Digging the Bible

David Plotz, the Slate author who blogged the books of the Hebrew Bible last year is now digging the Bible–he is reporting his experiences at various archeological sites in the Holy Land. Here is a sample from his first post:

So, it’s not exactly the Ark of the Covenant. In fact, it’s not exactly much of anything—just a dirty shard of pottery the size of my big toe. But I found it. I had been scraping the floor of this Israeli cave when I spotted its sharp edge. I fished the piece out of the dirt and pushed on it, as instructed, to see if it crumbled. If it did, it was probably just the local limestone, which is as soft as a bar of soap. But my piece firmly resisted, so I brushed off the dirt until I could see smooth pottery, one side black, the other brick red. I’m the raider of the lost pot.

. . .

I’ve spent much of the last year blogging the Bible for Slate, writing about reading the Good Book for the first time. Now I’ve come to Israel to see the Bible, to dig it. I’ve read the stories. Now I want to see where they happened and to learn if they happened—to experience the Bible through archaeology, history, politics, and faith.

That’s why I’m spending the day with Ian Stern. An American-born Israeli in his early 50s, Ian operates Dig for a Day, probably the biggest archaeology outreach program in the world. Every year, Stern’s dig here at Maresha is visited by 30,000 to 50,000 tourists—most of them American Jews. They do spadework for Stern’s academic research, get a hands-on crash course in archaeology, and experience their own history by digging in the dirt.

You can start with the entire series by reading the first entry here.

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