The Holy Land sits on thousands of years worth of human history. The stories hidden under Israel’s soil are not only important to anthropologists and historians, but also to the religious faithful of several religions. On any given day of the year, dozens of archaeological digs are carefully uncovering the physical remnants of ancient civilizations. While any one discovery might have great historical, religious, or political significance, we keep a look out for those discoveries that add insight to the Biblical text. Here are a few of some interesting recent finds:

Ancient Beekeeping

God told Moses in Exodus 3:8 that He would free the Israelites from Egypt and take them into a land "flowing with milk and honey." While many think this refers to honey made from dates and figs, ancient beehives found in northern Israel demonstrate that honeybees were cultivated there 3,000 years ago. The hives, made of straw and unbaked clay, were lined up in orderly rows in what must have been a serious honey production plant in the middle of the thriving city of Rehov. As many as 100 hives might have fit in the room. The hives had a hole in the front through which the bees entered and left, and a door in the back through which bee tenders could collect wax and honey.

Another find next to the beehives – an altar decorated with fertility figures – also speaks volumes about Israel’s constant battle against idol-worship and the Canaanite fertility religions. While the Israelites might have taken over the land flowing with milk and honey, they also adopted many of the Canaanites’ religious practices (for which they were repeatedly judged).

King Herod’s Quarry

After the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites returned and rebuilt the holy Temple in Jerusalem since it had been destroyed in 586 B.C.. Several hundred years later, King Herod (the same King Herod who tried to murder the infant Jesus) renovated and expanded the Second Temple.

Archaeologists have recently discovered a massive quarry, which they believe is the source of the massive stones on the Temple Mount. Coins and pottery found at the site date the quarry to the time of Herod, and the quarry is located just 2 1/2 miles northwest of the Old City. A number of quarries have been found in the area, but this is the first to be considered the source for the construction of the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall. From it were cut beautiful white 5-7 ton stones resembling marble – stones strong enough to support the Temple Mount for thousands of years.

X-Raying The Dead Sea Scrolls

Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are too delicate to unroll and study, which until recently has kept researchers from reading all of their contents. The scrolls contain texts from the Bible as well as information on the way of life of the Essene community that lived in the area from about the Second Century B.C. to the First Century A.D.

Through the use of powerful x-rays and digital technology, however, the secrets of the fragile scrolls may soon be exposed. Because the ink used in the scrolls contained iron, the words can be detected using an x-ray technology that – while about 100 billion times brighter – is similar to the x-ray technology used to detect our bones. By taking x-rays of the parchments from several angles and feeding the information into a computer, the computer can analyze the jumbled material from the x-rays and piece the words together into readable text. The technique has been successfully used to translate some Scottish texts, and scientists hope that soon the technology will be used to reveal the contents of the final Dead Sea Scrolls.

While archaeologists love to put together puzzles from the ancient world using bits of clay and rock and art found in the dust, we know that there is a more reliable way to know the history of the Holy Land. Scribes for thousands of years painstakingly made copies of the history of the land of Israel, and the prophecies and works of the God of Israel. It is that God whose Son lives in our hearts, and continues to make an impact on our lives today because He rose again from the place where he was buried – after just 3 days, and not 3000 years.

Related Links: • Archaeologists Discover Ancient Beehives in Israel – AP
 • Israeli Archaeologist May Have Found Tomb of King Herod – AP
 • Archeologists Find 2nd Temple Quarry – The Jerusalem Post
 • Super X-rays Could Unravel Dead Sea Scrolls – Breaking News