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Search museums for archaeological artefacts connected with the Bible

Julian Spriggs M.A.

This page lists over two hundred important artefacts in Biblical archaeology held in museums around the world. It gives the name and location of the museum, the museum's exhibit reference, and links to the page on the museum's collection website, if available. It also gives the period in Biblical history, the approximate date, and the ruling empire that the exhibit is associated with.

Artefacts are listed in alphabetical order, and can be filtered by Bible period, ruling empire, museum name, museum location, or object type. Artefacts can also be searched by word(s) in the name and description of the artefact. Once a museum is selected, for some museums the artefacts can then be searched by the gallery in the museum.

The page also contains information about exhibits which have an interest to Biblical archaeology held in a particular museum, but which are not currently on display.

Click on the link in the first column to view the exhibit on the museum's collection website.

Click on the 'Photo' link in the right-hand column to view the exhibit on this website (if available). There is also a link to the page on Wikipedia about the artefact, and to other sites containing a description and photographs, if one exists. For some inscriptions there is a link to an English translation on another website.

New exhibits are regularly added to this page.

Select bible period
Select empire
Select museum name
Select museum location
Search by word(s) in exhibit name, description or exhibit number
Select object type

217 exhibits found

Adam and Eve seal
British Museum, London, UK
Seal / Bulla (89326) Room 56 (Mesopotamia < 1500 BC)
Ancient Babylonia  (2200 - 2100 BC)
Patriarchs (Gen 2)

This is a Babylonian cylinder seal, used by impressing the design into soft wax. It shows a tree with fruit in the centre, with two god-like figures pointing at it. One is a male, with horns, the other is female. Behind the female figure is a snake. We can wonder where the Babylonians got this idea from.

Agrippa I Coin
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Coin (79.3521) 
Roman  (AD 42 - 43)
Acts (Acts 12)

A coin from the reign of Agrippa I. It was Agrippa who had James executed and Peter put in prison, before his gruesome death. (Acts 12).

The front shows a bust of Agrippa facing right. The reverse shows a tyche of Caesarea standing facing left, resting her extended right hand on a rudder, and holding palm branch in left hand, with an inscription in Greek.

Agrippa II Coin
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Coin (71.53) 
Acts (Acts 26)

A bronze coin from the time of Agrippa II of Judah. Agrippa and Bernice listened to Paul's testimony, and declared that he was innocent.

The front shows the head of the Emperor Nero, and the reverse has an inscription surrounded by a wreath.

Ahaz seal
Private collection,
Seal / Bulla  
Israel  (720 BC)
Divided monarchy (2 Kg 16, 2 Chr 28)
A bulla, or impression of the seal of King Ahaz, the seal contains an ancient Hebrew inscription mentioning the name of Ahaz of Judah, as well as the name of his father, Yehotam (Jotham), identifying Ahaz as the "king of Judah". The inscription is, “Ahaz (son of) Jotham, Judah’s king". The left side of the bulla contains a fingerprint which may belong to Ahaz himself.
Alexander the Great - carved head
British Museum, London, UK
Statue (1872,0515.1) Room 22 (Alexander)
Greece  (c. 200 BC)
Inter-testamental (Dan 8, 5-6, 20-22, 11:3-4)

Alexander the Great was the famous king of Greece, who conquered the Persian Empire while still in his twenties. After he died rather mysteriously while at the height of his power, his kingdom was divided between four of his generals, including Ptolemy in Egypt, and Seleucus in Syria. The rise of Alexander was predicted in the Book of Daniel, when Daniel was shown a vision of a male goat:

"As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn between its eyes. It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the river (v3 = Persia and Media), and it ran at it with savage force. I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have the power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled on it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power. Then the male goat grew exceedingly great; but at the height of its power, the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven." (Dan 8:5-6)

Daniel was given this explanation:
"As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. The male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king. As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power." (Dan 8:20-22)

The prediction was repeated in later vision:
"Then a warrior king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and take action as he pleases. And when still rising in power, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his prosperity, nor according to the dominion which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted and go others beside these. "(Dan 11:3-4)

Alexander the Great capture of Babylon
British Museum, London, UK
Cuneiform Tablet (36761) Room 52 (Ancient Iran)
Persia  (331 BC - 330 BC)

This tablet describes the defeat of Darius III by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, and Alexander's triumphant entry into Babylon.

Alexander the Great head
Louvre, Paris, France
Statue (MND 2075) Sully 0: Salle 339 (Greek)
Greece  (300 - 160 BC)
Inter-testamental (Dan 8, 5-6, 20-22, 11:3-4)

Head of Alexander the Great who conquered the Persian Empire and spread Greek culture around the ancient near east. Predicted by Daniel as the male goat who grew exceedingly great (Dan 8:5-8).

