Why study the ancient Israelites?
The story of ancient Israel unfolded on the fringes of the larger and more powerful civilizations of the ancient Near East— Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome. Because the Israelites interacted with the other peoples of the region, often living under their control, studying them offers rich insights into the cultural milieu of the ancient Near East and how a people adapts to changing circumstances.
How do we know about the ancient Israelites?
Our knowledge of the ancient Israelites comes from several sources—biblical texts, ancient writings and inscriptions, and archaeological discoveries. This website focuses on the information gleaned from archaeological discoveries, but is supplemented with information from other sources. The emphasis is on the Iron Age (1200 BCE–586 BCE), the Persian through early Roman periods (515 BCE–70 CE), and the Roman-Byzantine periods (after 70 CE).