Biblical Archaeology Review 40:2, March/April 2014

Where Is Mount Sinai?

The Case for Har Karkom and the Case for Saudi Arabia

By Hershel Shanks

“It may well be that I have done no more than weave, in the words of George Eliot, ‘an ingenious web of probabilities—the surest screen a wise man can place between himself and the truth.’1 Perhaps final truth in archaeology is unattainable, but it is certain that progress towards it can come only through asking questions, for without questions there can be no answers.”2

Where is Mt. Sinai? That’s hardly a new question. But it has recently been raised with a somewhat new focus—on a site known as Har Karkom in the Negev of Israel. In a word, is Har Karkom Biblical Mt. Sinai?

That was the central question of a two-day colloquium held in Israel last year that included a daunting, but thrilling, trip to the site itself.3

The investigation and study of Har Karkom has been the life work, not to say passion, of 83-year-old Italian archaeologist Emmanuel Anati. He has been documenting his finds at the site for more than 30 years.

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