Faulkner University Announces Archaeological Exhibit

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Dr. Scott Gleaves and Faries Austin unpack items from the upcoming exhibit.

Faulkner University’s Kearley Graduate School of Theology in Montgomery recently announced the opening of a new exhibit, “Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site.” The exhibit features over 60 artifacts from the excavation of Ai,  including lamps, a chariot axle, storage pots, a mortar and pestle, sling stones, coins and many other items of historical significance.

The items will be displayed through December in the F. Furman Kearley Library. The grand opening of the exhibit will be during university’s annual Faulkner Lectures,Feb. 28 – March 3. The artifacts were previously on display at the Museum Center at 5ive Points in Cleveland, Tenn.

After the fall of Jericho, Joshua and the Israelites moved against the fortress of Ai. Though defeated in the initial attack, Joshua devised a strategy which led to the conquest of Ai. At Khirbet el-Maqatir, archaeologists have discovered the probable remains of Ai, according to Dr. Randall Bailey,  professor of Bible and the director of the Kearley Graduate School of Theology.

“[These are significant findings], historically and biblically. They confirm the time period specified in the Bible and aid us in identification of the biblical site Ai, which has been difficult to identify,” Bailey said. “The numerous years of archaeological work have been a great aid in that.”

Khirbet (which means “ruins of”) el- Maqatir is strategically located in the highlands of Canaan, north of Jerusalem, on the south bank of the Wadi el-Gayeh. It lies on the east side of the main north-south ridge road through the central hill country, running from Jerusalem to Bethel (modern El Bireh) west of the site and on to Shechem to the north. A major east-west road proceeded from Rabbah in Transjordan, past the north side of Khirbet el-Maqatir, on to Bethel, and then to Joppa on the Mediterranean coast. It is situated on an eroded natural limestone hill whose summit is 2920 feet above sea level. Bedrock is exposed in many places with the remaining soil less than 3.3 feet deep in most cases, except for the portion of the fortress (approximately 25 percent) that is underneath the Late Hellenistic/Early Roman village from the first century B.C. and first century A.D.

The exhibit will open to the public at the end of February.

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