Israeli Antiquities Authority has approved ABR for archaeological excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir not too far from Jerusalem. It’s very exciting considering the last time they were there was back in 1995. Here is a news bit from their site…
“The location of Joshua’s Ai has been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Palestine. Most archaeologists locate Joshua’s Ai at et-Tell, 1 km. east of our site. At et-Tell there is no indication of occupation at the time of Joshua. This has led scholars to doubt the historicity of the account of the capture of Ai, and the Conquest in general.”
“To find the true site where the Biblical event took place would be a very significant and important discovery, having far-reaching implications for a correct understanding of the early history of Israel. Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir began in 1995. Thus far, the city gate and wall system have been revealed. In 2009, we will continue to excavate these features as we uncover the plan of this 15th century BC Canaanite fortress.”
“ABR excavated at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 1995 to 2000. Since then, ABR has been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to return and continue our original research and excavation work in Israel. Since the dig has been approved, we ask for you to pray for God to continue open the doors so we may be optimally production in doing this important begun at the site in 1995.”
Volunteers are welcomed! Anyone interested in a once in a lifetime adventure and interested in history should should go on this trip. The area in which they are staying is a safe spot, and away from the problem areas one can encounter over there. The locals are pretty friendly with ABR. I’m considering going myself especially with possible implications of newly discovered objects that could shed light on the biblical account. The cost of the trip is also tax dedicable for US citizens.