To preserve, research, interpret, and present to the public ancient artifacts and texts so as to promote the understanding and teaching of religious history, especially biblical history and the history of the biblical text
“I would like to welcome you to the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion, located in beautiful Berkeley, California. For over 80 years, the Badè Museum has served as a window into the ancient past of Israelite society promoting education, public outreach, and research opportunities for scholars around the country. I encourage you to explore our website and consider a visit to our museum gallery whose intimate setting is ideal for the appreciation of artifacts and objects that originate from halfway around the world.”
Dr. Aaron Brody
New Exhibit: “Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins”
The Badè Museum and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago present “Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins” now through December 2016.
Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins, an exhibition of photographic portraits, explores how cultural achievements of the ancient Middle East have created or contributed to much of modern life. To show the connections between the past and today, artifacts that document the origins or development of professions such as baker, farmer, manicurist, brewer, writer, astronomer, or judge in the ancient world are paired with a person who is the modern “face” of that profession. Click here to learn more!
The mission of the Badè Museum is to preserve, research, interpret, and present to the public ancient artifacts and texts so as to promote the understanding and teaching of religious history, especially biblical history and the history of the biblical text.
The Museum will not purchase or provide assessments of artifacts. It will consider accepting collections or artifacts that have been acquired legally and ethically, along with accompanying documentation.
“Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins”
The Badè Museum and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago present “Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins” now through December 2016.
Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins, an exhibition of photographic portraits, explores how cultural achievements of the ancient Middle East have created or contributed to much of modern life. To show the connections between the past and today, artifacts that document the origins or development of professions such as baker, farmer, manicurist, brewer, writer, astronomer, or judge in the ancient world are paired with a person who is the modern “face” of that profession. Click here to learn more
Tell en-Nasbeh Exhibit
The exhibits on display at the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology take inspiration from the rich array of artifacts that make up the museum’s Tell en-Nasbeh exhibit.
This exhibit is the “heart and soul” of the Badè Museum. It displays a wealth of finds from the excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh, Palestine whose objects span from the Early Bronze Age (3100–2200 BC) through the Iron Age (1200–586 BC) and into the Roman and Hellenistic periods.
Highlights of the exhibit include “Tools of the Trade” featuring real archaeological tools used by Badè and his team, an oil lamp typology, a Second Temple period (586 BC–70 AD) limestone ossuary, and a selection of painted Greek pottery.
The Museum circulates a loan exhibit of objects for use in teaching. The traveling exhibit includes artifacts and replicas from the original Tell en-Nasbeh excavations such as lamps, oil juglets, sling stones, and ceramic pitchers. Along with labels and display posters, an informative and entertaining DVD accompanies every exhibit describing excavation techniques and what we can learn from archaeological remains. Learn more here
2003: The Iron (Age) Chef: Food and Dining in Old Testament TimesDaily meals and holiday banquets nourished the Israelites and provided a time for family, tribal, and national unity. The farmers and herders sustained the community that gave humankind one of its most enduring set of sacred documents that feeds our spirit and intellect to this very day, the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
2005: Artifacts Holding ArtifactsOftentimes while on excavation, archaeologists need to rely on the supplies that are available to them. For example, cigarette and match boxes were used by Dr. Badè and his team to hold various small objects, such as beads and pendants, that were excavated at Tell en-Nasbeh.
2006: Making Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: Family Religion in Ancient IsraelIn telling passages in the Book of Jeremiah (7:18; 44:17–25), it is precisely at this time that the worship of the Queen of Heaven is revitalized, although it is condemned by the Prophet. This worship involved the whole family, as children gather wood for fuel, fathers light the fires, and mothers make dough and bake cakes to offer in thanks to the great Goddess.
2007: Lights! Camera! Dig! Photographs from the Tell en-Nasbeh ExpeditionPhotography allows for a permanent visual record of what archaeologists uncover during an excavation. In five seasons at Nasbeh over 2,800 photographs were taken. These pictures cover a wide range of subjects; from digging scenes, to images of objects and architecture, to pictures of the staff working on the non-digging tasks of the excavation.
