by Gary Byers MA

EXCERPT As a pastor in Frederick, Maryland for almost two decades, I visited thousands of homes in the community. In order to earn the right to share my message with those in each house, I soon learned the importance of being able to make a connection with them. One of the ways I learned to do that was to pay attention to the things that were visibIe in their home and attempt to find common ground about it. Redskins gear was an easy connection for me, Dallas Cowboy stuff was not!

I got pretty good at this, even to the point where I could understand quite a bit about these people by what I saw.  I also began to see how I could apply this same concept in my Biblical studies, too.  In order to understand and explain people of the Biblical world better, I got interested in archaeology and what was found in the houses of ancient people.  In fact, my master’s thesis focused on this very subject – “Domestic Architecture in Iron Age I Palestine” (the time of the Judges).

Tall el-Hammam, Jordan

For 7 seasons, it has been my privilege to participate in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River Valley.  Working on both the site’s upper and lower tells, we have excavating numerous buildings from different periods of the Old Testament.

Trench 28 on the Lower City at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan

We have discovered many fascinating public structures, including palaces, a temple, stone and mudbrick city walls and gates.  Yet there have also been a number of houses from both the Iron Age (around the time of King Hezekiah in Judah) and Bronze Age cities (the period of the book of Genesis).

Tall el-Hammam 2009

While I have spent much of my academic life researching and writing about ancient houses, I had not personally spent much time actually excavating one until 2009 at Tall el-Hammam (TeH).  That season, in Trench 28 on the site’s Lower City, we excavated both Early and Middle Bronze city walls and a residential quarter built inside them….

 

 

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