Associates for Biblical Research

The Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) is a non-profit Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research. ABR is currently excavating the site of Khirbet el-Maqatir in Israel.

The modern science of archaeology, which began in the mid-1800s, has revolutionized our knowledge of the ancient biblical world. Many archaeological discoveries relate directly to Scripture and confirm the historicity of the biblical record. Other discoveries provide fascinating background material for the biblical narratives. As people become aware of these discoveries, the Bible suddenly comes to life and Bible study more interesting and meaningful.

The location of the biblical city of Ai has been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Israel. Scholars have concluded that the location of Joshua’s Ai is at et-Tell. They have also used this conclusion to discredit the biblical account of Joshua 7-8 because there is no evidence of occupation at et-Tell during the time of Joshua. ABR has now collected enough geographic, historical and archaeological evidence to demonstrate that Khirbet el-Maqatir is the Ai of Joshua.


I am excited to announce a partnership with the University of Pikeville for 2017!

Posted by Scott Stripling on Friday, January 8, 2016

The discoveries include a rare 15th century B.C. Egyptian scarab, a Late Bronze I city gate and wall system, large amounts of pottery from the time of Joshua, remains from the Judges period, evidence of destruction by fire, ancient coins, a first century AD city/town, and a Byzantine monastery.

Since 2010, excavations have gone far beyond the Joshua era material. As the city from the time of Jesus has begun to emerge from beneath two meters of accumulated debris, the finds have been stunning. After drawing the fortification system in May 2014, Maqatir excavation architect, Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, insisted that the settlement should no longer be viewed as a village, rather as a city. It appears that he is correct. ABR believes that this city may, in fact, be Ephraim mentioned in John 11:53-54: “Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.”

In conjunction with the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, the Associates of Biblical Research is sending a collection of artifacts from Khirbet el-Maqatir to Eastern Kentucky. The University of Pikeville is grateful for its partnership with the Associates of Biblical Research to bring these artifacts to the region. A special thanks to Scott Stripling, director of excavations, and Henry Smith, director of development for ABR, for all of their direction and assistance in making this exhibit happen in Eastern Kentucky.

Visit ABR’s website at

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