Institute for Old Testament and Biblical Archaeology

The Institute for Biblical Archaeology was founded in 1990 in Darmstadt (Marienhöhe Theological Seminary) and is now based at the Friedensau Adventist University. The founding of the institute was preceded by intensive archaeological research led by Udo Worschech from 1983 to 1991. The institute has already attracted international attention in its specialized field of research, thanks to publications and lectures by its staff, and exhibitions. The main areas of research are:

The excavation works in the Moabite city of Ar (Isaiah 15:1), today el-Balu`, considered the biggest city site in Jordan. New sites are discovered by surface inspections (surveys), categorized in terms of time period, and examined in relation to socio-geographic changes over the centuries. The aim is to establish a scientific basis for the references to culture and history which are mentioned in the Old Testament between Israel and Moab. The research is published in the newly established archaeological series: Beiträge zur Erforschung der antiken Ard el-Kerak (Moab) (Contributions to research on the ancient Ard el-Kerak (Moab)). The institute holds extensive collections of ceramics, maps and literature on its area of research. Some of the objects found in Ar are exhibited in the Friedensau Museum.

The archaeological section of the Friedensau Museum presents, in adjacent rooms, a general overview of important periods in the history and archaeology of the Near East with biblical and especially Old-Testament relevance. The main focus here is major discoveries, significant objects, and historical processes in religion and society. The museum holds some originals as well as replicas from these periods, and endeavours to obtain special loans from Israel and Jordan. Another room of the museum contains an ethnological exhibition of the nomadic-rural culture of the modern age (ca. 1850 to the present) from Jordan.