Biblical Archaeology

What LC subject headings are used for works on Biblical Archaeology?

Biblical Archaeology is perhaps best defined as the interface between Archaeology and Biblical Studies. As such, it includes historical, geographical, and literary dimensions rarely found in other sub-disciplines of archaeology. It is commonly divided into Old Testament (or Israelite) and New Testament (or Second Temple Period) Archaeology, each with specific chronological, historical and religious implications. Because of these factors, works of relevance to Biblical Archaeology may be assigned a wide variety of LC subject headings.

The most common of these are:

  • Bible – Antiquities [note that the narrower terms listed under this heading are rarely used]
  • Bible. O.T. – Antiquities [O.T. is an abbreviation for Old Testament]
  • Bible. N.T. – Antiquities [N.T. is an abbreviation for New Testament]

The above headings are not subdivided geographically, although other standard free-floating subdivisions are often applied. Additional headings that are commonly assigned to works of relevance to Biblical Archaeology include:

  • Art, Early Christian [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such Israel]
  • Bible – History of Biblical events [not subdivided geographically]
  • Bible – History of contemporary events [not subdivided geographically]
  • Bronze age [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Christian antiquities [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Christian art and symbolism [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Greeks [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Inscriptions, Greek [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Inscriptions, Hebrew [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Inscriptions, Latin [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Iron age [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Jews – Antiquities [not subdivided geographically]
  • Jews – Civilization [with appropriate chronological subdivisions]
  • Jews – History [with appropriate chronological subdivisions]
  • Jews – Politics and government – To 70 A.D. [not subdivided geographically]
  • Judaism – History [with appropriate chronological subdivisions]
  • Pottery [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]
  • Romans [with appropriate geographical subdivisions, such as Israel]

In addition, if a work focuses on archaeological research in a specific geographic location, a heading in the form [Place] – Antiquities is normally assigned. The most commonly assigned headings of this type for Biblical Archaeology are:

  • Gaza Strip – Antiquities
  • Israel – Antiquities
  • Jerusalem – Antiquities
  • Jordan – Antiquities
  • Middle East – Antiquities
  • Palestine – Antiquities
  • West Bank – Antiquities

One can also find geographic headings for smaller geographic locations (including headings representing specific archaeological sites) and these headings can be used as geographic subdivisions under topics. Note that Jerusalem is one of the few places that is geographically subdivided directly instead of indirectly (Jerusalem, not Israel – Jerusalem).
Established headings for many archaeological sites of relevance to Biblical Archaeology are listed in LCSH as narrower terms under each of the general geographical headings listed above. Individuals should review these narrower terms if they are looking for information on a specific site, although headings may not yet have been established for recently discovered and/or excavated sites. These established headings are assigned to works that report on a specific site; some examples are Masada Site (Israel), Megiddo (Extinct City), or Dothan Site (West Bank).

Note that the subdivision Antiquities is not used under the headings for specific archaeological sites.
If a work discusses the process and/or results of archaeological excavation in a specific place, the heading Excavations (Archaeology) is normally assigned, with geographical subdivisions as required to identify precisely the location of the excavations are some relevant examples:

  • Excavations (Archaeology) – Israel [excavations in various parts of Israel]
  • Excavations (Archaeology) – Israel – Negev [excavations in the Negev region of Israel]

Additional headings that are often assigned to works of relevance to Biblical Archaeology include:

  • Israel – Description and travel
  • Israel – Historical geography
  • Jerusalem – Description and travel
  • Jerusalem – History [with appropriate chronological subdivisions]
  • Jerusalem in Judaism
  • Jerusalem in the Bible
  • Jerusalem in Christianity
  • Jordan – Description and travel
  • Jordan – Historical geography
  • Palestine – Description and travel
  • Palestine – Historical geography
  • Palestine – History -To 70 A.D.
  • Palestine – Social life and customs – To 70 A.D.

Finally, readers who are interested in learning more about subject headings for archaeological works are encouraged to consult sections H 1225 (Archaeological Works) and H 715 (Extinct Cites) of the LC Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings.

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