Who am I and why have I opened this web site?

merling.jpg (91541 bytes)

        David Merling, Ph.D.


Since 1986 I have been employed by Andrews University as an archaeologist. I have a Ph.D. in archaeology and teach Old Testament, ancient history and archaeological classes. As the administrative, associate director of the Institute of archaeology, I am also the curator of the Horn Archaeological Museum and the Co-director (with Dr. Randall Younker, the Institute of Archaeology director) of the Tell Jalul, Jordan Excavations. I have traveled extensively in the Middle East, conducting excavations , leading tours and visiting archaeological sites

    Since I have been an archaeologist, I am often asked the same, few questions over and over again. Due to the frequency of these questions, to provide easy access to lay readers, and to use a medium that can easily updated with new information, I have created this web site.

This site is designed for non-archaeologists. The professional archaeologist would find many of the following discussions unsophisticated. Meaning, an experienced archaeologist would consider the information provided in this web site common sense/knowledge. On the other hand, most lay people do not have access to even the simplest understanding of archaeology, ancient history or other related studies.

    I feel compelled to provide this information because some people are making outlandish claims of discovery about objects that have NOT been discovered. The many archaeologists with which I have spoken about this phenomenon, like me, are incredulous that so many sincere, intelligent people are persuaded to give money and/or emotional support to those who are making false claims because the presenters use tearful appeals, exciting claims, often coupled with the boast that they are an agent for God.

    You will quickly discover that I do not have all the answers. One problem "scholars" have that does not trouble other "discoverers" is the recognition that some times the Bible is not unequivocally clear regarding geographical features or the location of long-lost artifacts. While other "discoverers" can use their intuitive "God-induced" guess about where something is, scholars are forced to weigh all the possibilities, which many times means we are more boring, because we have to say, "I don’t know for sure, but this is my best guess." In other words, some can proclaim any object found, tearfully thanking God for using them so mightily, then ask for your money to continue "their" work.

    For better or worse, these answers are my best evaluation to the most common questions asked me. This web site is a work in progress. It is being put on the web in December 1998. In some cases, I have dumped some previously written articles and notes into subsections, to get this site up and running. Each time I update this web site I will update the date at the top of the web site.