Khirbet el-Maqatir

The Mystery of Joshua’s Ai Solved?

The location of the city of Ai mentioned in Joshua 7:8 has long been a matter of mystery and controversy since the beginnings of archaeological research in Israel. Traditionally, most archaeologists locate Joshua’s Ai at et-Tell, located 1 kilometer east of Khirbet el-Maqatir. However, at the Tell there is no indication of occupation at the time of Joshua, a fact that has led scholars to doubt the historicity of the account of the capture of Ai, and that of the conquest in general.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

We believe we have now collected enough geographic, historical and archaeological evidence to demonstrate that Khirbet el-Maqatir is the Ai of Joshua.
Previous excavations at this site have revealed two second millennium B.C. Egyptian scarabs, a city gate and wall complex, a multitude of Late Bronze Age I pottery, an infant burial, evidence for fire, a first century AD house, coins, and a Byzantine Monastery. As the city from the time of Jesus has begun to emerge from beneath two meters of accumulated debris, the finds have been stunning. There is a significant New Testament city now being uncovered, possibly Ephraim of John 11:54.
The Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations are sponsored and operated by the Associates for Biblical Research. The excavation was established by Dr. Bryant Wood (Ph.D., University of Toronto), who is now Director Emeritus.

Scott Stripling

Dr. Scott StriplingDr. Scott Stripling became the director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations on January 1, 2014. He serves as the chair of the humanities and foreign language department at Wharton County Junior College and as an adjunct professor at Houston Baptist University and The Bible Seminary. Stripling has earned two Master’s degrees as well as a D.Min. and is currently working on his Ph.D. at Trinity Southwest Seminary. Previously, he worked as a field supervisor at the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan and for two seasons as a supervisor at the Temple Mount Salvage Operation in Jerusalem.

Dig Directors

Scott Stripling

Geographic Location

9 miles north of Jerusalem

Periods of Occupation

Middle Bronze III, Late Bronze I, Iron I, Late Hellenistic, Early Roman, Byzantine

Dates of the Dig

December 19 - 31, 2016

Minimum Stay

At least one week preferred

Application Due

November 20, 2016 with full payment


Two weeks: check in Dec. 18, 2016, check out Jan 2, 2017: $1,750 - airfare not included

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution



Ritz Hotel, East Jerusalem. Double/Triple Occupancy. Contact Henry Smith with questions or for a price quote.


Henry Smith, Jr.
P.O. Box 144
Akron, PA 19562
Phone: 800-430-0008

Open for tours

Yes - appointment necessary