Antiochus III Coin
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Coin (71.725) 
Seleucids / Ptolemies  (223 - 187 BC)
Inter-testamental (Dan 11:10-13)

A coin from the reign of Antiochus III (the Great), the seleucid king who conquered Israel from Egypt.

The front shows the head of Antiochus III facing right, and the reverse shows Antiochus sitting on a stone.

Antiochus III inscription
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Judah  (201 - 195 BC)
Inter-testamental (Dan 11:15-19)

Transcript of correspondence between Antiochus III (223–187 BC) and Ptolemy son of Thraseas

Throughout the Seleucid Empire, correspondence between the king and his subordinates was publicized on stone monuments, which were set up in public places.

This monument is inscribed with an exchange of five letters. Ptolemy son of Thraseas, governor and high priest of Syria-Phoinike, asks King Antiochus III to forbid his soldiers from forcibly taking quarter in local homes and pressing the population into service. The king responds by ordering his subordinates to restrain and punish all offenders.

Antiochus IV Coin
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Coin (87.9.11949) 
Seleucids / Ptolemies  (168 - 164 BC)
Inter-testamental (Dan 7:8-27, 8:9)

A silver Tetradrachm coin of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the 'little horn' of Daniel. He was the Seleucid king who claimed to be a manifestation of Zeus, and attempted to destroy Judaism.

The front shows the crowned head of Antiochus IV. The reverse shows Antiochus as Zeus seated facing left on his throne, holding sceptre in his left hand and Nike in his right hand.

There are several coins in the Israel Museum depicting Antiochus IV.

Arch of Titus
Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
Roman  (AD 81)
Early church (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21)

The Arch of Titus is located on the Via Sacra in Rome, south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed around AD 81 by Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus. It commemorates the victory of Titus and his father Vespasian over the Jewish rebellion in AD 70, when the city and temple of Jerusalem was destroyed.

The arch contains panels depicting the official triumphal procession celebrated in AD 71 after the Roman victory. The spoils of Jerusalem relief on the inside of the arch gives one of the few contemporary depictions of artifacts from Herod's temple. The lampstand, or menorah, shown on the arch was adopted as the emblem of the modern state of Israel.

Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in his olivet discourse (Mt 24:2, Mk 13:2, Lk 21:6).

Asherah (Astarte) figurines
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Object / Artefact (1960-725, 1980-2) 
Canaanite  (8th - 6th century BC)
Exodus and Conquest 

Such figurines, with pronounced breasts, were found mainly in private dwellings. Usually identified with either the goddess Astarte or the goddess Asherah, they were kept as household amulets to enhance fertility and offer protection during childbirth.

Ashurbanipal - prisoners of war
Louvre, Paris, France
Wall-relief / Decoration (AO 19913) Richelieu 0: Salle 230 (Near East)
Assyria  (668 - 627 BC)
Divided monarchy 

Wall relief from the palace of Ashurbanipal showing soldiers leading away prisoners of war.

Ashurbanipal in war chariot
Louvre, Paris, France
Wall-relief / Decoration (AO 19904) Richelieu 0: Salle 230 (Near East)
Assyria  (668 - 627 BC)
Divided monarchy (Ezra 4:10 ?)

Ashurbanipal was the final powerful king of Assyria. He is possibly to be identified with Osnappar (Ezra 4:10).

Ashurbanipal lion hunt
Louvre, Paris, France
Wall-relief / Decoration (AO 19903) Richelieu 0: Salle 230 (Near East)
Assyria  (668 - 627 BC)
Divided monarchy 

Wall relief portraying Ashurbanipal hunting lions. Similar to reliefs displayed in the British Museum.

Ashurbanipal prism
Louvre, Paris, France
Cuneiform Prism or Cylinder (AO 19939) Richelieu 0: Salle 230 (Near East)
Divided monarchy 

Clay prism describing military campaigns of Ashurbanipal. It mostly describes campaigns against Elam, notably the sack of Susa in 646 BC. It also describes the restoration of his palace of Nineveh.

Ashurnasirpal II relief
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Wall-relief / Decoration (69.95.427) 
Assyria  (883 - 859 BC)
Divided monarchy 

An Assyrian wall relief depicting a stylized date palm tree flanked by two human-headed protective genies. The motif appears on many wall slabs from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (883 - 859 BC), built in his newly founded capital, Nimrud.

