Shiloh Excavation

Shiloh Archaeological Excavations

Virginia Beach Theological Seminary participates in the annual archaeological excavations at ancient Shiloh, the place where the tabernacle rested. In any list of important biblical cities, Shiloh belongs near the top of the list.

In 2018, the excavation team unearthed a section of the old Canaanite wall that encircled the tell. The Israelites encountered this formidable wall during their conquest of the land. The wall stood 18 feet thick. Outside the wall, workers uncovered a glacis, a sloping defensive ramp that strengthened the fortification system. Inside the city, the crew excavated storerooms and domestic buildings filled with pottery, coins, glassware, weaponry, household implements, agricultural tools, and so forth. The archaeological discoveries provide a window into the material cultures of the Old and New Testaments.
Many research questions await an answer in future expeditions. On the basis of the archaeology, when did the Israelites first occupy the site: 1400 BC (Late Bronze Age) or the 13th century BC (Iron Age I)? What evidence will we find of religious activity during the Amorite period (Middle Bronze and Late Bronze Ages)? After the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, who destroyed Shiloh—the Philistines or someone else (cf. 1 Sam 4; Jer 26:9)? Future expeditions will enable us to better recreate the ancient living conditions and clarify the site’s chronology and stratigraphy. Ultimately, the findings will be published in a book.

Would you like to join the dig in the summer of 2021? Contact Dr. Mark Hassler, professor at VBTS and a member of the dig staff in the Shiloh excavations, at  to register. Learn more by visiting the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) website or Facebook page.

Words from Alumni

Daniel Steinman, VBTS student (ThM) and alumnus (MDiv, 2010)

"The Shiloh excavation experience was amazing because I was able to feel the soil and hold the artifacts while learning about archaeology at such an important biblical site. At the same time, it was a blessing to spend time with others who were eager to interact with me and share their knowledge from years of experience. Books simply cannot do that. I highly recommend this opportunity for those pursuing a degree as well as those looking for an adventure in the Holy Land."

Steven Andrews, VBTS alumnus (MBS, 2003)

“You can read all about the fantastic discoveries found at various
 archaeological digs throughout Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and beyond. However, there is absolutely no comparison for actually digging in the ancient dirt of Israel with your bare (gloved) hands and discovering real artifacts, made by real people, living in Israel’s promised land! My experiences at ancient Biblical Shiloh, the city of Jerusalem and other holy sites in Israel, enjoyed with my newfound ABR team of archeologists and volunteer friends, was none other than life changing!”

Associates for Biblical Research (ABR)

The Shiloh excavations are conducted through the Associates for Biblical Research, a Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research.