“This is a very significant opening.  It‘s very rare for a university the size of Gannon to have an archaeology museum,” said William G. Dever, Ph.D., and he would know.  Dever is a world-renowned American archaeologist specializing in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times, and he was also the speaker at the 2013 Collins Institute for Archaeological Research Annual Lecture Series on Sunday, April 7.

That event, attended by about 100 persons, also saw the public inauguration of the museum of which Dr. Dever spoke.  Located on the third floor of the Palumbo Academic Center, the Archaeology Museum Gallery is home to a collection of objects from the Bronze Age site at Khirbat Iskandar, an excavation directed by Suzanne Richard, Ph.D., who was a student of Dever’s.

These objects—pottery, figurines and a very rare bronze spear point, have rested peacefully beneath the desert in what is now the Kingdom of Jordan, some of them for almost 5,000 years.  They are a mute testament to a civilization that disappeared more than two centuries before the birth of Christ.

Dr. Dever, the Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Lycoming College and visiting professor of archaeology in the department of Near Eastern studies at UCLA, has directed 30 seasons of excavations in Israel and has authored 22 books, 366 scholarly articles, and 60 reviews. His lecture was titled, “Uncovering the Past: My 50 Years as a Biblical Archaeologist,” a breezy and fascinating look at discoveries and people, war, and politics, if not one with a completely accurate title.

“The truth of it is,” Dr. Dever admitted, “that I have been an archaeologist for 56 years now.”

This article was originally published on Apr. 10, 2013 on www.gannon.edu.