New Archaeology Exhibit Opens

A new exhibit recently opened in the Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum at Southern Adventist University. The grand opening for the exhibit, which is entitled, “A World in Miniature: Creation, Cosmos, Ecology on Seals from Biblical Times,” was held on September 12, 2016.

During the opening, Benjamin Foster, curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection at Yale University, said, “This is the finest exhibition on ancient seals in terms of presentation, approachability, and scholarly input that I have ever seen.”

The exhibit features more than 60 seals ranging in age from 3,000 B.C. to 500 B.C. These artifacts were used for sealing documents, securing property, and transferring authority. Worn around the neck or wrist, ancient seals were primarily reserved for the higher class as a symbol of authority and ownership.

The exhibit focuses not only on the seals but also the seals’ expression of worldviews using three components: creation, cosmos, and ecology. Creation refers to how we were created; cosmos, to ancient beliefs of how the world functions; and ecology, to how we are to interact with our environment.

According to Martin Klingbeil, associate director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern and the leading researcher for the exhibit, the seals give knowledge and insight into better understanding biblical times.

The new exhibit features seals on loan from the Yale Babylonian Collection at Yale University, the Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum at Andrews University, and the Badè Museum at Pacific School of Religion. It also includes four replicas of seal impressions found by Southern students in 2014—the originals remained in Israel.

Every summer, Southern students have the opportunity to earn up to six academic credits by taking a trip to Israel, where Southern is currently excavating areas in Lachish. Students learn excavation techniques, digging techniques, and tour famous biblical landmarks. Students have found seals and other artifacts during each summer excavation and many return to Southern with the desire to minor in archaeology.

 “There is always a moment on these trips when a student finds an artifact and suddenly they realize this amazing connection between themselves and the Bible,” Klingbeil said.

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