The Search for Joshua's Ai: The Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir 2012

Date: 5/26/2012-6/9/2012 
Time: All Day
Location: Israel

Is the Bible in error about the city of Ai, recorded in Joshua 7-8?

The location of Joshua's Ai has been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Palestine. Most archaeologists locate Joshua's Ai at et-Tell, .6 miles east of our site. At et-Tell, there is no indication of occupation at the time of Joshua.. This has led scholars to reject the historicity of the account of the capture of Ai, the Conquest in general, the Exodus by implication, and ultimately, the Gospel of God's Son.

Here is what some of the skeptics and liberals have said about the Biblical account in Joshua 7-8:

"Ai is simply an embarrassment to every view of the conquest that takes the biblical and archaeological evidence seriously."

"This evidence shows that the narrative in Joshua is not to be taken literally."

"Archaeology has wiped out the historical credibility of the conquest of Ai as reported in Joshua 7-8."

"There is no evidence of a... Canaanite city at this spot or at any other site in the region. This constitutes unequivocal archaeological evidence for the lack of correlation between the story in Joshua 8, with all its topographic details, and a historical reality corresponding to the period of the conquest."

"The narratives of the capture of Jericho and Ai... are devoid of historical reality."

"This lack of any Late Bronze Canaanite city... in the vicinity contradicts the narrative in Joshua 8 and shows that it was not based on historical reality."

"In short, the evidence shows that there was no city at Ai for the Israelites to conquer."

To answer and refute these criticisms and find the true site where these Biblical events took place would be very significant, having far-reaching implications for a correct understanding of the early history of Israel. It would also provide an excellent tool for the Christian apologist to defend the Biblical account against these erroneous and prejudicial attacks. This project is also certain to edify our Christian brethren who are struggling with doubts about the veracity and inerrancy of Scripture.

Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir began in 1995. Thus far, the city gate and wall system have been revealed, along with large amounts of pottery from the time of Joshua, evidence for fire, and a Byzantine monastery. In 2010, we continued to excavate these and other features as we uncover the plan of this 15th century BC Canaanite fortress.

This research and excavation is being conducted under the direction of ABR Director of Research, Bryant G. Wood, Ph.D. University of Toronto. Topography, fortifications, and pottery finds all strongly suggest that Khirbet el-Maqatir is the Ai of Joshua 7-8.

This is an enormously important apologetic project that is critical in defending the historical reliability of the Bible in this age of rampant skepticism. The staff, board and volunteers af ABR would be very excited to have you join us in this extremely important and historically significant archaeological project.

Join us in Israel and become a part of Biblical history!

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