2007: Finding Women of Valor: The Daily Lives of Women in Ancient IsraelIn light of new, progressive methodologies, scholars have begun to reexamine archaeological remains and the texts of the Hebrew Bible to answer this question. Although their written words are scarce, women’s voices are not as silent as we may think.
2008: Fallen through the Cracks: Microarchaeology and Ancient Households in TurkeyMicroarchaeology requires a keen eye and lots of patience to sort a sample bag into data that is useful and relevant. The samples we receive at the Badè Museum have been excavated from domestic areas that include floors, ovens, alleyways and trash middens.
2009: Ancient Tell, Modern Art: GTU Artists' Responses to Artifacts from Tell en-NasbehStudents, faculty and alumnae of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) have created works of original art in response to themes and objects within the archaeological displays at the Badè Museum.
2009: William Frederic Badè: Theologian, Naturalist, and ArchaeologistThis exhibit highlights one of PSR’s premier educators and innovative scholars. The collection of material on display was chosen with the hopes of representing the truly dynamic and multifaceted character of William F. Badè.
2009: Hope and Reflection: Images of Kurdish Culture from Turkey and IraqHope and Reflection: Images of Kurdish Culture from Turkey and Iraq features hopeful images of daily life in a troubled region and intimate portraits of the Kurdish people.
2010: Tell en-Nasbeh: The Original Sustainable CommunityOut of necessity for subsistence, the lives of ancient Israelite inhabitants at Tell en-Nasbeh revolved around agriculture and animal husbandry, food and water storage, sharing communal activity spaces, and the reuse of as many products as possible. Thus it may be said that Tell en-Nasbeh is a prime example of the original “sustainable community.”
2010: Lived Experience in Ancient JudahThis exhibition represents a meditation on this sensory approach to the archaeological record. It is based on artifacts excavated at the ancient town of Mizpah (modern Tell en-Nasbeh), a 2,500-year-old settlement located in the hill country north of Jerusalem. One way to conceptualize personal lived experience is through narrative, in this case through the voice of Hannah, a teenage girl who is a member of a modestly wealthy household at Mizpah.
2011: 'Global' Economies of the Biblical WorldThe economies of biblical societies were primarily agricultural and pastoral. Everyday life was supported by subsistence farming and tending flocks that followed the rhythms of the seasons.
2011: From Dirt to Display: The 'Life' of an ArtifactWe may consider them simple objects that are good for historical data and aesthetic appeal, but in fact artifacts serve many different purposes over their lifetimes. The purpose of an artifact at the time of its creation is usually very different than the purpose it serves while on display at a museum.
2011: From Seeds to CelebrationThere were many occasions in ancient Israel that warranted a feast. Both the Hebrew Bible and archaeological research provide us with valuable information about the way the biblical peoples feasted during the Iron Age. Many feasts were associated with religious observances and holidays, though feasting could also play a role in more mundane activities, such as community building projects.
2011: Archaeology Then and Now: A Look at 'Dig Life' Over TimeThis exhibit showcases photographs and tools from dig life on W. F. Badè’s excavation of Tell en-Nasbeh. These are paired with images from excavations in which our Museum staff has participated over the past several seasons.
2011: 'Behind the Scenes' at the Badè MuseumThe summaries and photographs in this exhibit highlight the projects currently in progress at the Badè Museum. While being linked by a common base, the Tell en-Nasbeh collection, this group of projects is truly diverse, ranging from artifact-oriented inquiries, digitizing the Tell en-Nasbeh collection, to the revitalization of the museum’s educational outreach program, our popular traveling exhibit.
2012: Shedding Light on the Layers of a Lamp: Creation, Production, and Symbolism at Tell en-Nasbeh“A lamp is not merely that which gives light; it is the quintessence of cheer and security which, on a larger scale, the sun radiates upon the world” ~Smith, “The Household Lamp of Palestine in Old Testament Times,” 1964
2012: Metallurgy in the Ancient Levant“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land - ... a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills,” - Deuteronomy 8: 7-9
2012: Full House: Family Dynamics and Domestic Space at Tell en-NasbehArchaeological remains from Tell en-Nasbeh provide evidence of linked residential structures that were inhabited by extended families of ancient Israel.