The repetition of this pictorial theme throughout his royal palace indicates its importance. The motif of a tree with two genies may be a symbolic representation of the pollination of date palms, implying the bestowal of abundance on the entire kingdom.

The slab is of a relatively small size. It has 26 lines of cuneiform from the shoulder to mid-calf of the genies. This is known as the 'Standard Inscription', mostly describing the territorial expansion of Assyria.

Asiatic tribute bearers
British Museum, London, UK
Wall-relief / Decoration (EA 37991) Not on display
Egypt  (1450 BC)
Patriarchs (Gen 42)

This is a painting from a wall of the tomb of Sobekhotep in Thebes, Egypt. He was an official of Pharaoh Tuthmose IV of the 18th dynasty, from around 1450 BC. It shows Semetic envoys from Asia bringing tribute of gold and silver vessels to Egypt. It would have been a very similar scene to the one when Joseph's brothers came to Egypt and bowed down before Joseph. The facial features and dress are characteristic of Israelites, being very different from the Egyptians.

Some people have wondered whether the little boy in the top row is Benjamin.

Assyrian fish-man relief
British Museum, London, UK
Wall-relief / Decoration (124573) Room 6 (Assyrian Sculpture)
Assyria  (9th century BC)
Divided monarchy (Jonah)

The Assyrians believed in a legendary fish-man who had appeared out of the sea many hundreds of years in their past. This fish-man was known as Yanush, which is Oannes in Greek. His whole body was that of a fish, but under the fish's head, he had a human head. The Yanush was believed to be the fount of all knowledge.

Jonah's name, pronounced 'Yonah' in Hebrew, 'Yonas' in Greek, would sound similar to Yanush, their legendary fountain of all knowledge, who they expected would return if they were to learn any essential new knowledge. When Jonah appeared fresh from his experience in the fish, it would have seemed to them that Yanush himself had returned to warn of coming judgement. Thus it was not surprising that the king and all his peoples repented so quickly.

Astartu relief - exile of Israel
British Museum, London, UK
Wall-relief / Decoration (118908) Room 6 (Assyrian Sculpture)
Assyria  (730 - 727 BC)
Divided monarchy (2 Kg 15:29)

King Pekah of Israel formed a coalition with Damascus, resulting in the return of the Assyrian army in 733 BC. Tiglath-pileser annexed Damascus as far as Gilead.
In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured, Ijon ... Hazor, Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali and he carried the people captive to Assyria.(2 Kg 15:29)

This carved stone relief from Tiglath-pileser's palace in Nimrud dates from this time. Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BC) stands in his chariot beneath a parasol. Above him stands a fortified city on a mound (tell), with double walls and a citadel at one end. Assyrian soldiers drive out prisoners and herds of fat-tailed rams. A band of cuneiform across the middle forms part of Tiglath-pileser's annals (not any relation to the relief) describing his campaigns in the north of Assyria. Above the city is inscribed 'Astartu', which probably refers to Ashtaroth in the northern Trans-Jordan, or Gilead, where King Og of Bashan ruled from.


The Bible

Pages which look at issues relevant to the whole Bible, such as the Canon of Scripture, as well as doctrinal and theological issues. There are also pages about the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and 'lost books' of the Old Testament.

Also included are lists of the quotations of the OT in the NT, and passages of the OT quoted in the NT.

Old Testament Overview

This is a series of six pages which give a historical overview through the Old Testament and the inter-testamental period, showing where each OT book fits into the history of Israel.

New Testament Overview

This is a series of five pages which give a historical overview through the New Testament, focusing on the Ministry of Jesus, Paul's missionary journeys, and the later first century. Again, it shows where each book of the NT fits into the history of the first century.

Introductions to Old Testament Books

This is an almost complete collection of introductions to each of the books in the Old Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Introductions to New Testament Books

This is a collection of introductions to each of the 27 books in the New Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Old Testament History

Information about the different nations surrounding Israel, and other articles concerning Old Testament history and the inter-testamental period.

New Testament History

Articles which give additional information about the history and culture of the first century, giving helpful background knowledge for the Gospels and Paul's travels.

Old Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for OT studies. These include a list of the people named in the OT and confirmed by archaeology. There are also pages to convert the different units of measure in the OT, such as the talent, cubit and ephah into modern units.

More theological topics include warfare in the ancient world, the Holy Spirit in the OT, and types of Jesus in the OT.

Studies in the Pentateuch (Gen - Deut)

A series of articles covering studies in the five books of Moses. Studies in the Book of Genesis look at the historical nature of the early chapters of Genesis, the Tower of Babel and the Table of the Nations.

There are also pages about covenants, the sacrifices and offerings, the Jewish festivals and the tabernacle, as well as the issue of tithing.

Studies in the Old Testament History Books (Josh - Esther)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the history books. These include a list of the dates of the kings of Israel and Judah, a summary of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and studies of Solomon, Jeroboam and Josiah.

There are also pages describing some of the historical events of the period, including the Syro-Ephraimite War, and the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 BC.

Studies in the Old Testament Prophets (Is - Mal)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the OT prophets. These include a page looking at the way the prophets look ahead into their future, a page looking at the question of whether Satan is a fallen angel, and a page studying the seventy weeks of Daniel.

There are also a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of two of the books:
Isaiah (13 pages) and Daniel (10 pages).

New Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for NT studies. These include a list of the people in the NT confirmed by archaeology.

More theological topics include the Kingdom of God and the Coming of Christ.

Studies in the Four Gospels (Matt - John)

A series of articles covering various studies in the four gospels. These include a list of the unique passages in each of the Synoptic Gospels and helpful information about the parables and how to interpret them.

Some articles look at the life and ministry of Jesus, including his genealogy, birth narratives, transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the seating arrangements at the Last Supper.

More theological topics include the teaching about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and whether John the Baptist fulfilled the predictions of the coming of Elijah.

Studies in the Book of Acts and the New Testament Letters

A series of articles covering various studies in the Book of Acts and the Letters, including Paul's letters. These include a page studying the messages given by the apostles in the Book of Acts, and the information about the financial collection that Paul made during his third missionary journey.

More theological topics include Paul's teaching on Jesus as the last Adam, and descriptions of the church such as the body of Christ and the temple, as well as a look at redemption and the issue of fallen angels.

There are a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of five of the books:
Romans (7 pages), 1 Corinthians (7 pages), Galatians (3 pages), Philemon (1 page) and Hebrews (7 pages)

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the study of the Book of Revelation and topics concerning Eschatology (the study of end-times).

These include a description of the structure of the book, a comparison and contrast between the good and evil characters in the book and a list of the many allusions to the OT. For the seven churches, there is a page which gives links to their location on Google maps.

There is a page studying the important theme of Jesus as the Lamb, which forms the central theological truth of the book. There are pages looking at the major views of the Millennium, as well as the rapture and tribulation, as well as a list of dates of the second coming that have been mistakenly predicted through history.

There is also a series of ten pages giving a detailed commentry through the text of the Book of Revelation.

Inductive Bible Study

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study the Bible inductively, by asking a series of simple questions. There are lists of observation and interpretation questions, as well as information about the structure and historical background of biblical books, as well as a list of the different types of figures of speech used in the Bible. There is also a page giving helpful tips on how to apply the Scriptures personally.

Types of Literature in the Bible

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study each of the different types of book in the Bible by appreciating the type of literature being used. These include historical narrative, law, wisdom, prophets, Gospels, Acts, letters and Revelation.

It is most important that when reading the Bible we are taking note of the type of literature we are reading. Each type needs to be considered and interpreted differently as they have different purposes.

Geography and Archaeology

These are a series of pages giving geographical and archaeological information relevant to the study of the Bible. There is a page where you can search for a particular geographical location and locate it on Google maps, as well as viewing photographs on other sites.

There are also pages with photographs from Ephesus and Corinth.

Early Church Fathers

These are a series of pages giving biographical information about some of the more significant early church fathers, such as Irenaeus, Origen and Tertullian, as well as some important groups and events in the first centuries of the church.

Artifacts in the British Museum relevant to Biblical studies

These are a series of pages describing artifacts in each gallery of the British Museum, which have a connection with the Bible.

Biblical Archaeology in Museums around the world

A page with a facility to search for artifacts held in museums around the world which have a connection with the Bible. These give information about each artifact, as well as links to the museum's collection website where available showing high resolution photographs of the artifact.

There is also page of photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem of important artifacts.

Historical documents

These are a series of pages containing historical documents which give helpful information for Biblical studies. These include Hittite suzerainty treaties with a similar structure to the Book of Deuteronomy, different lists of the New Testament books and quotations from Josephus and other ancient writers.

Life Questions

These are a series of pages looking at some of the more difficult questions of Christian theology, including war, suffering, disappointment and what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel.

How to Preach

These are a series of pages giving a practical step-by-step explanation of the process of preparing a message for preaching, and how to lead a small group Bible study.

Information for SBS staff members

Two pages particularly relevant for people serving as staff on the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in YWAM. One gives helpful instruction about how to prepare to teach on a book in the SBS. The other gives a list of recommended topics which can be taught about for each book of the Bible.