovering Noah's Ark, usually on or near Mount Ararat in Turkey. But each always finds something different. Obviously, logic dictates that they can't all be right—and most must be wrong. Churches and Christian conferences have hosted speakers who tell fantastic tales—in fact, too fantastic. Time after time we have realized that their discoveries have as much historical value as The Da Vinci Code. As much as we would like to believe them, their claims remain speculative and unproven.

Meanwhile, trained archaeologists who haven't harnessed themselves to a publicity machine get ignored because real archaeology can be tedious. Like real life. Yet more importantly, the work these archaeologists do helps us better understand the Bible and the biblical world.

Archaeology in search of a headline, or even archaeology that's too eager to "prove the Bible," is prone to sensationalism and error. It's too much like the treasure hunting that characterized 19th-century explorers who lacked the tools of modern science and relied on observation and supposition.

Since then we've benefited from over a century's worth of scientific innovation in archaeology. The most important development was a chronology keyed to the changing styles of pottery production. Later came tools such as stratigraphic analysis, radiocarbon dating, and ground-penetrating radar.

Better tools have led to more accurate archaeology, but also to the realization ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
TrendingMeet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations.
Editor's PickThe Hidden Blessing of Infertility
The Hidden Blessing of Infertility
Our inability to have kids turned into an ability to do so much else.
Comments
Christianity Today
Finders of the Lost Ark?
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.