Archaeological evidence verifying biblical cities

by Matt Slick

There is very little doubt in anyone's mind about the reality of so many of the Old and New Testament cities mentioned in the Bible.  Therefore, it is hardly necessary to document their existence.  Nevertheless, following is a partial list of some of the cities mentioned in the Bible that have been found and excavated by archaeologists.  This is simply more evidence for the Bible because it describes actual locations that can be verified.  This means that at the very least the Bible accurately reflects the locations and cities of ancient times.

Remember, this is only a partial list.  There are hundreds of biblical cities that have been verified in archaeological digs.

  1. Arad
    1. Num. 21:1, "When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, then he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive."
    2. Num. 33:40, "Now the Canaanite, the king of Arad who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the sons of Israel."
      1. "Arad 30 km NE of Beersheba, excavated from 1962 to 1974 by Y. Aharoni and R. B. K. Amiran." (The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1962).
      2. "The site consists of an upper mound or acropolis, where excavation has revealed an Iron Age (post thirteenth century b.c." (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc,). 1985.
      3. The remains of a Hebrew temple were uncovered at Arad, (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 45-46).
  2. Bethel
    1. Amos 7:12-13, "Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah, and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 "But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence."
      1. "W. F. Albright made a trial excavation at Bethel in 1927.  Albright then mounted a full excavation in 1934.  His assistant that year, J. L. Kelso, continued the excavation in 1954, 1957, and 1960." (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  3. Capernaum
    1. Matt. 17:24, "And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?"
      1. "Identified since 1856 with Tell Hum, Capernaum has been sporadically excavated for the past 130 years." (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  4. Chorazin
    1. Matt. 11:21, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!  For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
      1. "Excavations of the now deserted town indicate that it once covered an area of twelve acres and was built on a series of terraces with the basalt stone local to this mountainous region."  (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  5. Dan
    1. Judges 18:29, "And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish."
      1. "The excavation of Dan began in 1966 under the direction of Avraham Biran." (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 42)
      2. "Formerly called Laish, it is mentioned in the execration texts, the eighteenth-century B.C. Mari tablets, and the records of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III.  It is identified with Tel Dan (modern Tell el-Qadi) covering about 50 acres in the center of a fertile valley near one of the principal springs feeding the Jordan River . . . Tel Dan has been excavated by A. Biran since 1966.  The earliest occupation, probably the full extent of the tell, goes back to about the middle of the third millennium B.C." (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary; San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  6. Ephesus
    1. Eph. 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus."
      1. "Austrian archaeologists in this century [20th] have excavated the 24,000-seat theater and the commercial agora, as well as many other public buildings and streets of the first and second centuries A.D., so that the modern visitor can gain some impression of the city as known by Paul. (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  7. Gaza
    1. Acts 8:26, "But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza."
      1. Gaza was excavated by W. J. Phythian-Adams in 1922.  (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  8. Gezer
    1. Joshua 16:10, "But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer . . . "
      1. R.A.S. MacAlister "directed the Palestine Exploration Fund for many years and conducted extensive excavations at Gezer (1902-1909). (Douglas, J. D., Comfort, Philip W. & Mitchell, Donald, Editors, Who's Who in Christian History, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1992).
  9. Hazor
    1. Joshua 11:1, "Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph."
    2. Jer. 49:28, "Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated.  Thus says the Lord, "Arise, go up to Kedar and devastate the men of the east."
      1. "This large Canaanite and Israelite city in upper Galilee was excavated under Yigael Yadin's direction from 1955 to 1958 and from 1968 to 1970." (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 40).
  10. Hesbon
    1. Josh. 12:2, "Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon . . . "
      1. Excavations were undertaken by Andrews University from 1968 to 1976. (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  11. Jericho
    1. Num. 22:1, "Then the sons of Israel journeyed, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho."
      1. "Jericho was the oldest inhabited and fortified city ever excavated." (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 37)
      2. "The city of OT times is represented today by a mound 70 feet high and 10 acres in area . . . The ancient city was excavated by C. Warren (1867), E. Sellin and C. Watzinger (1907-09), J. Garstang (1930-36), and K. Kenyon (1952-58)." (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary; San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
      3. "The first scientific excavation there (1907-9) was by Sellin and Watzinger (Jericho, 1913)." (The New Bible Dictionary; Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1962).
  12. Joppa
    1. Acts 9:38,"And since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, entreating him, "Do not delay to come to us."
      1. "During excavations of the site of ancient Joppa a thirteenth-century B.C. citadel gate was uncovered . . . " (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985).
  13. Nineveh
    1. 2 Kings 19:36, "So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh."
    2. Jonah 1:1-2, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,  "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."
      1. Excavated in from 1845 to 1857 by Austen H. Layard. (Douglas, J. D., Comfort, Philip W. & Mitchell, Donald, Editors, Who's Who in Christian History, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1992).
  14. Shechem
    1. Gen. 12:6, "And Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.  Now the Canaanite was then in the land."
    2. Gen. 33:18, "Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city."
      1. "Excavations were carried out at Shechem, first by Austrian-German expeditions in 1913 and 1914, and again from 1926 to 1934, under several directors, and then by an American expedition from 1956 to 1972 . . . Excavation of the sacred area revealed a courtyard sanctuary and a later fortress temple dedicated to El-berith "the god of the covenant."  This temple, which was destroyed by Abimelech, the son of the judge Gideon (Judges 9) has provided us with a date of the Judges period." (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 40)
      2. Most recently a structure identified as an Israelite altar has been excavated on the northeastern slope of Mt. Ebal.  Dating to the 13th to 12th centuries B.C., considered to be the time of Joshua, the altar suggest the possibility that it may be the altar built by Joshua and described in Deuteronomy 27, 28."  (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 40)
  15. Susa
    1. Neh. 1:1, "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.  Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,

    2. Esther 1:1-2, "Now it took place in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, 2 in those days as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne which was in Susa the capital,

      1. Excavations were conducted by Marcel Dieulafoy from 1884 to 1886 (Douglas, J. D., Comfort, Philip W. & Mitchell, Donald, Editors, Who's Who in Christian History, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1992).

 

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