2013: Mining the Collection 2013: No Stone Left UnturnedWe conceived of this exhibit as a response to David Sleeth’s Mining the Collection 2013 exhibit, “Site/Structure,” which is on display in the Doug Adams Gallery from June 6th-August 23rd, 2013. Inspired by David’s pieces, we chose to focus on stone as material and medium.
2013: 'The Part Which the Camera Plays'The importance of capturing on film the decisive and transient moments of an archaeological expedition was not lost on William F. Badè, the director of excavations at the ancient site of Tell en-Nasbeh from 1926 to 1936.
2014: Unintentional Artifacts: The Material Traces of People and PracticeA focus on the material traces of people and objects from the Badè Museum Collection reminds us of the individuals that played an important role in the life history of these ancient artifacts. The practices with which objects were made left unintentional, as well as intentional, traces of the people that created them.
2015: Ancient Figurines: Making Identities, Controlling BodiesArchaeologist Doug Bailey provokes new thoughts about figurines and about the ways that past peoples defined their identities in his new exhibit, Ancient Figurines: Making Identities, Controlling Bodies.
2015: Sorting Out Tell en-Nasbeh: Processing and Reconstructing the Broken Pieces of the PastMany of the records, photographs, and slides created at Tell en-Nasbeh are still in use today. Bad? deduced that humble finds such as pottery can often be the objects which are the most revealing about the human past.
The collections of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology are rich in history, both ancient and modern. Spanning a period of some 3,000 years, the museum holds a phenomenal array of everyday artifacts such as cooking pots, grinding stones, lamps, and agricultural implements from ancient Palestine along with colorful Greek and Cypriot ceramics, scarabs from Egypt, and cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia.
The core of the Museum collection consists of materials from the site of Tell en-Nasbeh (most likely the biblical town of Mizpah), excavated under the direction of William F. Badè. Dr. Badè’s work at Tell en-Nasbeh represents one of the earliest scientific excavations in Palestine. With a permit from the British Mandate Government’s Department of Antiquities, he was able to spend five seasons there from 1926 to 1935 and excavate two thirds of the eight-acre tell, or mound, exposing a small town that had been occupied at the time of the Hebrew monarchy.
Mizpah, in the region of Benjamin, flourished from 1000–586 B.C., and a massive fortification wall, impressive gateway, three and four-room houses, family tombs, pottery, and metal artifacts in great quantity date from this period, known as the Iron Age in Palestinian archaeology. Of the hundreds of lamps, pitchers, bowls, jars, jewelry and cosmetic items found in the ruins of the town, about half were deposited at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, while others were shipped to Berkeley. Those on display in the Bade Museum provide graphic evidence of everyday activities in a provincial town of three thousand years ago, and offer instructive comparison with life in this century.
While the tell itself contained Iron Age, Babylonian and Persian Period artifacts, nearby tombs dated from the Early Bronze Age (3200–2000 B.C.) and the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (330 B.C.–324 A.D.). Some of these artifacts are on display, as well as representative pieces from other areas of the ancient Near East.
At the close of each season of excavation, after artifacts were removed, the soil was replaced on the mound. Only one section of the huge town wall, deliberately left exposed, is visible at the site today. Dr. Badè’s original intention that the excavation and its results become an educational resource is fulfilled through the Badè Museum and its on-going research of material from Tell en-Nasbeh, where important aspects of ancient households, gender, and daily activities can be understood in new and exciting ways.
The Badè Museum continues the work of William Badè and the former Badè Institute of Biblical Archaeology by engaging in on-going research with the permanent Tell en-Nasbeh collection. Much ongoing research of specific artifacts and object types from the collection is done by museum staff and visiting scholars. This work has led to numerous publications, exhibits, lectures on the collection.
Our research includes:
- An online database of the Tell En-Nasbeh excavation
- Current and past projects on ancient Israelite life from Tell En-Nasbeh
- The Badè Project, a collaborative effort with the GTU and UC Berkeley
- and much, much more!
