Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Pottery Reading (2015) discussing the provenance of the vessel.


I am a Canadian archaeologist with my Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland
Doctor of Philosophy in Theology  (interdisciplinary** with OT & NT Biblical history and archaeology) that required three readers. The late I. Howard Marshall [supervisor NT and Revelation], Edwin M. Yamauchi [Greco-Roman archaeology and history], Alan Millard [ANE Hittite law codes]). My dissertation was entitled “The Influence of Ancient Near Eastern Vassal Treaties on the Seven Prophetic Messages in Revelation with Special Reference to the Message to Smyrna.”  It is published by Gorgias Press under the title The Seven Messages of Revelation and Vassal Treaties: Literary Genre, Structure, and Function. Gorgias Dissertations Biblical Studies 41. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2009). Dr. Marshall commented on the publication:
“Dr. Graves seeks to shed light on the problem of the structure of thought in Revelation by placing the work as a whole and the messages to the seven churches in particular firmly in the context of the ancient near eastern vassal treaties that have also influenced the shape of covenantal theology in the Old Testament. This carefully researched thesis brings a new contribution to the interpretation of the apocalypse and deserves close examination.” — I. Howard Marshall, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Exegesis, University of Aberdeen.
My undergraduate degree is a 5 year BTh. (Bachelor of Theology) from Tyndale University College and Seminary, Toronto Canada (1980) where I began studying Archaeology/biblical history/theology, Hebrew and Greek, etc. at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I first came into contact with Dr. Bryant Wood, a specialist in Canaanite pottery, while I was researching a paper on the location of Sodom and Gomorrah for my archaeology course.

I began my Masters (2 years) at the University of the Highland and Islands, Scotland (2002) but was promoted to the PhD program at the University of Aberdeen, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy under the supervision of the late I. Howard Marshall on the basis of my writing and research skills (4 years).

I have formal Archaeological Square Supervisor Training through Trinity Southwest University,  
Albuquerque, New Mexico and certified training in SIR-3000 Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for archaeological application through Geophysical Survey Systems Inc.


I was a guest lecturer in "RS2613: Archaeological Artefacts that Illustrate the Historical Accuracy of the Bible". (2005). I taught "RS3463: Introduction to Biblical Archaeology" (2006-2010); "RS3323 Biblical Eschatology" (2009); RS1003 Themes of the Bible (1998-2000) Crandall University, Canada.

I taught several courses titled "RS3883: Intellectual History of Science and Religion (1600-1980)–Part B-Deus Artefacta: 19th Century Drive for Proof by Artefact from Major Developments in the History of British Biblical Archaeology" (2003, 2005);  RS3893: The History of British Biblical Archaeology" (2007) to Canadian students in the ABU-Oxford programme at Regent Park College, Oxford University. During this time I led museum tours of the Ashmolean and British Museum.

I was invited to teach for  Liberty University Online, Rawlings School of Divinity (2009-2018) and did so until my retirement in 2019. Apart from Theology, Biblical History, I taught Archaeology
as an Assistant Professor and Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Archaeology. Two of my books were used as textbooks during that time:  Biblical Archaeology vol. 1 and Key Facts for The Location of Sodom.

Archaeological Experience

I have traveled extensively in the UK, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and Jordan visiting museums and archaeological sites doing archaeological research for my PhD and writings.

In 2005-06, I worked with the ArcImaging team, as the Director of Operations for the Mount Ararat Archaeological Research Expedition  conducted exploration and surface survey of the Ahora Gorge at 10,000 feet on Mt Ararat.

Since 2005-present, I have been a square/field supervisor with the Tall el-Hammam (Sodom?) Excavation Project in Jordan where I supervised the Roman/Byzantine remains that I uncovered. We published our finding in “Re-Examination of the Location for the Ancient City of Livias.” co-authored with Scott Stripling. Levant: The Journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant 43.2 (2011): 178-200.  I have also supervised squares at Tall el-Hammam in the Iron age and Middle Bronze age levels.

In 2009 I worked at the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation, Jerusalem, Israel under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Bar Ilan University.

In 2017, I was the "registrar of artifacts" for the Excavations of Qumran Cave 53, Israel. A cooperative archaeological effort of Liberty University (Dr. Randall Price) and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) under the auspices of the KAMAT (Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria) under the direction of Dr. Oren Guitfeld of Hebrew University. January 2–13, 2017. Our work made the front cover of National Geographic magazine and was featured in their article "Inside the cloak-and-dagger search for sacred texts" Dec. 2018. See my blog for more details of our finds.

In 2017, I briefly worked with Dr. Bryant Wood at the Archaeological excavation of  Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) under the auspices of the KAMAT (Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria) under the direction of Dr. Scott Stripling.

Also, in 2017, I was the Director of administration and square supervisor for the Shiloh excavations, Israel, and Director of Publications (2018-2019).

Since 2005, I have been a member of the Near East Archaeological Society (NEAS) and served on the board of Directors (2009-2019) and served as treasurer (2009-2011). I have written several articles for their peer reviewed Journal Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin (NEASB). Since 2009, I have been a member of the Associates for Biblical Research and often written articles for their Bible and Spade journal.


In 2017, I was a consultant for the producers of National Geographic TV program on locating Sodom and Gomorrah that features Tall el-Hammam, Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira titled  Buried Secrets of the Bible.As hard as I tried over several months they still didn't get all the facts straight!! :-)


I have contributed eight breakout articles and over 25 photographs to the Harvest Handbook of Bible Lands: A Panoramic Survey of the History, Geography, and Culture of the Scriptures. Holden, Joseph M., and Steven Collins, eds. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, February 2020.

I have contributed many articles to several peer reviewed theological and archaeology Journals. I have also written many books on archaeology available through Amazon.com and published through my publishing company Electronic Christian Media.

For list of publications see Academia.edu.

**Definition of Interdisciplinary research
"Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice." Committee on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2004). Facilitating interdisciplinary research. National Academies (Washington: National Academy Press, 2004), p. 2

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