Monday, January 18, 2016

Why the fascination with archeology?

   A recurring theme in my books - especially THE TESTIMONIUM and MATTHEW'S AUTOGRAPH - is archeology.  In these books I deal with Biblical archeology in particular, but all my literary characters are fascinated with bits of the past.  Joshua Parker is probably the closest of all of them to a literary alter ego for me, and his fascination with history and archeology mirrors my own - as does much of his back story.  I suppose I should go ahead and say I am not an archeologist by training, but I am fascinated by the science and most of all by what archeology enables us to do.  Who knows?  If I had followed my fascination and majored in archeology, I might have had a career like Joshua's!

    My dad collected Indian arrowheads when I was little, and when I was five years old I found my first point - a Yarbrough style dart point from the Middle Archaic period, some 3,000-4,000 years old, in a pile of fill dirt in my neighbor's yard.  Of course, I didn't know any of that at the time.  I just knew that it was an arrowhead, and that Indians had made it.  As I grew older and started collecting on my own, these little sharpened bits of stone came to fascinate me more and more.  After I learned how fantastically old some of these points are (I have found three Clovis points during my years of collecting, and they date back around 12,000 years!) it really got my imagination going.  All of recorded human history has elapsed since some of my finds were created by the primitive hunters who crafted them. 

    I am a historian by training, and the thought that every single person I have ever read about or taught about was born, lived, achieved notoriety, and died since most of the points in my collection were made is a source of endless wonder.  When the pyramids were built around 4500 years ago, my Clovis points were already over six thousand years old!   Archeology is the science that tries to connect these points to the people who made them, and as such this scientific discipline has my respect and ongoing interest.

    Biblical archeology is a whole different ball game, though. The thought of excavating places and artifacts connected with the narrative of the Old and New Testaments absolutely fascinates me.  So many places and names from the Bible have been confirmed by the work of archeologists in the Middle East over the last century, it has gone a long way towards confirming the historical accuracy of our Biblical accounts. There are still holes and gaps in our knowledge, especially surrounding the events of the Exodus, but it's amazing how much information we have been able to recover.  People (like the Hittites) and places (like the pool of Bethesda) long thought to be mythical have been confirmed.  Individuals like Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, and Simon Peter have been confirmed as historical through archeological discoveries. 

     And there is so much waiting to be found!  Every year new discoveries are made, ancient manuscripts unearthed, and more is learned about the world that Jesus and His disciples lived in.  While the discoveries made in my novels are fictitious - for now! - they represent things that may very well be waiting out there to be found.  And, like Josh and Father MacDonald, I firmly believe that, when carefully weighed, the archeological and historical evidence will prove that the narrative contained in the Bible is historically accurate and correct in its details.

     If you would like to read more about my characters and the remarkable discoveries they've made, and the adventures they've had along the way, you can start by reading my first novel, THE TESTIMONIUM, where Isabella Sforza, Joshua Parker, Giuseppe Rossini, and Father MacDonald find a unique Biblical treasure on the Isle of Capri: the original report filed to Rome by Pontius Pilate about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth!  You can buy THE TESTIMONIUM here:

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