Dr. Aaron Brody
Robert and Kathryn Riddell Associate Professor of Bible and Archaeology
Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology
Dr. Lissette Jimenez
Past Staff, Badè Project Members, Interns & Volunteers
- Stephanie Brown
- Amy Vulcan
- Kiersten Neumann
- Rebecca Hisiger
- Melissa Cradic
- Christina Vander Vos
- Laura Fies
- Kay Schellhase
- Mary Kimber
- Celia Berghoffen
- Jeffrey Zorn
- Kevin Kaiser
- Kah-Jin (Jeffrey) Kuan
- Susan McGinnis
- Greg Tarin
- Cindy Ausec
- Joel Brown
- Beringia Zen
- Matthew Fox
- Victor R. Gold
- Kevin C. Koczela
- Todd Lesh
- Ruth Ohm
- Pamela Thomas
- Mary A. Tolbert
- Tim Fries
- Akemi Horii
- Brian Carmany
- Morgan Hunter
- Catherine Zanzi
- Tom Nootbaar
- Andrea Creel
- Catherine P. Foster
William Frederic Badè (1871–1936)
Professor of Old Testament literature and Semitic languages at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California from 1902 until his death and excavator of the site of Tell en-Nasbeh located northwest of Jerusalem (1926, 1927, 1929, 1932, and 1935)
Born in Carver, Minnesota, Badè spent his earliest years on a farm in the Midwest. In his youth he demonstrated academic interest and gifts, and studied diligently, mastering Latin and Greek. His academic abilities earned him an opportunity to attend the Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1892. He then enrolled in the Moravian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1894.
Thereafter he learned Hebrew and soon went on to Yale to study the Near Eastern background of the Hebrew Bible. During two years there, he improved his knowledge of Hebrew and learned Arabic, Akkadian, Ethiopic and Aramaic. Eventually he came to read fourteen languages and speak, in addition to the English and German he had learned as a boy in his home, fluent French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Arabic. In 1898 he received his Ph.D. degree from the Moravian Theological Seminary and was subsequently appointed professor of Hebrew and Old Testament literature there until 1902 when he was invited to PSR.
With the end of World War I and the establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine, Badè realized that there would be increasing opportunities to excavate within the borders of ancient Israel. He saw archaeology as a valuable tool for correcting, revisiting, or confirming tradition and felt that seminaries should teach archaeology along with Hebrew, Greek, and literary criticism.
Although not trained as an archaeologist, Badè carried out his excavation at Tell en-Nasbeh based on the highest standards of his day. He cleared about two thirds of the site, intending to test its identification with biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, which is now generally accepted. The method he employed was the so-called Reisner-Fisher method, dividing the tell into 10-meter squares and excavating in strips. Following the excavation, the strips were filled in. Badè kept meticulous records, including plans, photographs, and descriptions of about twenty-three-thousand artifacts, all of them drawn to scale. Badè’s fieldwork ranks above the contemporary excavations at Beth-Shemesh and Beth-Shean.
Badè died after the final season at Tell en-Nasbeh so that the excavation’s final report was prepared by his colleague, Chester C. McCown, and chief recorder, Joseph C. Wampler. Badè’s publication of the site is generally limited to preliminary reports of the early campaigns and short articles on specific finds. Although many excavators before him had written brief summaries of their methodologies as prefaces or appendices to their reports, Badè’s A Manual of Excavation in the Near East was the first volume written as an independent account of the work of an excavation and the development of its methodology.
Badè’s work made significant contributions to the field of archaeology in his generation. His concern for systematic excavations and careful recording of data, as well as for training the next generation of archaeologists, provided a sound model for his colleagues. Although his methodology has been superseded as the field has advanced, his own dedication and work contributed to its advance in his own lifetime.
In addition to being a longtime teacher and scholar,and an archaeologist and excavator, William Frederic Badè was also a naturalist and outdoorsman, and a companion and biographer of John Muir. Berkeley aroused in him a love of nature, which led to a long-lasting friendship with John Muir, the well-known naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club. Consequently, Badè himself became deeply involved with the Sierra Club, holding the positions of editor for ten years and club president from 1918 to 1922. He strongly believed in upholding the Club’s principles of conservation and protecting the natural landscape. Papers and correspondence documenting Badè’s involvement with environmentalist committees can be found in the John Muir Archives at the University of the Pacific. Badè also had connections to what is now the the University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley.