10 Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology

ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Archaeology Gives Context

Biblical archaeology is a wide field offering modern readers fascinating insights into the everyday lives of people mentioned in the Bible. While archaeological findings don’t prove the truth of Scripture, they do have the potential to enrich our understanding and draw us into the world of the biblical writers—giving us a glimpse of the ancient world behind the living Word.

Here are the ten most significant discoveries in the field of biblical archaeology:

1.Rosetta Stone

In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt. He brought with him a scientific team of scholars and draftsmen to survey the monuments of the land. The most important find of the expedition was the Rosetta Stone. It proved to be valuable as the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The stone dated to the period of Ptolemy V (204–180 BC) and was inscribed in three scripts: demotic, Greek, and hieroglyphic. The Greek, well known to scholars at the time, proved to be a translation of the ancient Egyptian language on the stone. Translation of hieroglyphics marked the beginning of the study of ancient Egyptian texts and grammar and provided the basis for modern Egyptology studies.

2.Dead Sea Scrolls

In 1947, shepherds stumbled upon a cave in a rugged, arid area on the western side of the Dead Sea. What they discovered was soon proclaimed the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century. Over the next few years, other similar remote caves in the area were found. What did these caves contain? Over 800 fragmentary documents, mainly consisting of Hebrew writings on leather (with a few on parchment), including fragments of 190 biblical scrolls. Most of these are small, containing no more than one-tenth of a book; however, a complete Isaiah scroll has been found. Almost every OT book is present, and there are also other writings valued by the community that dwelt in those caves.

It appears the earliest scrolls date to the mid-third century BC, and most to the first or second centuries BC. Perhaps the greatest contribution of this find is to our understanding of the transmission of the biblical text. It is encouraging to note that the differences are minimal between the OT texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and various editions of the Hebrew texts produced a thousand years later and used today, involving the smallest textual details. The meaning of the text itself is not affected by these differences…

10 Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology