Archaeology in the Ancient Near East
The World of the Bible
It is thanks in part to the numerous archaeological excavations and surveys that the wider world of the Bible has become known. (The two maps of archaeological sites here do not reflect any one period, but give an indication of some of the principal locations of archaeological excavations). The section of this atlas on ‘Israel and the Nations’ has demonstrated that those people with whom the Bible's story is principally concerned frequently came into contact with their nearer neighbours and with those from further afield. The biblical story suggests that there was considerable movement around the ancient world, as peoples moved into new territories, armies conquered new lands, and trade was carried out. The fortunes of those who lived in the area of Palestine were often affected by the changing relative strengths and weaknesses of the great empires around them. Dynasties rose and fell, great cities were built and destroyed, religious ideas developed and legal systems were enacted. People were shaped by the past and by those with whom they came into contact. And just as the biblical writers were at pains to set the stories of the people of Israel and Judah and of the early Christians in the context of the wider world, so the reader of the Bible needs an awareness of the world beyond the bounds of Palestine.