Amid the widespread coronavirus pandemic, many important archeological digs were put on hold in Israel thus raising concern for their future.
Archaeology and Bible professor emeritus Dale Manor from Harding University in Arkansas intended to spend this year unearthing a Canaanite shrine located some 32 kilometers (20 miles) outside Jerusalem, according to Christianity Today. However, the coronavirus disrupted his plan, as well as many of his colleges' plans.
Putting an archaeological excavation on hold does not come without costs, as, according to Manor, "there is an increased risk of site deterioration, both from the elements and plundering."
Instead of being half-covered in dust and ancient debris, Manor and other scholars in the field have been completing other academic projects and hoping for brighter days that will allow them to perch over an open dig.
On the northern side of the Sea of Galilee, an excavation intended to discover the lost remains of Behsaida, the presumed home of three of Christ's disciples, Phillip, Peter and Andrew, was also put on hold due to the coronavirus.
Another unfortunate example for the devastating impact that the coronavirus has had on archaeological excavations in the Holy Land is in Tel Shiloh. Shiloh, an ancient biblical city which had been the central worship center in Israel until the first temple mount was built, underwent major excavations until the coronavirus pandemic bega.
Scott Stipling from The Bible Seminary in Texas who oversaw the operation said that "in three seasons of excavation, we have uncovered significant evidence of the ancient sacrificial system at Shiloh."
Not all excavations were put on hold however, as an Israeli team of researchers from the Hebrew University worked on digging up parts of Tel Azeka, where David and Goliath faced off one another according to the biblical story.