Biblical Archaeology Review 40:1, January/February 2014

Archaeological Views: Biblical Archaeology Through a Victorian Lens

By Kevin McGeough

The public presentation of Biblical archaeology has been fundamental to the discipline since its origins in the Victorian era. The explosion in demand for print materials that emerged in the early 19th century and the rise of a literate, urban middle class encouraged the Victorian urge to “improve oneself” through reading and self-education. Of course, this educational content still had to be entertaining, and as BAR readers know, Biblical archaeology can be very entertaining.

Near Eastern archaeological discoveries were widely reported in the press, often in great detail. My favorite example is an issue of The Illustrated London News that printed copies of Assyrian reliefs excavated at Nimrud and then asked readers to help translate the Akkadian.

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