The relationship between archaeology and ancient history has been long, and often fraught with controversy. This is especially true of Biblical history.
Since the European Enlightenment, and well into the late nineteenth-century, scholars in Europe and America have been skeptical of the historical value of the Bible (in both Old & New Testaments). However, beginning in the early 20th century archaeology began to bring to light remarkable material evidence that the Biblical record is historically reliable. Moreover, many of these discoveries were not made by those seeking to “prove the Bible,” rather they were discovered “by accident.”
Below is a list of 10 significant archaeological discoveries which affirm some of the key people, places and events recorded in the pages of the New Testament. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but is only a sample of some of the remarkable artifacts which illustrate the historical trustworthiness of the New Testament.
The core truth of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and that event is recorded on the pages of the New Testament. The life and ministry of Jesus happened at a particular time, at a particular place in a particular culture. These artifacts are a reminder of the reality of the person and work of Jesus Christ. History has never been the same since He walked the earth. Even time itself as well as our calendar is marked by His life.
(1) The Caiaphas Ossuary – The ornate limestone box or ossuary, containing the name and bones of Caiaphas the High Priest in Jerusalem who presided over the trial of Jesus (Matthew 26:57-67). It was discovered in Jerusalem in 1990, in an area of the city which contains many first-century (Second Temple Period), tombs. Apart from the New Testament, Caiaphas was also mentioned by the First Century Roman/Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 18:63 who calls him “Joseph ben Caiaphas” (Joseph son of Caiaphas), the exact name on the ossuary.
(3) The Pool of Siloam – Siloam dates back the time of the OT (Isa 8:6 & 22:9-11), and is also the location of the well known NT story of Jesus healing a man who was born blind mentioned in John 9:1-12. It was discovered in 2004 in Jerusalem by Israeli archaeologist, Eli Shukron, when workers were installing a nearby sewer line.